Michael Douglas was misdiagnosed thrice before the couple got the confirmation that the actor was suffering from tongue cancer.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 20, 2020. It has since been updated.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the news breaks not just the person enduring it but also their loved ones. It makes sure that each and every family member of the victim suffers from the consequences of the wretched disease. Even celebrities are not spared.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas encountered a road bump in their marriage when the actor was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. According to E! Online, even though the actor's publicist informed the media that it was throat cancer, it was revealed later that it was stage four tongue cancer. The actor got the news right before his promotional trip to Europe for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
While talking to Samuel L. Jackson on ITV's This Morning, he said, "This was right before I had to go on a big tour for [Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps], so we kind of said there's no way we can cancel the tour and say we don't feel well. … You've got to tell them. I said, 'You've just got to come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that's that.'"
The actor exhibited optimism throughout his radiation and chemotherapy. He has also previously said that his cancer diagnosis provided him with the opportunity to sharpen his piano skills and perfect Liberace's cadence and mannerisms for the biopic Behind the Candelabra.
The 75-year-old actor who successfully beat cancer in January 2011 was at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies' 5th World Congress event in New York when he said, "In every sense of the word, I'm very fortunate to be here today." He thanked the medical team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and added, "We can only imagine what the next century will bring. Thank you for saving my life," reported Yahoo News.
While Douglas was trying to find the positive sides of cancer he was suffering through, his wife Zeta-Jones wasn't as optimistic as him. In truth, she admitted that she was a "mess" after his diagnosis. How wouldn't she be? He was misdiagnosed "not once, not twice, but three times."
Zeta-Jones remained by her husband's side throughout his struggle with cancer and its treatment but the stress took a toll on her as well. The 50-year-old actress opened up about the turmoil she was going through when Douglas' diagnosis results were disclosed while speaking to an audience of 3,000 doctors at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies'.
"I was a mess. I'll be quite frank, I was a mess. When I'm married to a man who has such a conviction for life ... he fights to make the wrongs right. For the first time he was fighting for his life," she explained. "I'm very happy to be here this morning with my husband. I mean that literally. I'm very happy to be here with my husband, she added.
Talking to Telegraph's Stella Magazine the 50-year-old actress explained that finding out about the cancer was a shock for her. She said, “When Michael was diagnosed with cancer I really thought, ‘You are going to have to wipe me off the floor.'”
The Oscar-winning Welsh beauty also revealed that while Douglas was fighting his battle, Zeta-Jones was struggling with her own. “When you get sideswiped like that [by Douglas’ cancer] it’s an obvious trigger for your balance to be a little bit off, not sleeping, worry, stress,” she said and added, “It’s a classic trigger.”
She checked herself into a mental health facility in 2011 for the treatment of her Bipolar II disorder which her rep confirmed to E! Online, "After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II Disorder. She's feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films."
At one point, the couple's individual struggles became a lot for both of them to handle and they went on a brief break in 2013. But Douglas had high hopes and total trust in their relationship. Just 6 months later, they got back together and are going strong till now. The power couple has three kids, son Dylan Michael Douglas, 22, and daughter Carys Zeta Douglas, 20 years.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Jon Kopaloff, (R) Anthony Harvey