What Did Jenny Die From in Forrest Gump?

what did jenny in forest gump die of

Most of America’s best-loved films tend to be embraced immediately by the audience but fades away into depths of Hollywood’s forgotten flicks within a few years. However, Forrest Gump managed to escape this predictably forgotten future and has instead embedded itself in the heart of the American culture.

One of the top reasons for this is the fact that it highlights so much of America—from the 1950s to the 1990s in a somewhat positive haze. In fact, it is hard to believe that the film is 25 years old this year because the movie’s status as a beloved American classic only seems to intensify as time elapses.

Like other adored movies, there are certain standout issues that fans have to debate about in Forrest Gump. In particular, it is how Forrest’s sweetheart, Jenny, died. Over the years, many fans of the film have speculated what Jenny died from.


The theory that most fans of the show tend to agree with is that the star died from HIV/AIDS. Although the movie never explicitly stated what the disease was, it was hinted that her lifestyle contributed to her death.

Jenny took drugs and became a slut in the 60s-70s; she seems to have been a full-fledged hippie while his boyfriend, Forrest, was in Vietnam. It’s possible that these lifestyle changes could have made the star an easy pushover for sexually transmitted diseases.

What’s more, her condition was diagnosed between the 80s and early 90s, a time when AIDS was the ‘notorious bug’ going around. Not very convincing, we know, but we can only work with the information or hints that the movie provided.

Besides HIV/AIDS, other fans have thought that Jenny died from Herpes C. There are two factors that tend to support this school of thought. First, Jenny was sexually abused by her father—who we understand was a sick man in more ways than one. There is a possibility that he could have had Herpes C or God knows what. Secondly, frequent drug use through needles could have infected poor Jenny.

Difficult Childhood Circumstances

Could difficult childhood be the real reason Jenny died? Well, the safest thing to say is that the star died from a broken heart. Jenny was constantly being abused by her father, which could have had a detrimental impact on the rest of her adult life.

Jenny got close to the hippie crowd so she felt loved. We understand that she could do whatever her peers asked of her. She would take any form of abuse as long as it was not like what she experienced in the hands of her father.

She couldn’t bring herself to be loved by her boyfriend either because she never understood what true love was. So, she kept falling back to the default lifestyle she knew, which eventually led to her sickness. If developmental theories are correct, her outcome could have been somehow different if her upbringing and childhood circumstances were different.

Final Thoughts

Though life didn’t turn out ideally for Jenny, her death in the home that had always been theirs was somehow all she could have hoped for—at t least she returned to her love.