While Michael Douglas managed to remain optimistic, Catherine Zeta-Jones simply could not deal with the stress.
A cancer diagnosis not only breaks the patient but shatters their loved ones who simply cannot imagine the possibility of living in a world without them. The wretched disease does not spare celebrities and their families. When Michael Douglas was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Catherine Zeta-Jones was beside herself.
According to E! Online, the star's publicist said at the time that Douglas was suffering from throat cancer but later it was revealed that it was stage four tongue cancer. The Antman star received that diagnosis right before his promotional trip to Europe for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
"This was right before I had to go on a big tour for [Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps], so we kind of said there's no way we can cancel the tour and say we don't feel well. … You've got to tell them. I said, 'You've just got to come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that's that,'" he told Samuel L. Jackson on ITV's This Morning.
Even as he underwent grueling radiation and chemotherapy, the actor remained optimistic. He previously revealed that his cancer diagnosis gave him an opportunity to hone his piano skills and perfect Liberace's cadence and mannerisms for the biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Thankfully, he beat the disease in January 2011. "In every sense of the word, I'm very fortunate to be here today," he said at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies' 5th World Congress event in New York announcing the news. "We can only imagine what the next century will bring. Thank you for saving my life," he thanked the medical team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center according to Daily Mail.
While Douglas managed to remain strong by looking at the positive side of his diagnosis, his wife Zeta-Jones was not optimistic at all. She admitted to being a "mess" right after his diagnosis. After all, he was misdiagnosed "not once, not twice, but three times."
Although she remained by his side as he battled the disease, the stress ended up taking a toll on her as well. Opening up about the turmoil she went through following the diagnosis results, Zeta-Jones said, "I was a mess."
"I'll be quite frank, I was a mess. When I'm married to a man who has such a conviction for life ... he fights to make the wrongs right. For the first time he was fighting for his life," she explained to an audience of 3,000 doctors at the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies'.
"I'm very happy to be here this morning with my husband. I mean that literally. I'm very happy to be here with my husband," she added. Speaking to Telegraph's Stella Magazine, she said, "When Michael was diagnosed with cancer I really thought, 'You are going to have to wipe me off the floor.'" She noted, "When you get sideswiped like that [by Douglas’ cancer] it’s an obvious trigger for your balance to be a little bit off, not sleeping, worry, stress. It’s a classic trigger."
Thus in 2011, she checked herself into a mental health facility for her Bipolar II disorder. "After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II Disorder. She's feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films," confirmed her rep. The pair's individual struggle turned out to be a lot for them to handle and it resulted in a brief break in 2013. But 6 months later, they got back together and are now stronger than ever.
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Rich Fury