CATHERINE Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas are “taking some time apart” to “work on their marriage”, her publicist confirmed yesterday.
The actress, who married Douglas 13 years ago and has two children with him, shot to fame in Britain in the early 1990s playing Mariette Larkin in The Darling Buds of May before going on to Hollywood success.
A spokeswoman for the star said: “Catherine and Michael are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage. There will be no further comment.”
According to the US magzine People, Douglas and Zeta Jones, both Oscar-winners, have in recent months taken separate holidays, appeared at red carpet events without the other and are effectively living apart.
The magazine quoted a close confidante of the couple as saying: “They’re taking a break.”
Neither star has filed for divorce nor moved towards a legal separation, the magazine added.
The couple met in 1998 at the Deauville Film Festival in France, began dating the following year, got engaged on New Year’s Eve 1999 and co-starred in the 2000 release Traffic.
Both have struggled with health issues in recent years.
Zeta Jones, 43, said in April that she was seeking help for bipolar disorder, her second-known trip to a medical clinic for the condition since 2011, when she sought treatment for what aides said was the stress of coping with Douglas’ advanced throat cancer diagnosis in 2010 and subsequent treatment.
“The stress has taken a toll on their marriage,” People quoted a friend as saying.
The A-list couple decided to spend time apart shortly after Douglas returned in May from the Cannes Film Festival, where his Emmy-nominated movie about Liberace, Behind the Candelabra, was screened.
Douglas’s New York office had no comment on the report.
Zeta Jones, who made her breakthrough in Hollywood in 1998’s The Mask of Zorro, has spoken openly in the past about her struggle with type-two bipolar disorder. She has previously said of the illness: “This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it.”
Douglas, 68, son of Hollywood star Kirk, also hit the headlines this year after he said his throat cancer was caused by performing oral sex. He claimed his cancer was contracted through the human papillomavirus a sexually transmitted disease.
Zeta Jones won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in 2002’s Chicago, and was made a CBE in 2011 during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace which she attended with her husband and their two children.
Douglas has won Oscars as a producer of the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and as best actor in 1987’s Wall Street.