Jane Fonda suffered a ''nervous breakdown'' during the first series of 'Grace and Frankie'.

The 81-year-old star says she had to ''go back into therapy'' while playing the role of retired cosmetics mogul Grace Hanson, whose husband leaves her at the start of the Netflix comedy series, because the plot ''triggered abandonment''.

She said: ''It took me a season to come to care for my character. I had to go back into therapy and start Prozac.

''It took me a long time to figure out [my relationship to this character].

''I had a nervous breakdown during the first season and I discovered it's because the very first episode our husbands tell us that they are going to leave us after 40 years and marry each other and that triggered abandonment ... oh, this is not a good thing to talk about.

''It was a big trigger, and I didn't realise that a character in a comedy could actually trigger something very profound.''

But Jane insists she doesn't want to be ''anything like'' her alter-ego because they have ''too much in common as it is''.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, as part of the publication's annual comedy roundtable, she added: ''And so I love her and I learned to invite her into the room. After the first season, I couldn't have written a backstory for her; and then I wrote 30 pages without ever stopping.

''But I don't really want to have to be anything like her. We have too much in common as it is.''

Jane has previously admitted to beating her ex-husband Ted Turner - who she was married to from 1991 to 2001 - with a car phone while accusing him of cheating on her.

In her autobiography 'My Life So Far', she wrote: ''I remember sitting there, my heart pounding, my mind imploding. Ted was ashen when he got into the car, behind the wheel.

''That's when I began hitting him about the head and shoulders with the car phone. Simultaneously, part of me was thinking that I'd never seen anyone do this in a movie and what a good scene it would make. (Is it only actors who think this way?)

''Then I poured my water bottle over his head and, crying and shaking, said, ''I sure hope it was a great f**k, because you just blew it with me. I'm outta here.'' Hitting someone is not my style.

''But it also occurred to me that I'd never cared enough before to express this kind of balls-out rage. (sic)''

Last year, Jane - who has also been married to Roger Vadim and Tom Hayden - revealed she had quit dating and sex.

She said: ''I'm not dating anymore, but I did up until a couple of years ago. I'm 80. I've closed up shop down there.''