As many fans will know, the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones had a daughter with her equally famous husband, Michael Douglas, in 2003. And now, Carys, their second child, is old enough to give interviews and talk about her life – and she has some fascinating insights to offer. For instance, Carys and her mother recently chatted with Town and Country magazine, and the teenager made one revelation that might come as a surprise to some. Why so? Well, despite the fact that her parents are wealthy, talented and famous, she has apparently still been picked on at school.
Carys seems to take after her mother in terms of both looks and talent. And should she want to pursue a career in Hollywood, that can surely only be a good thing. Catherine Zeta-Jones is, after all, noted for both her acting ability – she won an Oscar for her performance in the 2002 musical Chicago – and her captivating beauty.
Yet Zeta-Jones didn’t come from riches, as her daughter now doubtless does. When she was growing up, her mother was a seamstress and her father had a sweet factory. Indeed, it was apparently only after a £100,000 ($128,500) bingo win that her parents were able to afford her dancing lessons.
Zeta-Jones certainly loved to perform, and she was good at it too. As a child, she played one of the orphans in Annie and would later land the lead role in the production. Then, at the age of 15, she decided to pursue acting as a career and ended her school years without taking her final exams. She subsequently moved to London and started going to auditions.
Zeta-Jones’ big break then came in 1991 when she was cast as Mariette in the ’50s-set British TV show The Darling Buds of May. The show was a success beyond all imagining, filling a gap in the market for more wholesome, family-friendly programming. And so, almost overnight, Zeta-Jones became a star in her native country.
“Literally, with one hour of television my life completely changed,” Zeta-Jones told USA Weekend in 2004. “I couldn’t go anywhere.” So, riding the wave of this success, she decided to move to Los Angeles and have a go at breaking America. It proved to be a good decision. Big names such as Steven Spielberg eventually took notice of her, and she was cast in 1998’s The Mask of Zorro.
The Mask of Zorro was a hit, and the following year Zeta-Jones picked up a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Female Newcomer. Suddenly, the world was at her feet. Meanwhile, in 1998 Zeta-Jones had also met her future husband, Michael Douglas. The pair were initially made acquainted with each other by fellow actor Danny DeVito at the Deauville Film Festival in France.
When Zeta-Jones first met Douglas, he was divorced from his first wife, Diandra Luker, with whom he’d had a son named Cameron – and he was reportedly extremely interested in Zeta-Jones. In fact, in 2007 the actress revealed to Parade magazine what her husband-to-be had said to her on the night that they met. “I want to father your children,” Douglas had apparently declared.
“Months later, we were dating, and I was already in love with him,” Zeta-Jones informed Parade. Of course, it’s not unusual at all for two celebrities to strike up a relationship. What’s uncommon here, though – and has been much commented on by the media – is the age difference between Zeta-Jones and Douglas. He is, after all, 25 years older than her.
Michael Douglas, of course, comes from a famous acting family. His father is Kirk Douglas – an icon of the “Golden Age” of moviemaking who starred in the likes of Spartacus and Paths of Glory, among many others. And Douglas’ mother was Diana Dill, of the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
When Zeta-Jones and Douglas subsequently said their vows in 2000, the media interest was intense. The bride and groom in fact banned all press from the event except OK! magazine – the only publication that was allowed to take pictures. And there was also a very special guest at the wedding. That’s because the couple’s first child, Dylan, had been born just a few months before.
Zeta-Jones had always been adamant that she would have children one day – with or without Douglas, if it ever came to that. And as the star told Parade, she had actually brought it up with him before they married. “There was one thing I had to be sure of,” she revealed. “I turned to him and said, ‘Do you really want children?’”
“And I thought, for that one minute, he was going to say, ‘I already have a son, Cameron,’ and I would have to say goodbye,” Zeta-Jones went on. However, everything turned out alright. The actress further revealed, “I remember saying defiantly, ‘I cannot live without having children.’ And he went, ‘Me too.’”
