Kirk Douglas is still recognized as a movie icon who has starred alongside some of the most beautiful leading ladies of Hollywood’s golden era. But to Michael Douglas, he was just dad.
“My dad was a movie star — having that name was both good and bad,” the fellow actor recently told Closer Weekly about his unconventional childhood. “People think it’s a silver spoon. It’s not.”
Michael admitted that while he and his father have always been incredibly close, it was sometimes difficult to live in the shadow of the beloved patriarch’s massive success.
It’s the reason why the now-73-year-old resisted following in his father’s famous footsteps — at first.
“For a long time, I can’t say I really enjoyed acting,” said Michael. “I was always censoring it, editing it or analyzing it, rather than just going with it.”
Michael would go on to pursue the family business in film, television and the stage. His first credited role was in the TV series “CBS Playhouse” in 1969. He has since maintained a lasting career and earned two Oscars.
But Michael’s greatest achievement? Creating a family of his own.
Michael shares two children, 18-year-old son Dylan and 15-year-old daughter Carys, with his second wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. He has a 39-year-old son named Cameron from his first marriage to film producer Diandra Luker.
“My marriage and my family come before my career now,” he explained. “Do you know what absolute happiness is? For me, it is to wake up my kids in the morning — these little pieces of innocence — and find they’re so happy to see me. It is [an] unequivocal love.”
Michael also became a grandfather to Cameron’s daughter, Lua Izzy Douglas, in December 2017.
“I love Lua — she’s gorgeous,” gushed Michael. “I think you appreciate being a grandparent more when everybody’s out of the house and it’s empty-nest syndrome, but I still have my daughter with me.”
But life at home wasn’t always smooth sailing. Closer Weekly revealed Michael and Zeta-Jones, 48, went through a brief separation in 2013. Still, he insisted all is well and nothing could possibly tear them apart.
“We worked things out,” he said. “You can’t divide it into parts. She’s pretty darn good.”
And as for retirement? Michael isn’t interested to slow down on his craft.
“Retiring gives the impression that you’re relieved your job is over,” he explained. “Right now, my health is good, I’m enjoying my career, it’s my 18th year of marriage to Catherine and it couldn’t be better — and all my kids are doing well. So I have very few complaints, and that doesn’t happen very often in life. I’m a happy camper.”
Michael isn’t the only one savoring his marriage. Back in 2017, his father and his longtime wife Anne Douglas paired up to release a memoir, titled “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood.
Douglas and the German-born publicist have been married since 1954.
Douglas, 101, and Anne, 99, told Fox News at the time that they kept the romance alive through countless love letters, which inspired the book. Anne saved all of their correspondence chronicling the relationship over the years.
“I remember how much we depended on getting mail from each other when we were apart,” said Douglas. “So I asked her. And she brought a big battered file folder that she had kept hidden in a closet in our Montecito house. My remarkable wife had kept everything — notes, cables, scrawled musings from plans and movie sets, starting in 1953 when we first met in Paris. At that moment, I knew this shouldn’t be my book, it should be ours.
What has been the secret behind a high-profile Hollywood marriage that has thrived for over 60 years? While Anne does turn a blind eye to infidelity, the couple, who raised two sons, credited date night for sparking the romance every day.
“[Date night is] the same as it’s been throughout our marriage,” said Douglas. “We spend what we call the ‘golden hour’ together at around 6:30 each night. We’ll sit and talk and laugh and share our day and our thoughts with each other."
“Except now we are very 21st century and bring along our iPads,” added Anne.