Jane Fonda ''never felt pretty or confident'' when she was growing up.

The actress and fitness video pioneer had a difficult upbringing after he mother took her own life before she became a teenager and she says her father, actor Henry Fonda, was distant and difficult.

Fonda, now 76, also claims her stepmother would insinuate she was overweight which resulted in her developing having self-esteem issues and developing bulimia.

She told People magazine: ''I never felt pretty or confident. My dad wouldn't tell me [I looked fat] directly; he would have his wife tell me that my bathing suit was too small or my belt was too tight or my skirt was too short. I became bulimic and anorexic, the whole thing.''

Jane - who has now written a self-help book for youngsters called 'Being a Teen' - didn't learn how to love herself or laugh about herself until much later in life.

She explained: ''God, I was a serious child. It took [ex-husband] Ted Turner to teach me how to have a sense of humour.''

When asked if she could say one thing to her parents, what would it be? Jane replied: ''I would say, 'I need you to love me'. But I've talked to a [medium] who has communicated with my mother, and she's so proud of me. My dad's always with me, I know they're both proud.''