The sad but unsurprising news is true: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have separated. After 13 years of marriage, their rep released a statement, saying, “Catherine and Michael are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage.” What this really means is that they’re done working on their marriage, and are using this buffer period to work out the specifics.
The couple, who wed in a lavish ceremony that would have made Liberace proud at New York City’s Plaza Hotel in 2000, have not been seen photographed together since April, when they attended a gala at Lincoln Center. Currently, the two actors are on different continents, with Michael vacationing in Sardinia, Italy, and Catherine at home in New York with their two kids, Dylan and Carys. For Catherine’s recent Red 2 premieres, she walked the carpet alone.
Sad as it may be, it’s hardly a surprise. The last three years have been nothing short of rough on the couple. Michael was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer in August 2010, and the following months were undoubtedly one of the hardest periods of the couple’s marriage. Months of radiation and chemo deteriorated the steely, virile star of Wall Street and Basic Instinct that we all know and love into a thin, pale, and fragile senior citizen. Could this image of her husband as a mere mortal have been the beginning of the relationship’s unraveling?
Then there were the reports that she hated visiting him at the hospital because she couldn’t handle seeing him that way, among all the sickly commoners. She told The Daily Telegraph that she hadn’t “had to deal with anything like that before, ever. . . . I wasn’t as strong as I thought I could have been.”
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The image that Catherine has projected in her career has been one of unwavering strength and invulnerability. She came onto the scene and almost immediately married into film royalty, and at a relatively young age became the Hollywood equivalent of C.Z. Guest. In other words, she was born to be in a position of power.
Fast forward 10 years and the cancer thing happens, then it comes out that Catherine’s been hiding a history of bipolar II disorder, which naturally got worse after Michael’s illness. Just months after Michael beat his disease, she started treatment for hers. If that’s not taxing on a couple, then I don’t know what is.
But all the health drama aside, the couple have always offered bits and pieces to the media that just made it seem as if there was something . . . off, something missing, like their marriage was about pedigree and heritage, and lacked passion and true intimacy. They were together because they made sense.
Catherine at one time revealed that the secret to their marital bliss was separate bathrooms (uptight much?). She’s also said, “We spend a hell of a lot of time together, so we are careful to maintain our space.”
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Meanwhile, Michael has also shed some light on his stoic wife. “She’s Welsh,” Michael told Oprah on her talk show. “The Welsh, it’s all stiff upper lip and not letting your feelings show.”
So, reading between the lines, it seems overwhelmingly evident that the decision was by and large Catherine’s. The once suave actor, whose cock was a character of its own in several of his prominent movies, goes through cancer and comes out a shell of his former self, and suddenly the driving force of the power couple starts to fall apart, taking their marriage with her. Sad, indeed, but not the least bit surprising.