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The Woman from Wales

Movie star. Oscar winner. Wife of Michael Douglas. Catherine Zeta-Jones is all those things as she nears 40 but at heart, she is still a small-town girl.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Catherine Zeta-Jones, September/October 2009

(continued from page 4)

By the end of an evening of food and wine, Douglas was giving her the full-court press of charm and star power, at one point telling her with a smile, "I want to father your children."

To which she replied, "I've heard quite a bit about you—and I'm glad to see it's all true," and called it a night.

Says Foster, "He was known as Hollywood's great bachelor swinger. He was known as a guy with many women in his life. And Catherine was very conservative about that sort of thing."

A day or so later, Zeta-Jones went back on location to finish Entrapment. When the actress got to her hotel ("This little family-run hotel on the west coast of Scotland"), a massive bouquet of flowers awaited her from Douglas.

"I have no idea how he got them there—and that quickly," she says. Thus began a courtship that lasted the better part of a year, as Douglas filmed Wonder Boys on the East Coast, while Zeta-Jones starred in a remake of The Haunting.

"I really didn't want to start a relationship that was long distance," she says. "So there were nine months of courting. He thought it was going nowhere—until I called him on his birthday. He'd been married for 20 years before his divorce and had a few relationships since.

"I finally told him, 'I don't want to be one of the girlfriends. I want to be the girlfriend.' He said, 'OK, give me a minute and I'll go make some phone calls so it's just you and me.' Then he went up to the bedroom—and was on the phone for two hours! The ladies were all very gracious about it; I think they were glad he had the decency and courage to call them directly, so they wouldn't read about it in a magazine."

As predicted, Douglas did become the father of Zeta-Jones's children, sooner than expected: Son Dylan, now 9, was born in August 2000, a few months before their wedding. (Daughter Carys was born in 2003.)

"We went to Wales so Michael could ask for my hand in marriage," Zeta-Jones recalls. "My parents were toasting us with teacups and I said, 'Say something, Dad.' Dad said, 'Well, I'm really happy.' And Michael said, 'Good—because we're having a baby!' Which was the first we'd told them. Actually, my dad's a year younger than Michael—it drives him mad when Michael calls him 'Pops.'"

Then there was the matter of Douglas' parents—particularly his father, screen legend Kirk Douglas, now 93. Douglas brought it up casually during a trip to L.A.

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