Catherine Zeta-Jones: “It is important for me to see my goal”

She has a brilliant career and a close-knit family, wonderful children and an outstanding appearance, talent and chic. With her are two famous men – Michael and “Oscar” … Meeting with Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is convinced that nothing in life comes for free.

Ouch. Oh-oh-oh-oh. I’m shocked. She walks into the hotel’s little bar where I’m waiting for her, and I almost pass out. This woman was made to be hated by other women. She shines. Everything about her glitters – her hair, her eyes, her smooth, shiny olive skin, so smooth that the thin gold bracelet on her wrist seems not to be an ornament, but part of her. Her eyes are much lighter than brown-eyed ones – they are either amber, or greenish, or even completely yellow. For a split second, I even think that I was upset by all this. Yes, it’s true: no one will ever look like this even in their wildest dreams … But this woman quickly dispels the haze. Barely extending her hand, she closes the distance between us, because she says that in the lobby through which she passed, children run and yell, and this is bad, because the hotel is terribly expensive, which means that the children are not poor people. And no one educates them. And children need to be brought up from the cradle, because “my children should not be other people’s problem!”. Yes, Catherine Zeta-Jones is. She comes to the interview without being even a second late, but manages to notice both ill-mannered children and the fact that the sun is today … “Did you see what a strange light – as if through a haze? No clouds though. And the fact that the receptionist was upset about something: “I felt sorry for her – she had to behave professionally, that is, to creep in front of me, but she clearly had no time for that.” And the fact that I have a white collar, like Peter Pan, and some kind of boyish shirt: “It’s fun when style is modesty!” That’s how she is. She easily descends from the heights of her success, her luck and her luxury. Because he does not look at the world from the top at all. She lives among us. That’s the beauty – that she, in spite of everything, succeeds.

Psychologies: There are many legends around your name: that you wash your hair with a specially created truffle shampoo, and then smear it with black caviar; that you had your first boyfriend when you were 19; that you are convinced that the key to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms for spouses …

Catherine Zeta-Jones: Should I object? Please: I wash my hair with truffles, I smear it with black caviar, then with sour cream, and I like to polish it with champagne on top. I serve everything cold. Do you like this answer? (She looks at me searchingly.) The fact is that in many heads I exist in the status of a kind of Cinderella. A girl from a village lost in the mountains of Wales, conquered the screen (no other than with the help of a fairy), became the star of the Hollywood kingdom, married a movie prince, no, for a whole aristocratic Douglas dynasty! And I’m not arguing – a great story. Just not really about me.

What is the story about you?

K.-Z. D .: My story is less fabulous and less poetic. A story about a girl from Wales who grew up in a working-class family, where mom and dad were devoted to each other. And no less than each other – musicals … Where dad loved the saying “patience and work will grind everything”, only he always objected to “patience”: he believed – and still thinks so – that only work, and patience – it is not for strong people … Where my mother had a special gift for elegance (and it was preserved), and she could sew better than any Gucci and Versace, and I had only to poke my finger into the magazine: I want this … Where at some point everyone was tired of amateur performances by a four-year-old girl. And my mother decided to send her to a dance school – so that the fountain of the child’s stormy show-energy in the house would not tire anyone … As you can see, no miracles.

But your parents wonderfully guessed what kind of talent lies in a small child.

K.-Z. D .: The miracle, in my opinion, is that my mother proceeded from my inclinations. She did not impose her ideas about me, she allowed me to follow my own route. Much later, she admitted that she allowed me to leave school at the age of 15, go to London and live there in the house of a teacher, a stranger, in fact, a person, for only one reason. More than the dangers of the big city, my parents were afraid that I would grow up and tell them: “If you had not interfered with me, I could …” My parents did not want me to feel the feeling of a missed chance in the future. I also think so: it is better to regret what has been done than what has not been done … And this credo works in everything except personal relationships. Here you need to be thinner, not go ahead.


And for personal relationships, do you have your own credo?

