The Our Souls at Night star has always had a fierce presence in Hollywood, but admits that even she has fears. "I’m not afraid of death, but I’m afraid of getting to the end without becoming the best I can be as a person," she explains. "There’s a lot of time behind me and not much time ahead of me."
Fonda adds, "And whatever time is left, I want to do it differently."
Town & Country contributor Brooks Barnes notes that by the end of the interview, they were both in tears. "I figure, the way to live, especially in the latter part of your life, is to envision how you want to die,” Fonda says. “I think we all would like it to be in bed, surrounded by family and loved ones. To get there you have to work hard to heal the wounds and mend the fences. Because in the end it’s always what you didn’t do, not what you did."
Last month, Fonda spoke with ET about being finally content in her life. "Right now, I'm about as happy as I've ever been," the two-time Oscar winner said. "And I've worked hard to get here, and I've worked hard to stay healthy."
"I think it's important to live life with intention because otherwise you’re just sort of at the mercy of fate,” Fonda continued. “I mean, we all are to some extent. But I don’t know, I just try and take it by the balls and make it my own life I'm talking about."
See more photos of Jane Fonda throughout her life:
Jane Fonda in the '50s, '60s and '70s
Jane Fonda in the '50s, '60s and '70s
7/21/59-New York: Provocative Jane Fonda, daughter of film star Henry Fonda, looks sultry as she poses here July 21st before boarding a TWA jetliner to Los Angeles. Miss Fonda, 20, is to co-star with Tony Perkins in her first movie role in 'The Way The Ball Bounces.' She is five feet, eleven inches tall and measures 36-21-35. She admits that being the daughter of a famous actor helps in breaking into show business.
Jane Fonda, circa 1960. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)
American actors Anthony Perkins (1932 - 1992), as Ray Blent, and Jane Fonda as June Ryder, in 'Tall Story', directed by Joshua Logan, 1960. The film is Fonda's debut. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda publicity portrait for the film 'Tall Story', 1960. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
circa 1960: Promotional studio portrait of American actor Jane Fonda wearing a black evening gown. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1960: Promotional studio portrait of American actor Jane Fonda kneeling with her hands on her knees, for her first film, director Joshua Logan's film, 'Tall Story'. She wears a dark top and short shorts. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Jane Fonda in a sultry pose for a publicity portrait. She wears sheer clothing and holds her hands up behind her head. Ca. 1960-1970.
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1962: Actress Jane Fonda and husband Roger Vadim attend a party in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda American actress, 31.08.1962. (Photoshot/Getty Images)
American actress Jane Fonda, circa 1962. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
The American actress Jane Fonda wears the clinging space suit of Barbarella, the leading role in the homonymous movie directed by her husband Roger Vadim; she looks stuck in some dangerous situation into the futuristic scenography. Rome (Italy), 1967.. (Photo by Marisa Rastellini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
The American actors John Phillip Law and Jane Fonda talk together into Dino De Laurentis Studios during the filming of Roger Vadim's Barbarella; Fonda has the leading role of astronaut Barbarella while Law interprets the blind angel named Pygar. Rome (Italy), 1967.. (Photo by Marisa Rastellini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
FRANCE ï¿½ 1964: Alain Delon And Jane Fonda On The Set Of The Movie 'Les Fï¿½ins' Directed By Renï¿½Clï¿½ent, In France, In 1964 . (Photo by Giancarlo BOTTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jane Fonda, Jean Claude Brialy et Marie Josï¿½Nat sur le tournage du film de Roger Vadim 'La Ronde' en 1964, France . (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
23rd January 1965: American actress Jane Fonda at the Savoy Hotel, London holds a press reception. (Photo by Kaye/Express/Getty Images)
American actress Jane Fonda with her husband, French director Roger Vadim (1928 - 2000), California, December 1965. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
23rd January 1965: Actress Jane Fonda in the Savoy Hotel, London puts her feet up and enjoys a relaxing cigarette. (Photo by Kaye/Express/Getty Images)
American actress Jane Fonda, Hollywood, USA, December 1965. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14: Film Of Roger Vadim. 19651114 Film By Roger Vadim. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Jane Fonda, US actress, wearing a pink puff sleeve blouse and drop earrings, in a studio portrait, against a red background, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda on bed in a scene from the film 'Circle Of Love', 1965. (Photo by Continental Distributing/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda and baby daughter Vanessa Vadim at the Belvedere Hostpital in Paris, France (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actress Jane Fonda in a pink, floral blouse and yellow slacks, circa 1968. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda, US actress, in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'Barbarella', 1968. The science fiction film, directed by Roger Vadim (1928-2000), starred Fonda as 'Barbarella'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Jane Fonda sur le tournage de 'Metzengerstein' rï¿½lisï¿½par Roger Vadim en 1968, ï¿½Sibiril, France . (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
A year after leaving Ted Turner, former actress Jane Fonda says she has radically changed her life - giving up her famed exercise regimen to write a book about her controversial days as a Vietnam War era peace activist. In an interview with Barbara Walters for ABC's "20/20" to be aired February 9, 2001, Fonda, 63, whose workout videos helped spark the fitness craze of the 1980s and '90s, said she has largely given up exercise because it interferes with her writing. She is shown in a September 26, 1997 file photo.
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 20: Actress Jane Fonda attends Jane Fonda's Second Annual Celebrity Auction to Benefit the Cancer Project of the CED Education Fund on April 20, 1980 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jane Fonda during 1980 American Movie Awards at Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)