You can’t blame Michael Douglas for being in the mood to laugh lately. He recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy for his Netflix series The Kominsky Method, and he’s deliriously happy at home with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and their kids Dylan Douglas and Carys Douglas. And he can still count on his father, 102-year-old Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, to bring him back down to earth with a quip.
“He more than anybody says, ‘You’re getting an award for being funny? Ha!’” Michael, who’s best known for more serious roles in movies like Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, said backstage at the 2019 Golden Globes.
Kirk taught his son valuable lessons over the years about “stamina and tenacity,” Michael, 74, said. “He was out of a school where you give it your best shot and walk away [knowing] you’ve done the best thing you can, and say, ‘F–k it.’ That’s the best advice I got.”
Such a sense of perseverance has served Michael well in his marriage to Catherine, 49. They’ve weathered some tough times — including a brief separation in 2013 — but have emerged stronger than ever. “We celebrated our 18th anniversary recently,” Michael said. “Besides a genuine love that not only continues to grow, I think the fact that we are in the same industry really helps us understand what’s going on.”
In fact, Catherine is starring in her own new comedy, Queen America, on Facebook Watch. Michael has raved, “She’s doing some very funny stuff. I’m excited for her.”
Michael admitted that during his first marriage, to Diandra Luker from 1977 to 2000, he put his career ahead of his family. He regrets he didn’t devote more attention to his son Cameron Douglas, who developed a drug problem and spent time in prison. “I was not around anywhere near as much as I could have been,” Michael previously said on Hoda Kotb‘s SiriusXM radio show. “But he’s doing wonderfully now.”
Cameron recently turned 40 and made Michael a grandfather for the first time when he and his girlfriend, Viviane Thibes, welcomed daughter Lua in late 2017. “He’s a great guy,” Michael gushed of Cameron. “He’s a great dad, and our relationship is close.”
Cameron has done some acting — including co-starring with Michael and Kirk in the 2003 comedy It Runs in the Family — and now Dylan, 18, and Carys, 15, want to get into the family business as well. “The fact that all of them want to be actors and are good actors makes it all the more enjoyable,” Michael said at the Golden Globes. “They understand the whole system and have the sense of a third generation.”
Michael and Catherine are raising the kids in New York, but he had to spend time on the West Coast shooting his role as an aging acting teacher in The Kominsky Method. “I had to be in California for three-and-a-half months, and I missed some of their school events,” he confessed. “I appreciate their understanding.”
Age has given Michael a new point of view about what’s really important in life. “The joy of my marriage with Catherine and having our children at a point in my life when my career had developed allowed me much more time to enjoy my family,” he said, adding, “as opposed to earlier on in my life.”
So his newfound success — as a comedic actor, no less — is all the sweeter. “I’m old enough to appreciate that this is a good time in one’s life, and I’m not taking it for granted,” Michael, who survived a 2010 battle with tongue cancer previously told People. “I’m grateful for a good marriage, good kids and my health.”
In the end, he’s learned happiness is about finding a balance in life. “I choose when I want to work, when I want to spend time with my family, when I want to play golf,” Michael said in a past interview. “It’s all in perspective.”
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!