Rather than embark on a lavish honeymoon, the couple holed up in their apartment with their 4-month old son. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” Douglas told Reuters a month after tying the knot. “2000 is not going to be a year that’s forgotten.” Unsurprisingly, Zeta-Jones agreed. “I’ll double up on what my husband says,” the newlywed said. “It doesn’t get better than this.”
As they made a happy home for their infant son, the actors continued to find success on the big screen. And on Easter Sunday in 2003, daughter Carys was born in Ridgewood, N.J., near the family’s Manhattan home. At the time, Zeta Jones’ publicist said, “They are all doing fantastic.”
But before Carys’ arrival, the family had already been living in Bermuda full-time. “There’s real solace in returning to this tiny island where I have so many relatives, probably 70, in one place,” Douglas told Architectural Digest in 2002, noting that it’s only a 90-minute flight between the island and New York City. “To me, Bermuda is a real family spot.” Zeta-Jones’ family had visited them for Christmas a year earlier and they “fell in love,” Douglas added. “Now we’re getting the Welsh coming to live in Bermuda, too.” The move made sense for their family, as Zeta-Jones said they wanted Dylan to “have a base” and “be able to grow up with lots of cousins his age.”
In fact, Carys told Town & Country she didn’t even know her parents were famous until she got older.
“I thought my dad was a pancake maker,” she told the magazine. “I didn’t know he was an actor. Honestly.”
By 2009, however, the family was back in the U.S. and living in Bedford, New York. The constant hounding by the paparazzi certainly took its toll, particularly when the family was in the big city.
“I hated it,” Carys said about living in Manhattan. “I used to get really upset. They would jump on the subway and sit right in front of me. I was, like, 6. I was confused.”
However, the famous family soon faced even bigger hurdles. Just a year later, the couple’s love was put to the test when Douglas was diagnosed with throat cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation were especially tough on him. “It really knocks you out,” he told People. Zeta-Jones remained by his side, telling the magazine, “The hardest part is seeing his fatigue, because Michael is never tired…If there’s anything Michael has, it’s strength.”
That same year Douglas’ firstborn, Cameron, was arrested and charged with possession of heroin and distribution of methamphetamines. While he was initially sentenced to five years in prison, Cameron ended up serving even more time, including two years in solitary confinement, for smuggling drugs into jail. He later credited the love he received from his stepmother and other family members with helping him get through this difficult time.
“She never gives up on anything, and she didn’t quit on me,” Cameron, who was released in 2016, told the Mail on Sunday. “The love of my family got me through my darkest days.”
In January 2011, less than a year after his son’s sentencing, Douglas was declared cancer-free. Three months later, it was Zeta-Jones who needed support when she checked herself into a mental health facility to treat her bipolar II disorder. “I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops. But with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it’s completely controllable,” she told InStyle a year later. “I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it.”
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The Story of How Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Fell in Love