Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are not splitting up—she’s just going to the Academy Awards without him this year.
Through a publicist, Douglas, 68, told Page Six that rumours of his dramatic split with Zeta-Jones, 43, are “not true.” The statement arrives just as word was circulating that Douglas would not be joining his Welsh wife at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, where she’ll be singing as part of a tribute to classic Hollywood musicals.
But from whence would such an ugly breakup story come, you may ask? Why, just the National Enquirer. It’s a wonder Douglas’ reps didn’t end their “not true” denial with “… obviously.”
Still, the Enquirer really filled in the plot lines on this one, complete with details of a “cancer stricken” Michael “walking out” over marital pressure stemming from his son’s drug conviction and Catherine’s bipolar disorder, and about her struggle to keep the family together. (But then there’s also talk of a “hush hush trial separation” and a concerted effort to “make it work,” which sounds considerably more dignified than the headlines would suggest. This gossip story wants it both ways.)
A PR flack for Zeta-Jones has also issued a statement calling the separation story “completely false.” For her part, Jones has gone on record swearing that, despite the adversity she and Douglas have admitted to facing in their private life, she “finds divorce repulsive” and would never go through with one.
The stuff about the cancer, prison and the mental illness—all of it is well-known and has been addressed openly by the stars themselves. There are elements of the Enquirer story that are believable: the idea that the couple are working hard to stay together for the sake of their two kids together, Dylan, 12, and Carys, 9; the notion that Douglas may have rented a separate house nearby for a bit of alone time.
The latter detail may seem odd by most family standards, but people have their own techniques for making things work. Besides, Douglas is rich enough to have a house he can use as a hangout and still put in lots of time at home. The guy did just almost die of cancer and she’s had an illness of her own, and though they were apparently dedicated to each other, they might need some space. It doesn’t mean they’ve split, and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re divorcing. I think their denials are flat enough to cover all of that and still mean that the rumours are indeed false.
The couple were last photographed together publicly at the New York premiere of Side Effects on Jan. 31, looking quite un-split. Alas, in light of the breakup story Douglas may now be second-guessing his decision to blow off this Sunday’s Oscars. Though his excuse, that he’s tired from work and would rather stay home with his kids, sounds pretty reasonable to me.