K.-Z. D .: Certainly. I don’t think you can live without a position at all. And here, too, I have a firm position: you need to be softer. We must always, under all circumstances, be kind to each other. We, damn it, meet thousands of people in life, and it is believed that everyone should be polite. And the one you love more than the rest often does not get our politeness, simple household kindness. This is wrong! And so we, in our family, try to be kind to each other. Take into account the state of each other, the plans of each. Michael, for example, tries to free me to the maximum – he mostly takes care of the children, and when they offer me a role and I have to go to hell, he always says: come on, I’ll be on duty, work while there is a fuse. Sometimes it’s even funny. Dylan – he was then four years old – asks me why I’m leaving again. I explain what you need, work. “What job?” he asks again. I explain that I play in the cinema, I make films. Dylan thinks for a moment and says, yeah, I get it, mom makes movies and dad makes pancakes! Well, really: he was used to seeing Michael in the kitchen at breakfast, when he was baking pancakes! Michael then remarked: “Well, they survived: dozens of films, two Oscars, and the child is convinced that the only thing I can do is pancakes … On the other hand, don’t show him Basic Instinct!

Why are rules so important to you in life?

K.-Z. D .: I am a fan of discipline. Perhaps this is my dancing background, everything is based on the schedule, self-discipline and work, work, work. I grew up so much: from the age of 11 I performed on stage almost professionally. Six hours of music and dance lessons per day. And so from 7 to 15 years. Then the number of these hours only increased. And of course, it’s true: I had my first boyfriend when I was not even 19 – 20! I’ve always been very… focused. I was only interested in work. At the age of 11, when my peers were blissfully hanging around after school at the local McDonald’s, I rushed to choir classes. At 13, when they were quietly “trying on” the first cosmetics in a department store, I rushed to the choreography. At 14, when they were going through stormy romances with guys from high school, I rushed to stage plastic. And I never even envied them – it was interesting for me to rush to where I would eventually get on stage! In a word, if there is anything from Cinderella in me, it is that I definitely raked out the ashes. And the discipline took root in me. Why, having children, it is impossible to live without it.


Are you equally principled with children?

K.-Z. D .: In general, yes. Everything is on schedule in our house: lunch is 30 minutes, then 20 minutes of cartoons on TV, then … In whatever part of the world I shot when the children were small, at seven in the evening Bermuda time I liked to call home and ask: hey , people, and you are not going to sleep? Because at 7.30 the children should be in bed, and at 7 in the morning they are already on their feet like a bayonet. Michael and I try to put the kids to bed ourselves. But we never listen under the door – in case the child wakes up and calls. In the typical parental hope that it needs us. As a result, our children do not hang on us, there is no such habit, and the son and daughter feel completely independent from the age of four. And partly because we have a schedule and discipline. With us, no one is capricious, does not get up from the table without finishing his portion, does not push away the plates with the food he did not like. We come out to greet the guests and do not linger among adults. If we go to a restaurant, the children sit quietly at the table for two hours and no one runs around the table screaming. We do not get into the bed of parents, because there should be a healthy distance between parents and children: we are the closest to each other, but not equal. We go to a regular school – thank God, in Bermuda, where we live, this is possible. In Los Angeles, they would have, willy-nilly, ended up in a school where everyone around is “so-and-so’s son” and “so-and-so’s daughter.” And this is the main reason why we chose Bermuda, the birthplace of Michael’s mother, for the family home – Dylan and Carys have a normal, human, not stellar childhood here. Listen, in my opinion, there is nothing more disgusting than rich spoiled children! Our children are already privileged, why else and unbridledness ?!

Your husband’s son from his first marriage was convicted of drug dealing. What did you feel?

K.-Z. D .: What should I have felt? We are a family, Cameron (son of Michael Douglas. – Approx. ed.) is not a stranger to me. And how can a stranger who played so much with your child be a stranger? And Cameron did a lot of work on our Dylan while he was just a toddler. I felt… trouble. Yes, trouble. Trouble happened to a loved one, he stumbled. I don’t think I should judge him. The business of loved ones is to help, stand up for their own, never back down from it. This has always been the case in my family, my parents. And so do I. We are different, but somehow one.

But what about your famous maxim about different bathrooms?

K.-Z. D .: Yes, we do not have different bathrooms, no matter what I think. So no. Probably because deep down I’m a romantic. An old fashioned romantic. For example, I love it when people kiss on the street. Some people don’t like it, but I love it.

And probably, you were captivated by the phrase that Douglas allegedly uttered when you met: “I would like to become the father of your children”?

K.-Z. D .: Well, it was a joke. But in every joke … You know, when we had already met for some time and it became clear that everything was serious, I decided to put this question squarely. And she admitted that I can not imagine a family without children. If then Michael had said something like: I already have a son, I am many years old and so on, I probably would have thought … And he blurted out without hesitation: “Why, me too!” So everything was decided. Because – I know for a fact – children strengthen marriages. And it’s not at all that it’s more difficult to break up, that it’s not easy to leave for another or another, having children. No, it’s just that until you have children, you think that you can’t love a person more. And when you see how he messes with your children, you understand that you love more than you could imagine.

