The Medical Condition Jane Fonda's Ex-Husband Ted Turner Lives With

Media mogul Ted Turner has spoken candidly about the devastating medical condition he lives with.

Turner has been synonymous with CNN since he founded the network in 1980, but he had been in broadcasting far before then. Born to Robert Edward Turner Jr. in 1938, he took his father's failing business in his 20s and turned it into a major broadcasting empire. In a 2016 interview, he shared that after sleeping in his office for years, he built a work area into his home to become more efficient. "I worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week," Turner declared.

Over the course of his life, Turner was married three times, with his latest now-ex-wife being actor Jane Fonda. The two were wed for a decade years before calling it quits in 2001. In his memoir, "Call Me Ted" (via Today), he recalled, "Our closets faced each other's, and when I saw her empty space I sat down on the floor between them and cried." He also revealed health problems he faced at a young age, including being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and being prescribed lithium. In later years, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and an irregular heartbeat and told The Hollywood Reporter that he "takes several pills, like most of us." Nonetheless, it was a more serious diagnosis he received in 2018 that left Turner grappling with an array of symptoms, impacting not only his physical well-being but also his mental state.

Ted Turner has Lewy body dementia

In 2018, Ted Turner shared on "CBS Sunday Morning" that he had been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is the progressive brain disorder that actor Robin Williams was found to have following his death. "It's a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer's. It's similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer's is fatal. Thank goodness I don't have that," Turner stated in his interview while failing to remember the name of his condition. He said his main symptoms were tiredness, exhaustion, and forgetfulness.

Since his diagnosis, Turner has advocated for those living with Lewy body syndrome. In 2022, his daughter, Laura Turner Seydel, stated (via CNN), "Robin's death was not in vain. Ted's disease is not in vain because he has made it one of his priorities to help so many others that have this disease and may not even know it."

Although Turner stepped down from the media world in 2006, many CNN employees from all around the world joined together to pay homage to the network's founder, and it didn't go unnoticed by the business mogul.

Ted Turner fondly remembers the launch of CNN

Ted Turner has largely been out of the spotlight since revealing his Lewy body dementia diagnosis, but in a heartfelt letter, he celebrated CNN's 43rd anniversary. "June 1st will always hold a special place in my heart. On this day, 43 years ago, CNN made its debut as the first 24-hour news channel. While so much has changed over four decades, one thing remains largely as it was on June 1, 1980 — those three, unmistakable red and white letters — CNN," he shared. Turner recalled his first "launch speech" over four decades ago and wrote, "Is there more work to do? Of course. CNN's story is being re-written, just like the story of the world it covers in real-time."

According to Turner's biographer, Porter Bibb, CNN's founder is not pleased with where the network is heading. "When I look at CNN today, I cry for Ted Turner because he's really unhappy," he revealed to Fox News Digital. "It's really tragic that Ted has Lewy body syndrome right now and is not 100% capable of stepping in and returning CNN to its heritage. But I know he's really unhappy and very disillusioned," Bibb continued, pointing out that the news format has vastly changed to that of anchors "standing around on the set."

Turner is soon to turn 85 in November 2023 and currently resides at Avalon Ranch, one of the largest privately owned properties in the U.S.