Despite the 25-year age gap, Catherine Zeta-Jones And Michael Douglas have made their marriage work against all odds.
She was 31 years old. He was 56. She was a promising newcomer in films, while he was Hollywood royalty. She was single, and he was married and had a son from a previous marriage. Despite their apparent differences, their hearts were in the same place and they fell in love. Today, over two decades later, Catherine Zeta-Jones And Michael Douglas have had a 21-year-long marriage that has beaten all the odds — including speculations that their marriage wouldn't last due to their vast age gap of 25 years and nasty allegations that Zeta-Jones was a gold-digger.
Zeta-Jones and Douglas met each other at the Deauville Film Festival, France, in 1996. Recalling the first time she met Douglas, Zeta-Jones stated that he "breezed right past her." Later, they were introduced to each other by their mutual friends, actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. As moments passed, Douglas asked her if he could sit next to her during dinner. Douglas, who was smitten by Zeta-Jones (who wouldn't be?), even ended up saying a cheesy pick-up line. "You know, I'm going to be the father of your children," had said two-time Academy Award-winning Douglas, as reported by EOnline. She had said in response, "You know, I've heard a lot about you and I've seen a lot about you, and I think it's time I say goodnight." While Douglas thought he had blown his chances with that, much to his surprise, it was the start of something beautiful. Their relationship blossomed into something meaningful in the following months.
As time passed, Zeta-Jones and Douglas who also share a birthday (September 25), knew they were meant to be and decided to take their relationship to the next level. Speaking to CNN's Larry King, Zeta-Jones had recalled, "Nine months later (since they first met), I'm still having long conversations with him on the phone, having great dinner dates, constantly wondering, 'Why are we not together?'" She added, "He certainly didn't want me as an ex-girlfriend on his list, and I certainly didn't want 'Michael Douglas' as an ex-boyfriend on my list... We looked at each other one day and said, 'We're having a lot of fun together.'"
Douglas proposed to Zeta-Jones at his Aspen home on New Year's Eve in 1999. He bought her a 10-carat diamond ring, surrounded by 28 smaller diamonds, estimated to be worth $1 million. Finally, on November 18, 2000, Douglas and Zeta-Jones got married in what many called "the wedding of the year," and it was attended by Hollywood's biggest stars, including Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Sean Connery, Russell Crowe, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Anthony Hopkins, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Sharon Stone, and Barbara Walters among others.
Happy Birthday to two of our favourite lovebirds, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas! They're 52 and 77 years old today, respectively. 🎂🎁🎈— HELLO! Canada (@HelloCanada) September 25, 2021
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Their wedding, however, was followed by multiple speculations that primarily said the marriage would fall apart due to their vast age gap of 25 years. Reacting to this, Catherine had said, "Historically, older men and younger women have been together. When my mother was telling me about men and telling me the facts of life, she never actually put an age bracket on it. And it's so funny because Michael and my parents are the same age. So, my parents, whenever they see us together, never even question that there was a 25-year age difference."
A true test of their relationship also came in the form of a devastating cancer diagnosis for Douglas. In August 2010, he was diagnosed with stage IV tongue cancer. As he battled the disease, his caregiver Zeta-Jones went through her share of mental health issues too. She struggled with depression and bipolar disorder. These trying times took a toll on the couple who decided to separate after 13 years of companionship. It was reported that Douglas didn't even remove his wedding ring during the separation. Finally, after six months of staying apart, the couple got back together stronger than ever. Speaking about his separation, Douglas said to ABC, "We had a little bump in the road. I love Catherine as much, more than I ever have. And hopefully, the feeling’s mutual. We worked things out, if both people want to work something out and make it better, you can do it. You can’t do it if it’s just one person." There on, there was no looking back as the couple stuck by each other even in the most difficult times, including the imprisonment of Douglas' oldest son Cameron who he had with his first wife Diandra Luker.
Today, over two decades later, Zeta-Jones and Douglas have emerged as a gold standard for marriages, especially in Hollywood. They also have two children together, Dylan Michael (born August 2000), and a daughter, Carys Zeta (born April 2003). Despite having been with each other for so long, Douglas says he still can't take his eyes off his wife. Speaking to Us Weekly at the BAFTA Tea Party in 2019, Douglas said, "She does still give me butterflies. She cleans up pretty good."
On their 20th wedding anniversary in 2020, the couple took to social media to celebrate their romance. While Douglas shared an audio clip of him describing the first time he met his wife, Zeta-Jones wrote, "20 years ago today Michael and I were married!! What an amazing magical night that was! And 7304.85 days and nights on, I love you now as I did then. ( except for the point 85 bit) 😂 Thank you for the love and laughter. ❤️❤️❤️❤️." We wish the couple many more anniversaries and all the love in the world.