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Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland are both revered and respected names in Hollywood. From their roles on the big screen to their activism, the pair have massive legacies that will live on through time.

However, while we know about Kiefer Sutherland and Julie Roberts’ blazing romance, people often forget about Fonda and the elder Sutherland’s red hot affair.

Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland
Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland| Susan Wood/Getty Images

Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland began their affair on a movie set

In the 1960s, Fonda and Sutherland were both on the ground working with activist groups for social change. They initially crossed paths at a benefit for the Black Panther Party in LA. However, they didn’t connect romantically until 1970, when they were cast together in the film Klute.

Though the affair’s timeline is a little fuzzy, many people believe that the Candian actor was still married to his then-wife, Lolita actor Shirley Douglas.  However, that has not stopped the Ordinary People actor from detailing the origins of his affair with Fonda.

“We’d already been cast but had not started shooting,” he told Rolling Stone. “And one day, [Fonda] made it very clear, via a somewhat provocative suggestion, that I should come home with her. And I just said, [pause] ‘OK.’”

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Sutherland was divorced shortly thereafter and immediately swept up with the 9 to 5 actor. The lovers had a great deal in common. In addition to acting, they were also activists who were very involved in the anti-war movement at the time. “We believed,” Sutherland told The Times in 2018 of his and Fonda’s activism. “We really believed that change was going to happen. We really believed it. But it was hard. Kennedy was killed, and when Bobby [Kennedy] was killed, and Martin Luther King was killed …”

Sutherland has also been very open about their sex life over the years. “She had, at the time, the most beautiful breasts in the world,” he told Entertainment Weekly. The magazine noted that the actor followed up his comment with “a juicy, not-fit-for-print story.”

Sutherland has also reminisced over a night he’s had with Fonda at the Chelsea Hotel in the early ‘70s. “Now, when I see it in my memory, I stopped breathing again,” he told GQ.

In her memoir, Jane Fonda: My Life So Far, Fonda spoke fondly of Sutherland, saying he had “something of the old-world gentleman about him.” She revealed that she found his “rangy, hangdog quality and droopy, pale blue eyes especially appealing.”


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Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland’s relationship ended after they lived together

Though they appeared to be the perfect match, things fizzled between Fonda and Sutherland in Tokyo where they lived together for the first time. “[We] were together until the relationship exploded and fell apart in Tokyo,” The Undoing star explained to The Guardian in 2008. “It broke my heart. I was eviscerated. I was so sad. It was a wonderful relationship right up to the point we lived together.”