Lily Tomlin Gets Emotional Discussing Friendship With Jane Fonda: ‘Grab Me a Tissue!’

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Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images
  • Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda were brought to tears while discussing Grace and Frankie’s end.

  • They were also moved by sharing how the show impacted their real-life friendship.

  • “I’m very easily moved to crying. And if something moves me, it starts immediately,” Tomlin said.

The story of Grace and Frankie is one of a kind, and so is the real-life friendship between Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. That may be why discussing the show’s end—and the legacy it leaves—easily brings both actresses to tears.

In a new interview for the Los Angeles Times’ The Envelope podcast, the pair discussed the series’ palpable themes—the vulnerability of getting older and the magic of late-in-life sisterhood—and simply being asked how it felt to bring such important representation to TV prompted Tomlin to ask for a tissue.

“You see, you just move me to tears. I would try to be funny here just to wipe away. And I’d say something stupid like, you know, of course you look at each other every day and wonder which of you is going to die first? But I’m not going to say that,” she sniffled.

(Warning: Mild Grace and Frankie spoilers ahead.)

Fonda chimed in, allowing Tomlin time to collect herself. “I think when you are our age, you’ve had many friends who’ve passed. And so, those who are still with you become even more precious,” she said. “And women, on average, tend to live longer than men. And female friendship is very different than male friendship, you know, women look at each other eye to eye, heart to heart. We ask for help when we need it. We put our arms around each other and say, ‘I’m hurting. I need help. Help me.’ You know, there was a medical study done at Harvard that showed that lack of women friendship was as bad for their health as smoking. So, you know, I think I’m going to live a long time because I have Lily as a friend.”

Fonda took her turn to cry over their companionship, too, in discussing Tomlin’s recent Hand and Footprint ceremony that cemented her in Hollywood history. “Boy, I was so proud and moved, it moves me even to think about it,” she choked up. Tomlin was quick to calm her. “No, sweetheart, don’t! Don’t,” she said.

In Grace and Frankie’s final season, Tomlin portrays Frankie losing her ability to paint due to arthritis. On the podcast, the Times’ Yvonne Villarreal asked her if the arc helped her face her own fears of getting older—and the tears came flooding back.

“Well, I don’t know if it has helped me work through them. It just, you know, makes me aware of them,” she said. “I’m very teary. I’m very easily moved to crying. And if something moves me, it starts immediately. But so that just shows that we did deal with incredibly important fundamental things. And they will reach most humans that way. And then there’s very little we can do about it, except to live a good, productive life and do what we can for each other.”

Villarreal apologized for making Tomlin so emotional. “It’s all right,” she replied. “I’m not … I’m not sad. I’m just moved.”

That’s a great way to describe how we feel when watching Grace and Frankie, and while witnessing Fonda and Tomlin’s love for each other.

Not sad, just incredibly moved.

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