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