In 1936, he married Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw, widow of a wealthy industrialist, George Tuttle Brokaw. The Brokaws had a daughter, Frances de Villers, nicknamed "Pan," who had been born soon after the Brokaws marriage in 1931.
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, Peter and Jane, both of whom became successful actors in their own rights. They have each had Oscar nominations and wins.
In August 1949 Fonda announced to Frances that he wanted a divorce so he could remarry; their thirteen 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 the Austen Riggs 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. Fonda quickly arranged a private funeral with only himself and his mother-in-law, Sophie Seymour, in attendance