After the excitement of the wedding, Douglas and Zeta-Jones then forsook the traditional exotic honeymoon and instead concentrated on their son. And a few years later, they were able to give Dylan the gift of a sister as well. This was Carys Zeta Douglas, who was born on April 23, 2003. Her name, incidentally, derives from “caru” – the Welsh word for “love.”
Carys was born just a month after her mother had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago. And there was certainly also plenty of interest in the baby’s birth – and her future. “Carys enters [the] world destined to be defined by wealth and fame – and joins an illustrious Oscar-winning line-up of Douglas talent,” the BBC noted at the time.
As the Zeta Douglas children grew up, though, their parents took steps to protect them from that star-studded world. Dylan and Carys spent most of their time in Bermuda, where laws regulating the media are stricter. “I’m happy to report that my life in Bermuda [has] no paparazzi,” Zeta-Jones told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007. “You don’t see me going shopping [and] don’t see me picking my kids up from school.”
However, as Carys became a teenager, she began to put herself into the spotlight slightly more. For instance, she started to post pictures on an Instagram account in 2015 – while also sharing the odd tidbit about her life. People were delighted to see just how much she looks like her famous mother, too, and she racked up follower after follower.
Then in 2018 the 15-year-old Carys gave the previously mentioned interview to Town and Country – in which she told the world what it is like growing up with such famous parents. She also revealed that her mom and dad had tried to shield her from the more difficult aspects of stardom. But it seems that some problems had nevertheless leaked through.
For one thing, paparazzi were an issue when the family went to New York. “I used to get really upset. They would jump on the subway and sit right in front of me,” Carys told the publication. “I was, like, six. I was confused. That’s when I knew, ‘If this is going to be what it’s like, I need to focus on who I really am, and this is going to be something that’s just going to happen, and I can’t do anything about it.’”
Then she explained that school hadn’t been all that easy either. Despite her status as a celebrity kid – or maybe because of it – there were problems. Problems that, according to Carys, took the form of unpleasant comments. Yet it was her father’s age, more than anything else, that other kids apparently chose to mock her about.
“People would be like, ‘Your grandpa’s here to pick you up,’” Carys told Town and Country. And the media certainly took quite a bit of interest in this revelation. Some online commenters on the story, however, appeared to side more with the alleged bullies.
“These older men who marry younger women never think how the vast difference in age will affect their children when they have them in their 50s and 60s. Unfortunately, it does,” one person wrote on the Daily Mail’s website. “Take note, older celebrity dads, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Kelsey Grammer: it’s embarrassing to have a 70-year-old dad in your teens,” another noted.
Certainly, there is a reasonably sized club of other older celebrity fathers. Mick Jagger, for example, famously has eight children – the youngest of whom was born in 2016 when he was 73. George Clooney, meanwhile, became a father for the first time at 56 years of age – and Steve Martin at 67.
It’s also worth noting that other online commenters were more sympathetic to what Carys had to say about her school life. “She’s a little cutie pie. Why make fun of somebody because their father is old?” one person wondered. “She should ignore the bullies until they decide to grow up!” someone else wrote.
Catherine Zeta-Jones herself has spoken about how she deals with unwelcome comments regarding the age gap in her relationship. “Historically, older men and younger women have been together,” she told E! News in 2018. “When my mother was telling me about men and telling me the facts of life, she never actually put an age bracket on it.”
“And it’s so funny, because Michael and my parents are the same age. So, my parents, whenever they see us together, never even question that there [is] a 25-year age difference,” the actress went on. And that’s far from the first time she’s mentioned it, either. Back in 2001 she told WENN, “I’ve never heard of a book or a law being passed that says you have to be a certain age to spend time with another person.”
Then again, the couple have had bigger things to think about. Zeta-Jones and Douglas have, after all, weathered a lot during their long relationship – not least, serious health problems. In 2010 news hit that Carys’ father was suffering from an advanced form of cancer. And although he was lucky and radiation treatment worked out for him, it still wasn’t easy for the family.
