Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas attend the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Celebrity

Catherine Zeta-Jones shares her advice for a successful long-term relationship

“My husband is 25 years older than me,” says Catherine Zeta-Jones. “That’s not a secret… [but] the constant is love and respect.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have been one of Hollywood’s golden couples since the 90s, after they first met one another at the Deauville Film Festival.

“We met in 1996 at the Deauville Film Festival…I think it was 1996!” Zeta-Jones told Larry King in a 2001 interview. “I had been told Michael Douglas wanted to meet me. I was a little nervous because I didn’t quite know what he wanted to meet me about.”

She added: “Nine months later, I’m still having long conversations with him on the phone, having great dinner dates, constantly wondering, ‘Why are we not together?’” 

You may also like

Why we need to shout about ‘green flags’ in relationships as well as red ones

Eventually, the pair began dating – much to the delight of the tabloids, who dedicated many a front page to the couple’s 25-year age gap.

But Zeta-Jones never let this negative commentary bother her, noting: “Historically, older men and younger women have been together. 

“[And] when my mother was telling me about men and telling me the facts of life, she never actually put an age bracket on it.”

Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta Jones attend 16th Annual Night of Stars Salute to Film and Fashion Gala on October 26, 1999 at Rockefeller Center in New York City
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have been together since the 90s.

After a few years, Douglas told ITV’s Ross King that he proposed to Zeta-Jones at his Aspen home one memorable New Year’s Eve, when the pair were “sick as dogs” with the flu. Naturally, she said yes.

And, despite what regular tabloid reports might claim, the couple say they are every bit as happy today as they were when they tied the knot back in 2000.

So, when Zeta-Jones was asked for her secret to a happy long-term relationship, you can bet our ears pricked up. Especially as the actor, in her typically blunt style, refused to sugarcoat things

You may also like

Celebrity relationship advice: 11 lessons in love from our favourite famous couples

“My husband is 25 years older than me,” Zeta-Jones told WSJ Magazine. “That’s not a secret… [but] the constant is love and respect.”

The Academy Award winner continued: “We’ve never, ever lost our sense of humour, and we enjoy each other’s company. My husband and I spend a lot of time together because, unlike so many couples, we’ve never had a 9-to-5 job where it’s consistent. We’re either on or we’re off.

“I’m really working 16 hours a day, or I’m not. He’s doing the same, or not. So we’ve had in our relationship huge amounts of time where we’ve been just us.”

She finished: “We respect each other’s space, and our humour is just long-lasting.”

Elsewhere, Douglas has said that he will be forever grateful for Zeta-Jones’ love.

“I’m old enough to appreciate that this is a good time in one’s life, and not taking it for granted,” he told People. “I’m grateful for a good marriage, good kids, no problem, and my health.”

Speaking to AARP, however, the actor has also shared his own tried-and-tested relationship advice.

“[This marriage has] taken work on both our parts,” he said simply. “And I don’t think there’s much chance of fixing a relationship if one of you is already out the door.”

You may also like

The surprising secret to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s long-lasting relationship

Indeed, as Douglas told Ellen DeGeneres in 2015: “I think every couple has their difficult times. 

“The only problem is, as you well know, we’re all in the public eye and it tends to get a little more exposed than most… [but] I’m crazy about her.”

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

Dating

11 love lessons from our favourite celebrity couples

Settle back and enjoy these words of wisdom from Chrissy Teigen, Rihanna, Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneres and more.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Chrissy Teigen has leaked her own private texts to John Legend

And it hilariously sums up their 10 year relationship

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Relationships

Relationship in crisis? Watch out for these 4 red flags, says TikTok user

A viral TikTok video has revealed the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” that all couples should watch out for.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Opinion

We need to shout about ‘green flags’ in relationships as well as red ones

When we’re too preoccupied with finding or seeing the ‘bad’ in people, it can at times cause us to overlook the good.

Posted by
Toni Tone
Published
Life

The surprising secret to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s long-lasting relationship

The Hollywood couple have been dating for 35 years

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published