‘Grace and Frankie’: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin Have Shared an On-Screen Ex-Lover

The Netflix series Grace and Frankie revolves around two older women whose husbands shock them by announcing they are leaving them for each other. Rather than swearing off dating, Grace and Frankie get back out there. They both have several love interests throughout the series.

Grace Hanson and Frankie Bergstein stare in surprise at the camera.
Lily Tomlin as Frankie and Jane Fonda as Grace | Netflix

The series stars Jane Fonda as Grace and Lily Tomlin as Frankie. One of Grace’s love interests in the series was played by an actor who also played an ex-husband of Lily Tomlin’s in a movie many years ago.

‘Grace and Frankie’ get back out there

Grace and Frankie get back into the dating world after their husbands leave them. They each have quite a few love interests throughout the series. Grace first dates a man named Guy, who she previously knew through her ex-husband Robert. She also rekindles an old flame with a man named Phil Milstein. Later, Grace ends up marrying her third boyfriend in the series, Nick Skolka. Nick is very wealthy and quite a bit younger than Grace.

Frankie also has several romantic interests. She dates her “yam man” Jacob, who grew yams for her homemade lube until he moves to Santa Fe. After this, Frankie meets a man named Jack at a charity gala, and the two end up dating until Jacob returns.

Sam Elliott plays Phil on ‘Grace and Frankie’

In season 2 of Grace and Frankie, Sam Elliott guest stars as Grace’s love interest, Phil. Grace and Phil met many years ago when Grace was still married to Robert. The pair began an emotional affair of sorts. Grace and Phil would spend time together when Robert was away from work. However, Grace asserts that nothing physical ever happened between the two while she was married.

Grace and Phil reconnect many years later after Grace and Robert are separated. They begin a brief relationship, even though Phil is still married. Phil explains that he and his wife Elaine were going to divorce many years ago. However, she developed Alzheimer’s, and Phil couldn’t leave her. Grace decides she can’t stay with Phil after meeting Elaine, and she leaves him. Two years later, Grace is deeply saddened to hear that Phil died.

Sam Elliott plays Lily Tomlin’s on-screen ex-husband in ‘Grandma’

Lily Tomlin stars in the 2015 film Grandma. Tomlin plays Elle, a poet coping with the death of her long-term life partner. Elle’s pregnant granddaughter Sage shows up and asks Elle for help with money for an abortion. The two then embark on a journey to gather enough money and end up at the home of Elle’s ex-husband Karl, played by Sam Elliott. In an interview with Variety, Elliott states that Tomlin was one of the main reasons he took part in the film.

Elle and Karl’s relationship has a few things in common with Grace and Phil’s. Elle and Karl are both exes who are reunited after many years of not seeing each other. This is similar to Grace and Phil’s reunion. Both relationships don’t work out due to circumstances outside of their control. Elle is a lesbian in Grandma, and this is presumably why she tells Karl she never wanted a husband. Phil and Grace could not be together because of Phil’s wife. It’s also interesting that Elliott has played the on-screen ex of both Grace and Frankie stars.

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