He was so close to losing the opportunity of being with her. But it all worked out because they've spent a glorious 20 years together with more to come.
The Perfect Murder and the Mask of Zorro were two of the most important movies in the lives of one celebrity power couple - Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. After all, it set the course for a happy 20-year-long marriage that is "stronger than ever," according to Martha Stewart Weddings.
Their story began in 1996 when the couple first laid eyes on each other at the Deauville Film Festival while they were promoting their respective films. Michael then asked Catherine to join him for a drink in the evening to which she agreed. She recalled to CNN's Larry King in a 2001 television 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."
For a while, the conversation was going well until Michael said one line that nearly nipped that building romance in the bud. "I said to her after about half an hour, 'You know, I'm going to be the father of your children,'" he said on The Jonathon Ross Show. "It sounded good, and she said, 'You know, I've heard a lot about you and I've seen a lot about you, and I think it's time I say goodnight.'"
Ouch. But obviously, something changed. So how on earth did he manage to make a comeback from that blunder? "[I] got her some flowers and an apology—anyway, so I guess it worked out OK!" he said, according to E!Online.
"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?'" Catherine told Larry King. And when they sat down to talk about it, they realized they had something special.
"He certainly didn't want me as an ex-girlfriend on his list, and I certainly didn't want 'Michael Douglas' as an ex-boyfriend on my list," she recalled. "We looked at each other one day and said, 'We're having a lot of fun together.'" Since then, their romance has only blossomed.
Their love for each other was not to be denied and the couple exchanged their vows on November 18, 2000, at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.
"I just told Michael, 'No crying.' He doesn't even have to have a tear in his eye. He just has this look where I know that he's about to start, and that does me in. I said, 'I don't even want you to look at me until I'm halfway down the aisle,'" Catherine told People.
She also added, "I don't take any of this for granted. When I look at Michael, I run around like a little girl. I can't believe I came into his life and he came into mine."
Soon enough, their life got bigger with the arrival of their son, Dylan and daughter, Carys. However, in order to focus on family, even before Carys was born, the couple and their son moved to Bermuda to live there full-time.
"There's real solace in returning to this tiny island where I have so many relatives, probably 70, in one place," Michael told Architectural Digest in 2002. "To me, Bermuda is a real family spot."
By 2009, though, the family moved back to New York. Having to readjust to the city was tough for all of them, especially the kids. But what the family didn't know was that there were far more hurdles to face. Michael was diagnosed with throat cancer which put a lot of stress on both him and Catherine. So much so that when he finally beat cancer, she had to check herself into a mental health facility. There, she was diagnosed with Bipolar II which is a mild version of bipolar disease. However, she too made it through.
And then came more shocking news - the couple was planning to separate. But they realized that they needed and wanted each other, so by the end of the year, they were back together. "I'm crazy about her... 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," he assured Ellen DeGeneres in 2015.
Today, the 49-year-old actress and 74-year-old actor are more than happy, especially after celebrating their 18th anniversary together. No one can deny the love they have for each other.