The truth about Hollywood’s strangest marriage

The truth about Hollywood’s strangest marriage

Although Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have succeeded in having one of Hollywood’s longest marriages at 18 years together, their relationship hasn’t come without pain and heartache.

During their almost two decade marriage, the stars have made it through a cancer diagnosis, mental health battles and sexual assault allegations from one of Douglas’ former employees.

The couple, who share the same birthday and have a 25-year age gap, decided to move to Bermuda after they tied the knot on November 18, 2000.

The couple’s family also moved to the island and Douglas said he found “real solace” away from the public eye.

However, when the couple moved back to the USA in 2009, the family were hounded by paparazzi.

In an interview last year, their daughter Carys Zeta Douglas said: “I thought my dad was a pancake maker.

“I didn’t know he was an actor. Honestly.”

When she was just a young girl, Carys was exposed to flashing cameras in her face because of her famous parents.

“I used to get really upset. They (photographers) would jump on the subway and sit right in front of me. I was, like, six. I was confused,” Carys said.

In 2010, the family were rocked by Douglas’ cancer diagnosis, with Catherine dropping everything to support him.

Douglas confirmed the diagnosis during an interview on the David Letterman show, speaking honestly about his health.

“He’s a very matter-of-fact person,” Zeta-Jones said of the way her husband discussed his cancer diagnosis.

“Once he was diagnosed he was like, ‘Okay, what do I do?’ He basically wanted that thing out of his body so he just blitzed the b**tard. It was very intensive … but he still retained his sense of humour.”

Douglas endured chemotherapy and lost 13.5kg in the process.

During his illness, his actress wife suffered with the extreme stress of her circumstances.

“When you get sideswiped like that (by your husband’s illness), it’s an obvious trigger for your balance to be a little bit off – not sleeping, worry, stress,” she said in 2013.

“It’s a classic trigger.”

When Douglas was declared cancer free later that year, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a psychiatric facility.

The actress was believed to be suffering from depression caused by the stress of the cancer.

She was diagnosed with Bipolar II, a less severe form of Bipolar disorder.

Those who suffer from Bipolar II don’t generally experience the more intense symptoms of Bipolar, including hallucinations and violent episodes.

The different emotional states can be managed when treatment is sought through therapy and medication.

“I hope fellow sufferers will know it’s completely controllable,” she said in an interview the following year. 

“I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it,” Zeta-Jones reiterated.

In 2013, she was admitted to hospital once again to receive treatment for her disorder and four months later, the couple separated without getting a divorce.

During their break, Douglas said: “I’m crazy about her … I think every couple has their difficult times. The only problem is, as you well know, we’re all in the public eye and it tends to get a little more exposed than most.”

After less than a year apart, it was reported that the couple were back together and had moved into a New York city apartment together.

“It’s a long road, and I think people today are so quick to throw in the towel on marriage. You have to give it your best shot and not give up when the first problem arises, because that won’t be the last problem.” Zeta-Jones told Good Housekeeping in 2016.

Douglas agreed, saying: “It took work on both our parts. I don’t think there’s much chance of fixing a relationship if one of you is already out the door.”

Zeta-Jones has also responded to the sexual allegations made by a former employee of Douglas.

His accuser, Susan Braudy, said she was subject to inappropriate conduct, constant sexually charged conversations and he once masturbated to the point of ejaculation.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Zeta-Jones said: “This woman came out of nowhere and accused my husband.

“I had a very big conversation with him, with the kids in the room, and said, ‘Do you understand if more comes out …’”

“My children and I were profoundly devastated by those allegations. And I was torn about where my absolute morals lie.”

But Zeta-Jones ultimately stuck by her man, who assured her “that there is no story here and that time will tell".

“And, of course, it did.”