Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been through a tremendous amount of emotional turmoil and challenge during their 13-year marriage. Douglas and Zeta-Jones have simply separated themselves physically, referring to the change in status merely as a “break.” Douglas is living in Sardinia, and Zeta-Jones has remained in their $4-million home in New York with their children. While tabloids report that Zeta-Jones is working on a $300-million divorce settlement, this rumor has not been confirmed by the actor and actresses representatives.
The turmoil these two have endured, however, includes a 10-year prison sentence for Douglas’ son on drug-related charges from 2010 that initially involved only a 5-year sentence until the Douglas’ son was caught with drugs in prison. Zeta-Jones revealed to the public in 2011 that she is bi-polar and entered a mental health facility this past June. And throughout everything, Douglas himself has been battling (and winning that battle) throat cancer that he admits evolved from the HPV which he contracted through oral sex.
In 2011, the actress explained that bi-polar II is “a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them.” She added, “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
Bi-polar II is characterized as manic-depressive behavior accompanied by cycles of depression. Compared to bi-polar I, however, the manic cycles of bi-polar II do not reach a level of mania that can fully qualify them as “manic,” but instead are referred to as “hypomanic.” Symptoms of a hypomanic phase can include bolting quickly from one idea to the next, very loud and fast-talking speech, an unnatural level of energy and disinterest in normal sleep patterns.
WebMD adds, “People experiencing hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the ‘life of the party’– making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood.” While to some that might seem amusing or enjoyable, it is likely part of a larger self-destructive phase in that person’s life.
It’s important to note that people diagnosed with bi-polar disorder are not always on an “up” or “down” cycle–between cycles their mental stability can be very normal.
A friend of the actress explained that even the simple things” became overwhelming for Zeta-Jones, such as going out for a meal. “There was just a little piece of her chipped away. It was hard to watch because I knew how hard she was trying.”
But Zeta-Jones is not alone as a celebrity in her challenges with bi-polar disorder. Others include “Gone with the Wind’s” Vivien Leigh, “Star Wars” princess Carrie Fisher, kick-boxing martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme, “Terminator 2” heroin Linda Hamilton, singer Sinead O’Connor, and many historical greats such as Vincent van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, and more.
Living with bi-polar disorder certainly doesn’t mean a life of doom–as these successful actors, performers, artists and writers have proven–but it can’t be denied that it can strain an already stressful marriage.
Written by: Ginger Vieira