Catherine Zeta-Jones, 49, has been in the spotlight for quite sometime, reaching her peak when she won an Oscar for playing Velma Kelly in Chicago. But these days it seems most of the talk is about her longtime marriage to 74-year-old actor Michael Douglas. And even though Michael has given Catherine plenty of reasons to say so long to him, Catherine has stuck with him. Catherine recently sat down with The Times to explain why that is.
“I’d like to father your children.” That’s the line that Michael opened up with after Danny DeVito introduced Catherine to Michael. And that was 20 years ago. And it just so happens that last week the pair celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary. But it hasn’t come without some major obstacles. “God knows we’ve had ups and downs in our marriage,” Catherine says. “But I don’t throw the towel in very quickly on anything. I’m not that person. Not that I would white-knuckle it until the day he drops dead. Or the day I drop dead, I’m not that stupid, either.”
Those “ups and downs” are of course referring to everything from the time Douglas suggested his throat cancer was caused by giving too much cunnilingus, to the time he had a #MeToo allegation said against him. But Catherine believes people give up on marriage too easily. “I know it’s an old-fashioned way of thinking, but you’ve got to give it your best shot,” Catherine explains. “I have a temper and a knee-jerk reaction. Michael calls me Dame Doom because I’ll go to the worst-case scenario. I’m like a Formula One race car — zero to 200 in two seconds. I spend my life trying to bring it down.”
One has to wonder what Catherine was thinking back in January when a former employee of Michael accused him of sexual harassment. Well here’s what Catherine had to say about that: “My children and I were profoundly devastated by those allegations. And I was torn about where my absolute morals lie. 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 …’”
“It was a really hard position for me and, in the height of it all, it was nasty,” Catherine adds, revealing what Michael said to his family to ease their worries. “By telling us that there is no story here and that time will tell,” Catherine recalls. “And, of course, it did. There was nothing to back it up at all. For any accusation that comes out that isn’t backed up, that knocks the movement back 20 years.”
Catherine turns directions and begins to talk about something lighter when she mentions the age gap between Michael and her. “I joke to him, ‘Look, your dad’s going to turn 102 in December. I wasn’t planning on the 102 thing with you,” Catherine says. “So we may have to regroup in a few years and see where we are.”
Even after taking a break in 2013, Catherine can reveal now that the pair is strong. “We came back with a much more appreciative view of who we both are and what we independently bring to this relationship,” Catherine says.
Well, let’s hope they we can check in with Catherine 18 years from now when Michael is 92…