And the age difference of a quarter of a century – what is it for you?

K.-Z. D .: No, I think it’s more of an advantage. We are at different stages of life, so Michael tells me: do not refuse offers for the sake of the family, work while there is a fuse. He has already become everything, he has already achieved everything in his career and can live without professional obligations, do only what he wants now: whether to play Wall Street 2, whether to bake pancakes … Yes, even for him our 25 years of difference no problem. He is a fearless person. He not only married a woman who is 25 years younger than him, but also had children at 55. He is not afraid to tell the truth: in that story with Cameron, he was not afraid to publicly admit that he was a bad father. He is not afraid to make drastic decisions, he is not afraid to make fun of himself, which is not so common among the stars. I will never forget how he answered my father shortly before our wedding! We hid our relationship, but at some point the paparazzi caught us. On the yacht, in my arms… and I was, so to speak, on top… and topless… In general, it was time to introduce Michael to my parents, and they somehow experienced this publicity with a topless photo. And as soon as they shook hands, the father seriously asked Michael: “What were you doing there with my daughter on a yacht?” And he sincerely replied: “You know, David, I’m glad that Katherine was on top. Gravity worked for her. Unlike me!” The father laughed and they became friends. Michael is a deeply healthy person, he has strong principles, he never becomes a slave to someone else’s opinion. There is a calmness in him – and I can be terribly anxious, especially when it comes to children. When Dylan swings on a swing or Carys walks along the side of the pool, balancing elegantly like that … Michael in these cases calmly looks back at me and says: “Darling, have you already had a heart attack or not yet?”

Where do you get peace of mind?

K.-Z. D .: We have a house in Spain. We try to spend some time there. As a rule, the two of us – Michael and me. Only swimming, talking, music, long dinners… And my “phototherapy”.

Do you take pictures?

K.-Z. D .: sunsets. I know that the sun sets every day and will definitely set … But every time is different. And it never fails! I have many such photos. I sometimes take them out and look at them. This is phototherapy. It somehow helps … you know, not to be a star – not to break with the norm, with normal human values. And I think I succeed. Anyway, I still know how much a carton of milk costs!

And how many?

K.-Z. D .: 3,99 … Are you checking me or have you forgotten yourself?


Private bussiness

  • 1969 In the city of Swansea (Wales, UK), David Zeta, a worker in a confectionery factory, and Patricia Jones, a dressmaker, had a daughter, Katherine (there are two more sons in the family).
  • 1981 Katherine performs on stage for the first time in musical productions.
  • 1985 Moves to London to start a career as a musical theater actress; successfully debuts in the musical “42nd Street”.
  • 1990 Debuts on screen as Scheherazade in French comedy Philippe de Broca’s 1001 Nights.
  • 1991 Achieves star status in Britain after starring in the television series The Color of Spring Days; begins a serious personal relationship with director Nick Hamm, with whom he breaks up in a year.
  • 1993 TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles by Jim O’Brien; romance with Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall.
  • 1994 Zeta-Jones is announced to be engaged to actor Angus Macfadyen, but the partners separate after a year and a half.
  • 1995 “Catherine the Great” by Marvin Jay Chomsky and John Goldsmith. 1996 Mini-series “Titanic” by Robert Lieberman.
  • 1998 The Mask of Zorro by Martin Campbell; begins a personal relationship with actor Michael Douglas.
  • 2000 “Traffic” by Steven Soderbergh; the birth of a son, Dylan; marries Douglas.
  • 2003 “Oscar” for his role in “Chicago” by Rob Marshall; the birth of daughter Carys; “Unacceptable Violence” by Joel Coen.
  • 2004 “Terminal” and “Ocean’s Twelve” by Steven Soderbergh.
  • 2005 The Legend of Zorro by Martin Campbell.
  • 2007 Taste of Life by Scott Hicks; “Death Number” by Gillian Armstrong.
  • 2009 “Nanny on call” Bart Freundlich.
  • 2010 Awarded one of the honorary knighthoods of Great Britain – Dame Commander of The Order of The British Empire; for her debut on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Little Night Music, she was awarded a Tony; is preparing to star in Steven Soderbergh’s musical Cleo.

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