For decades, the world has known Kirk Douglas as a Hollywood icon — but to his son Michael Douglas, Kirk has always been just dad. “He taught me to never give up,” Michael gushed to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “I just had dinner with him last night. He’ll be 102 in December, and he’s doing great.

Though Michael, 73, and Kirk have always been close, the actor admitted it was sometimes difficult to live in the shadow of his father’s mega success during his childhood. “My dad was a movie star — having that name was good and bad. People think it’s a silver spoon. It’s not,” he has said. 

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Interestingly, Michael even resisted following in his dad’s famous footsteps at first. “I thought I could never be the actor Dad was, so I avoided it for a while,” he shared. “Not a lot of actors’ kids make it. Hollywood is awash with failures.”

“For a long time, I can’t say I really enjoyed acting. I was always censoring it, editing it or analyzing it, rather than just going with it,” Michael added.

Early on in his Hollywood career, Michael also sadly went through a divorce from his first wife, film prodcer Diandra Luker. “Like a lovely orchid, marriage prospers and grows if it’s nurtured, but if it’s ignored, it withers,” he said. 

“My marriage and my family come before my career now. Do you know what absolute happiness is? For me, it is to wake up my kids in the morning — these little pieces of innocence — and find they’re so happy to see me. It is unequivocal love,” Michael has said of his two youngest children, son Dylan, 18, and daughter Carys, 15, with second wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, 48. 

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Though Catherine and Michael recently went through a brief separation in 2013. “We worked things out,” the Basic Instinct star said, adding he’s crazy about Catherine and can’t pick a favorite thing about being married to her. “You can’t divide it into parts. She’s pretty darn good.”

Not only is Michael a proud father-of-three — he shares his eldest son, Cameron, 39, with first wife Diandra — but he also just became a first-time grandfather to Cameron’s little girl, Lua Izzy Douglas, in December 2017. 

“I love Lua — she’s gorgeous,” Michael gushed. “I think you appreciate being a grandparent more when everybody’s out of the house and it’s empty-nest symdrome, but I still have my daughter with me!”

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At age 73, Michael also said he’s just fine with growing older. “I’ve enjoyed becoming more comfortable and liking myself more,” he said. “I’m not quite as self-critical.”

So, is retirement soon in the actor’s future? Doesn’t seem like it! “Retiring gives the impression that you’re relieved your job is over. Right now, my health is good, I’m enjoying  my career, it’s my 18th year of marriage to Catherine and it couldn’t be better — and all my kids are doing well. So I have very few complaints, and that doesn’t happen very often in life. I’m a happy camper.”

For more on Michael Douglas, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!

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