LOS ANGELES, California (AFP) – Hollywood A-listers Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of Tinseltown’s most high-profile couples, have decided to split, at least for a while, their publicists said Wednesday.
The pair have had a rough few years health-wise, and Douglas, 68, made headlines earlier this year with comments to a newspaper about oral sex that reportedly left his glamorous British wife, 43, feeling embarrassed.
American star Douglas and Zeta-Jones — both Academy Award winners — have been married 13 years and they have two children, Dylan, 13, and Carys, who is 10.
They decided to live apart after Douglas returned from the Cannes Film Festival in May, shortly after his wife checked in for a second round of treatment for bipolar disorder, People magazine reported.
“Michael and Catherine are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage. There is no further comment,” Douglas spokesman Allen Burry told AFP, confirming the cover story in the latest issue of People.
A spokeswoman for Zeta-Jones, Cece Yorke, issued an almost identical statement, without elaborating.
Neither star has filed for divorce or legal separation, according to People, which featured the couple of its cover with the headline: “Their Marriage Crumbles.”
“Michael and Catherine love each other very much, (but) they’re taking a break,” a close confidant told the magazine, adding: “No legal people are involved whatsoever.”
The movie star couple have not been photographed together since April, appearing on red carpets solo and vacationing separately.
They have faced a tumultuous few years, with Douglas fighting off throat cancer and Zeta-Jones undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder.
Then Douglas made waves in June when he attributed his throat cancer to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), saying he caught it by performing oral sex. He later backtracked, saying he did not know what caused his cancer.
Zeta-Jones found her husband’s comments “embarrassing,” and was upset he didn’t clarify that he was exposed to the virus before the couple met, according to a long-time friend cited by People.