Jane Fonda Opens Up About Adoption Of Black Daughter

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April 4, 2013 | 2:26pm EST

Jane Fonda previously “shied away” from talking about her adopted daughter Mary Williams in the media, because she was worried about the public’s reaction to her interracial family.
The actress and her second husband Tom Hayden took in Williams when she was 14 after establishing a special connection with the underprivileged girl at her Laurel Springs Children’s Camp in Santa Barbara, California.
They recently sat down for their very first interview together on TV show Oprah’s Next Chapter, which is set to air on Sunday, and during the special Fonda is quizzed about her decision to keep Williams, now 43, out of the public eye.
When asked by host Oprah Winfrey if she hid their mother-daughter relationship out of shame, especially around her third husband Ted Turner, the 75 year old says, “Well it’s not that I’ve kept it a secret but… there was a time whenever we would go to a black-tie event I would never want to do the red carpet. I kind of shied away from those moments (when I might be asked about her)… To me, it’s perfectly normal to have a black daughter.”
Meanwhile, Williams, who was one of six children born to a single mother in Oakland, insists she’ll forever be grateful to the Oscar winner for giving her a better life.
She says, “It was like… I was in a dark room and the door had cracked open just a little and the light shone in and I just flew. There was no intellectual thought process about it. It was all very instinctual. I didn’t even think about it. And I didn’t really know her. I could have gone into a situation where, you know, she could have been a horrible person when I got there. But that’s how desperate I was. I didn’t care. I wanted – anything had to be better than where I was.”