A Day at Home With Oprah

Mary Williams has been part of my family since she was 16. She came to our children’s camp from Oakland at age 13 and I fell in love with her. Both her parents were members of the Black Panther party. In time she’d move with me to Atlanta and Ted Turner became her stepfather. Quite a journey which she has written about movingly and insightfully in her book “The Lost Daughter,” due out this Mother’s Day.

Oprah found Mary’s book interesting. In fact, she said she gained insight into her own early life reading it. So we agreed to be interviewed together for Oprah’s new show on OWN, joined by my son, Troy Garity. Ted will also be interviewed by Oprah for the story but in Atlanta.

The interview took place at my home and Oprah’s crew of 20 arrived Sunday to pre-light. The place looked like a film studio. It was way more than I expected. Richard freaked because Clive Davis and other friends were coming for pre-dinner drinks and he thought the house was ruined. I said, “Hell no, it’s exciting to be able to say that the house has been turned upside down cause Oprah’s filming tomorrow. I mean, how many people can say that?”.

the crew setting up

the crew setting up

When Oprah arrived Mary and I greeted her at the door. The 3 of us sat on the living room couch and talked while Tulea slept at my side.
It was fun, being more of an observer, watching Mary answer questions and occasionally adding something. Many tears were shed too because Mary’s story is so moving and I am so proud of her. Talking with Oprah in these circumstances is so easy and natural. She makes it that way.
Eventually Troy joined us on the couch, I moved over and he took my place, holding Mary’s hand. Both of us had a hard time calling her “Mary” cause, to us, she’ll always be Lulu.

Mary and Oprah share a laugh

With Mary and Oprah after the interview

With Troy and Oprah. Oprah got to tell Troy in person what a huge fan she was of the show "BOSS". Troy was on "BOSS" which ran for two seasons on STARZ

With One of Mom Oprah's daughters Tabitha. Tabitha, a 2012 graduate of Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, is now a pre-med College Student.

Even Tulea got her time with Oprah

When the interview about Lulu’s book was done, Oprah and I went outside where she interviewed me about where I feel I’m at with my 3rd Act–a sort of follow up to the studio interview she and I did 3-4 years ago.

Setup for our outside interview

Then we hugged goodbye and, before we knew it, the house had been put back together exactly as it had been.

A really fun day and a joyful way to give Lulu’s book a great send off. It sure deserves it.

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  1. Dear Jane, how wonderfull to see two of my very favorite women in the world togheter:You and Oprah!!I will not see the programa though,because we don´t have Oprah´s TV in Brazil!Thanks for sharing another part of your life,with us and alow us to go inside your house!Let me ask you something: How do you see the new Pope Fancis? I would like very much to know your opinion on that.
    Best regards from Rio de Janeiro.

  2. Dear Jane,
    I have officialy made you my new Spirit Animal.
    What you did in The Shoot Horsess…. left a permanent mark in my soul.

  3. I will definitely read Mary’s book. I bet it has been wonderful to watch her grow and become the person she is today. Remind us when the book comes out.
    I love those nice big windows in your house. And your view outside looks beautiful. Oh, and your son looks incredible, too. 😉

  4. Love the photos of you and Oprah together again. You are two of my favorite women, who never fail to inspire me!

  5. I pre-ordered the book, “The Lost Daughter”. It says the release date is April 9. I can’t wait to read it. Do you know if she will be doing book signings anywhere? I would love to have my book autographed.

  6. Thank you for sharing your day with Oprah and letting us know about your daughter Lulu’s new book that will soon be released. I remember you spoke of Lulu in an interview not too long ago. It sounds like she has had quite a life. What a blessing it was that life brought the two of you together. Looking forward to the interview with you both and Troy on “Oprah’s Next Chapter”!

    P.S. I also loved “Boss” and thought Troy was great in the role of Sam Miller!

  7. hi Jane
    you have a beautifull house !.. and a big windows, I love !!!
    Your son, Troy, looks like your father I find.
    I love also your green plant, it’s very nice.

  8. Thank you to you and your lovely daughter for sharing your story. It is truly inspiring. I have just recently become the legal guardian for my two teenage nieces whose mom is on drugs and their dad, my brother is disabled. My own two biological children are older, one in college, and the other leaving for school in the fall. Just when I thought it was time for me, the universe has other plans. The story of how you Ms. Fonda welcomed a teen into your home and set her on a path to live a healthy productive life is a blessing. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless and keep you.

  9. I think Oprah made any excuse to meet up with you at your home! Will be looking for the book.
    take care , as I know you do.

  10. I just finished watching the Oprah interview. It simply warmed my heart to watch you and Mary (Lulu) together. First, Mary is amazing. She seems to really be a good person who is living out her life to the fullest. There is a spark about her that is contagious. Her life growing up really touched my heart. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been. I am really looking forward to reading her book. And Jane, I have always had great respect for you, but you just brought it to a new level. In this interview, I was able to see that gentle, nurturing side of you. I could see that you reached out and brought Lulu into your life, not to do something to help you as a public figure, but because there was a love for a girl who needed a mother that could love her back. (I know her real mother loved her, but was perhaps too lost in her world to do the job of raising her.) Wonderful, touching interview.

  11. Jane, this interview was heartwarming and hit home. It is my prayer that my adopted daughter and son will not only know how much they are loved, but will be able to face their fears with such determination as Mary. You ladies are truly an inspiration!

  12. Dear Ms. Fonda, I watched your wonderful interview with Oprah and your daughter Mary the other night. Your openness is so apparent and real.
    With that said I wanted to tell you a story of a young friend of mine who you encountered and inspired, probably without knowing it. She has since passed away in her early forties from heart problems.
    She was a cab driver in Atlanta when she picked you up one day. You were so open and unfazed by your own celebrity that you treated her as if you were friends. She called home to talk about meeting you and talked of you many times later. Seeing how you embraced Mary so easy made clear to me that my friend experienced the same, even for a few minutes,genuine heartfelt emotions. It’s rare when someone of your stature can relate on common ground with someone else. She had said you asked her questions about her life and how you really seemed interested, you really blew her away.
    I want to say thank you for inspiring her and being so kind to her.

  13. Dear Jane Fonda, you are just an incredibly inspiring human being. The story of your journey with your brilliant daughter Mary is so moving that I had to write something. A couple of years ago my partner and niece and I had the wonderful experience of the magnificence of “33 Variations” at the Ahmanson. Your character left us with such an indelible impression of the strength and reality of a person living with ALS and struggling to find a way to cope with their changing physical condition and to find their identity. When the lights came up we were literally stunned and speechless, gripped with profound emotion and a new awareness of this complex individual’s experience. Your brilliant performance resonates in my mind to this very day. I have to thank you for the magic of your art (this is the first time I have ever written to a pubic figure) but more than that, your incredible humanity and courageous strength to care. Do you realize how you have inspired so many of us that have struggled to find a voice in this world, to gather the strength to finally find it? Thank you.

  14. Jane I so enjoyed watching this interview.

    I, along with millions of others I’m sure, did not know of Mary. She is an amazing, strong, intellectual being.

    I also did not know you had breast cancer. I was diagnosed in June 2011 and just completed all my treatments 5 months ago (yay!).

    You are an inspiration.

    Thank you.


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