The Truth Behind Megyn Kelly's Feud With Jane Fonda

As of this writing, it's safe to say that actress Jane Fonda and journalist Megyn Kelly are not BFFs. Not even close. In fact, the two seem to be engaged in a rare public spat normally reserved for a Real Housewives reunion or the cast of Teen Mom's Twitter timelines. Why exactly is an Oscar-winning actress feuding with a Today show host? We've got all the details.

First Blood

The first salvo in what has now become a full-blown feud between Fonda and Kelly was an awkward moment during a September 2017 Today interview during which Fonda rejected Kelly's question about plastic surgery. There to promote her new film with Robert Redford, Our Souls at Night, Fonda was stunned by Kelly's seemingly out of nowhere question, "I read that you felt you're not proud that you had work done. Why not?" Kelly asked.

What followed was Fonda's meme-generating glare that was the literal personification of the phrase "if looks could kill." The 9 to 5 star then replied, "We really want to talk about that right now?" When presses, she dismissed the question further by saying, "Well thanks, good attitude, good posture, take care of myself." She then deftly redirected the conversation back to the film, which even elicited an uncomfortable chuckle from Redford, who was seated right next to her.

But hang on, because this was was far from the last word either of them would have on the viral moment.

Fonda claps back

On the same day as the Today interview, Fonda appeared on Entertainment Tonight Canada where she was asked about the already trending moment. "I mean, given the fact that we don't have a lot of time, and [Redford] is right here, it was a weird thing to bring up, whether I've had plastic surgery or not," Fonda said. "I have, and I've talked about it, but it just seemed like the wrong time and place to raise that question."

Redford, who also spoke with ET Canada, attempted to remain neutral by saying, "I wasn't paying a lot of attention." He did add, "I think [Fonda] didn't want to go there. I think she didn't want to have the show turn into about her and surgery, or her look. It was about the quality of her performance."

That seems like a pretty good summation and final word on what went on there, so beef over, right? Wrong.

Lily Tomlin isn't helping

Fonda returned to Today in January 2018 to promote her Netflix series, Grace and Frankie, although she did not square off against Kelly again. This time it was Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie posing the questions, and it was Fonda's co-star, Lily Tomlin, who opened the old wound

Asked by Kotb how long they've known each other, Fonda replied, "A long time." 

"I think before your first face lift," Tomlin chimed in. Cue riotous, awkward laughter from both Today hosts as well as the off-camera crew.

"Who are you, Megyn Kelly?" Fonda then joked.

More laughter ensued to the point where Kotb seriously looked like she was going to fall out of her chair. Like a true shade queen, Fonda then quickly moved on, pivoting away from Kelly completely. Meanwhile, Kelly had apparently been silently taking all of this in, but there would be one more round of Fonda flack before her retort.

Fonda keeps dishing it out

By January 2018, Fonda was promoting a different project, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a documentary about her acting career and activism which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, according to Variety. Although it was now months since the infamous Kelly interview, and she wasn't even promoting the same movie, the plastic surgery question heard round the world was still popping up.

Fonda said she would appear on Kelly's show again, but the actress also served yet another healthy heaping of shade when asked if she had been upset by the surgery question. "No. It wasn't like I was upset. I was stunned. It was so inappropriate. It showed that she's not that good an interviewer. But if she comes around and learns her stuff, sure." 

Shots. Fired. Again.

Kelly has no regrets

On Jan. 22, 2018, Kelly finally "broke her silence" by dramatically stopping her show for a segment called "A word on Jane Fonda." After describing Fonda as being "fixated" on their previous interview, Kelly then showed a montage of clips of Fonda speaking about her plastic surgeries on other talk shows. Kelly also said that normally she wouldn't have spoken out like this, but after Fonda's "repeated" complaints about the interview, she felt it was "time to address the 'poor me' routine."

Kelly justified her plastic surgery question by saying that it was relevant for two reasons. 1.) Fonda was promoting a movie about aging. 2) Kelly claims, "For years, [Fonda] has spoken openly about her joy in giving a cultural face to older women," which Kelly feels includes Fonda's plastic surgeries, because "most older women look nothing like Fonda." Kelly claimed she was just offering Fonda "the chance to empower other women, young and old, on a subject which she purports to know well."

Kelly then went a step further. "I have no regrets about that question," she said, "nor am I in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is and is not appropriate. After all, this is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage." Kelly then unearthed the decades-old controversy over Fonda's remarks and actions during her protest of the Vietnam War.

"So, the moral indignation is a little much," Kelly concluded on her segment. "She put her plastic surgery out there. She said she wanted to discuss the plight of older women in America, and honestly, she has no business lecturing anyone on what qualifies as offensive." 

Whew! So yeah, any chance we've heard the last word on this little brouhaha? Not likely.