Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples thanks to Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and a bouquet of flowers | United States

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who celebrated their 52nd and 77th birthdays on September 25, respectively, have been one of Hollywood’s most admired married couples for just over two decades, although few people initially bet that it would last. Over the years, they have shown that neither seizures, disease or any other obstacle can tear them apart. Zeta-Jones has made over 40 films and won an Oscar, while Douglas has over 70 films and two Oscars to his name: Work has been one of the factors that has helped them stay close.

While it might seem like the opposite should be true, the unpredictability of their work schedules has been a huge plus. At least that’s what we can deduce from Zeta-Jones’ interview with the the Wall Street newspaper in April: “My husband and I spend a lot of time together because, unlike so many couples, we’ve never had a nine-to-five job where it’s consistent. I really work 16 hours a day, or not. He does the same, or not. So we’ve had huge amounts of time in our relationship where we’re just ourselves. Zeta-Jones added that she and Douglas continued to “have a lot of fun together,” and didn’t hesitate to bring up a topic that has been a constant topic of discussion for the past 20 years: the age difference. . “My husband is 25 years older than me. It’s not a secret. With any relationship, it wouldn’t be normal if it weren’t for the ups and downs. The constant is love and respect. We never, ever lost our sense of humor and we enjoy each other’s company, ”she said.

Zeta-Jones and Douglas’ love story began in September 1998, when their paths crossed at the Deauville American Film Festival, the second most important on the French calendar after Cannes. As she was in Deauville to promote Zorro’s mask, his co-star Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and his then-wife Melanie Griffith hosted a dinner at which Douglas, on a promotional tour for A perfect murder, was also invited. At first it seemed like there was a connection between the two actors, but later that evening Douglas made a comment that baffled Zeta-Jones. As he said The Jonathan Ross Show in 2016: “I said to him after about half an hour, ‘You know, I’m going to be the father of your children.’ A stunned Zeta-Jones quickly ended the conversation saying she was due to leave for Scotland the next day for the shoot. Trapping. As she said The New Yorker earlier this year: “I said, ‘All right. I read a lot about you. I saw a lot of things about you. I have heard a lot about you. Good night.’ And I went to bed and got up at 5 in the morning. I went to London, I changed planes, I went to Aberdeen, I took a ferry to the Isle of Mull. And there was a big bunch of flowers saying ‘I’m sorry if I scared you. My love, Michael Douglas. ‘ He still says the florist who brought these flowers to the Isle of Mull saved his life. I will say if someone says they are going to father your children when you have just met them, it is a little scary. Unfortunately, he was still right.

They spent the following months talking for endless hours on the phone and seeing each other in secret when their filming schedules permitted. The relationship, to their surprise, grew in leaps and bounds, as on December 31, 1999, while on vacation in Aspen, Douglas asked for Zeta-Jones’ hand in marriage with a ring. in 10-carat Fred Leighton diamond. valued at $ 1 million (€ 855,000). “We were both as sick as dogs because we had [the] flu, ”Douglas later told TV presenter Ross King.

The year 2000 was a turning point in their respective lives. On August 15, Dylan Michael was born, Zeta-Jones ‘first child and Douglas’ second child after Cameron, born in 1978 when the actor was married to film producer Diandra Luker. On November 18, they were married at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The ceremony, attended by the Hollywood elite, cost $ 1.5 million (1.28 million euros). Instead of embarking on a luxurious honeymoon, Zeta-Jones and Douglas retreated to an apartment in New York City with their baby. The following years were fruitful for the couple. In 2002, they moved to one of the properties in Douglas, Bahamas. In 2003, Zeta-Jones won an Oscar for his role in Chicago and a month later, her second child, Carys Zeta Douglas, was born.

What the couple couldn’t foresee at the time was that upon their return to New York in 2009, they would face a series of misfortunes that would test the foundations of their relationship. In August 2010, Douglas was diagnosed with advanced throat cancer. “We’ve tried to keep it as private as possible, but because of what we’re doing it’s very difficult. I haven’t told others enough about it. This is one thing I would do more of. Our kids who asked if Dad was going to die was really tough, ”Zeta-Jones said Good Housekeeping reviewed in 2016.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones at the Golden Globe Awards in 2021. BNC / Reuters

In January 2011, Douglas received the medical green light. But after dealing with the stress of those months, in April of that year, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for treatment for her previously unknown bipolar disorder. “I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it,” she said. In the style magazine. Two years later, in April 2013, she again sought professional help. Unlike the first instance, when his representative said his hospitalization was a consequence of the illness from which Douglas suffered, no reason was given for his admission. Since then, she has not sought treatment, at least publicly.

The events of this period have taken their toll. Shortly after his second hospital stay, Zeta-Jones decided to stop acting. In the summer of 2013, she and Douglas went their separate ways. They reconciled later that same year but made no public announcement until later. “I’m crazy about her. I think every couple has their tough times. The only problem is, as you well know, we’re all in the public eye and that tends to get a bit more exposed than most. But we’re back stronger than ever, ”said an exuberant Douglas on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015.

With the bumps in the road behind them, Zeta-Jones and Douglas are back in business. He enjoys a second youth in the role of Hank Pym in the Marvel saga The ant Man. Since 2017, her main focus has been on Casa Zeta-Jones, her own line of fashion, beauty, footwear and lifestyle products. As Zeta-Jones put it in his The New Yorker interview: “Casa Zeta-Jones is the umbrella for everything I love. My mother was a seamstress and I sewed. […] I’m a crazy, phenomenal aspiring interior designer. What was fun for me was creating a brand that truly embodies me as a woman, not Catherine Zeta-Jones walking in heels on the red carpet.

English version by Rob Train.

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