Carys, for one, found that period difficult not just because of the threat to her father’s life, but also because of the media intrusion. In her Town and Country interview, she explained how she had broken down while in a store after seeing a tabloid headline about her father. His cancer had gone into remission – but the magazine apparently claimed that it was still killing him.
Naturally, it was a shock to Carys. “There’s this picture of my dad, and it’s like, ‘Michael Douglas Cancer Again, Dying in a Month,’” she told the Town and Country interviewer. “I just started crying. I was like, ‘Why didn’t my parents tell me this?’ Only it wasn’t true. People just always want a story to tell.”
Mature words from one so young – and during the same interview, Zeta-Jones herself sang her daughter’s praises for her behavior. “What I instilled in my kids, and I’m very, very proud of it, is manners,” she said. “There’s nothing worse than a privileged kid without manners. I drilled it into them like boot camp… She knows she cannot roll her eyes at me or huff and puff around me.”
Zeta-Jones also chatted about Carys’ sense of fashion. “She has her own individual style,” she told the magazine. “She’s modern but age-appropriate. I’ve never had to turn to Carys and say, ‘I think that’s a little inappropriate.’” And according to Carys, fashion is significant for her because of her mother’s impeccable sense of style.
Mother and daughter discuss clothes often, it turns out. “Once she said, ‘Mom, I really like this romper,’” Zeta-Jones revealed. “I went, ‘Mmm, but don’t you think it’s cut a little too long? Shouldn’t it be shorter?’ She went, ‘Mom, you’re the only mother in the world [who] would tell a 15-year-old girl that the romper should be shorter.’”
Carys also mentioned the pressures that are on her as a child of two celebrities. She has always greatly admired her parents and grandparents, you see – but she doesn’t yet know what she wants to do in future. “When I was younger I didn’t like the idea of having this name attached to me, this kind of ‘Douglas dynasty’ stuff,” she said.
“I think what bothers me the most is that people think I don’t work hard for it [and] that I don’t need to work hard for it,” Carys continued. “That anything I do gets handed to me. When, honestly, I feel like it’s the opposite. I feel I need to constantly prove myself to people – that I am not just my parents’ daughter.”
That said, Carys clearly values the close relationship that she has with her parents. And a quick glance at her Instagram – which has some 66,000 followers – reveals this fact immediately. On the joint birthday of Zeta-Jones and Douglas – both of whom were born on September 25 – she posted a touching Instagram message along with a picture.
“Happy birthday to my beautiful parents, the people who constantly inspire me and have taught me everything I know,” Carys wrote. And the picture displayed is one of Zeta-Jones and Douglas holding Carys and Dylan. “I am in awe of both of you and the goodness you bring to the world,” Carys’ message continued. “I love you more than you can imagine.”
Meanwhile, plenty of exciting things are currently happening for the Jones Douglas family. For instance, Dylan is currently at Brown University – an achievement that his mother made a touching Instagram slideshow to celebrate. And in 2019 Michael is reportedly set to appear in the mega-blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, where he’ll be reprising his role as Hank Pym.
As for Zeta-Jones, she recently appeared in Queen America as a beauty pageant coach. And earlier in 2018 she played the lead role in the TV movie Cocaine Godmother. Regarding the latter role, it’s also worth mentioning that she earned a Women’s Image Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Television Movie.
As for Carys, there’s always the possibility that she might move into acting herself. She certainly appears to show signs of knowing her way around the industry – and she’s apparently got the talent as well. The teen has appeared in several school productions of popular musicals, including Spring Awakening and Once on This Island, and she is also reportedly skilled when it comes to playing the piano.
Yet Carys is still very young, of course, and it seems that her parents have made sure she’s a teenager first and foremost. She’s also apparently been raised to be aware of all that she has – even if school hasn’t always been easy. “My parents do a really good job of reality-checking me,” she told Town and Country. “Being like, ‘Look around you. The life you have is extraordinary.’”