Henry Fonda was married five times and had three children. His first marriage to Margaret Sullavan in 1931 soon ended in separation, which was finalized in a 1933 divorce. In 1936, he married Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw, widow of a wealthy industrialist.
Fonda met his future wife Frances at Denham Studios in England on the set of Wings of the Morning, the first British picture to be filmed in Technicolor. They had two children, Jane (born 1937) and Peter (born 1940), both of whom became successful actors.
In August 1949, Fonda announced to Frances that he wanted a divorce so he could remarry; their 13 years of marriage had not been happy ones for him. Devastated by Fonda’s confession, and plagued by emotional problems for many years, Frances went into a psychiatric hospital in January 1950 for treatment.
She committed suicide there on April 14. Before her death, she had written six notes to various individuals, but left no final message for her husband. Years later, Dr. Margaret Gibson, her psychiatrist described Henry Fonda as ‘a cold, self absorbed person, a complete narcissist.’
Later in 1950, Fonda married Susan Blanchard, with whom he had been having an affair since sometime in 1948. She was 21 years old. Together, they adopted a daughter, Amy Fishman (born 1953). They divorced three years later. Blanchard was in awe of Fonda, and she described her role in the marriage as a geisha, doing everything she could to please him.
In 1957, Fonda married the Italian baroness Afdera Franchetti. They divorced in 1961. Soon after, in 1965, Fonda married Shirlee Mae Adams, and remained with her until his death in 1982.