This should be the week for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones: yesterday, husband and wife jointly celebrated significant birthdays, with Michael reaching the age of 75 and the always youthful Catherine turning 50.
You'd expect an excuse for a big Hollywood party – but the reality is just the opposite. Last week, Michael even admitted that he and Catherine wanted to & # 39; hide & # 39; instead of publicly celebrating.
Indeed, instead of enjoying the attention that a big bash would bring – they spent their birthdays playing a quiet game of golf – both seem to make an inventory of their lives.
Michael Douglas, pictured with his wife Catherine Zita Jones, wants to sell part of their real estate portfolio with three beautiful properties worth an estimated £ 46 million
Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones want to sell their New York Mansion, pictured for £ 12 million
Their Mallorcan palace, pictured, is also for sale for £ 26 million
In keeping with this mood, and with a clearly rocky period in their marriage, including an unofficial divorce behind them, they seem to be trying to make a very new start – starting with an all-powerful real estate sale that gives them a huge £ 46.5 million. could yield. Their spectacular country house in the state of New York – the main family home for Michael, Catherine and their two children Dylan, 19 and Carys, 16 – has been sold for a whopping £ 12 million, while two more of their generous homes, in Bermuda and Mallorca, are on the market for £ 8.5 million and £ 26 million respectively.
It is quite a potential windfall – understandably tempting to make money, even for Michael, who is worth an estimated £ 120 million.
But, apart from finances, is there anything more behind the great downsize of Douglas?
While Catherine's publicist, Cece Yorke, is rather opaque about the reasons for the dramatic sale – just saying: & # 39; everything is good. They just sell part of their investments – Michael & # 39; s spokesperson, Allen Burry, is much enlightening.
He said: "Michael loves their qualities, but the responsibility and expenses at the moment don't seem to make much sense.
"When the children were younger, they visited more often. Now everyone wants to do their own thing. It just made more sense, while property prices are positive for contraction. & # 39;
He added: & # 39; The children have grown up and one is already in college and the other will follow next year. & # 39;
Dylan was sent to school by his emotional parents last year and the couple is preparing for Carys to also leave the nest.
The feeling of turmoil is so deep that the couple will not mark their historic birthdays, as Michael himself admitted last week.
"This is a big one, but because we are moving in the middle of the house, our children are leaving and all that, we take a little break. We started planning a big bang and then realized that it was just overwhelming and we could do it another time. & # 39;
The couple also wants to sell their resort in Bermuda for around £ 8.5 million
He continued: "So we're just going to be quiet. We have some friends who share the same birthday and we go to one of their parties and hide. & # 39;
The new, quieter Douglases have & # 39; just & # 39; their beautiful apartment in New York overlooking Central Park, their ski hut in Mont Tremblant, Canada – and, replacing their former £ 12 million mansion, a new smaller house in Westchester, New York, bought this month for a relative number of £ 3.64 million.
Although their new home is far from thin, with eight bedrooms and ten bathrooms, it is not a patch of their old royal Westchester home, which had eight bedrooms and 18 bathrooms.
Sitting on 15 acres, it also had stables for horses and Catherine & # 39; s own "she shed", complete with sewing machine and dance bar.
In recent years, Catherine – a passionate amateur interior decorator – with enthusiastic Instagram photos of his beautiful gardens and lush interiors. . . dark wood everywhere and piles of white roses. There was even a chandelier above the garden dining table, so the decor was luxurious. Famous neighbors were Richard Gere and Ralph Lauren.
The houses of Michael and Catherine under the hammer
THE NEW YORK MANSION: Bought for £ 9 million in 2014, the palace-like home in Westchester, New York State, is sold for £ 12 million. Built in 1895 it has eight bedrooms and 18 bathrooms, and is set in 15 acres. Features include a chef & # 39; s kitchen, spa with two indoor swimming pools, a gym, a sauna and a steam room.
THE BERMUDA RETREAT: On the market for £ 8.5 million, this has eight bedrooms plus a guest apartment, a caretaker's house and staff. It is set on three hectares, including a herb garden, an orchard, a swimming pool and a tennis court.
THE MALLORCAN PALACE: For sale for £ 26 million, it was purchased by Michael with first wife Diandra in 1990. Many stars, including Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise, have stayed here. Built in the 1860s, it covers 250 hectares and has seven separate buildings. There is a gym, a spa, an artist's studio, a cinema, a wine cellar, a library and a marble-lined swimming pool. The estate has its own vineyard and a pier.
Local real estate agent Angela Kessel confirms that an off-market offer on the house has been accepted without being offered for sale.
She said: "I know [the Douglases] loved it here. It was not a holiday home, their children went to school here and they were a part of the daily community.
"I live a few doors down and would see Catherine at the nail bar or hair salon and Michael and Catherine with the kids.
"But people do want to shrink or increase when they enter a new phase in their family life."
The Mallorcan house is, if anything, even decadent – it extends over 250 hectares and consists of seven separate buildings, it has its own artist's studio and vineyard. And in Bermuda, with all the usual luxury holiday necessities, the children have their own stay with their own kitchen and dining area.
These sales are undoubtedly an example of Michael & # 39; s insight. The three houses for sale cost him a total of only £ 13 million, so he is about to make a huge profit.
His fortune is not only based on his success as an actor, but through smart business deals and an eye on things. Michael often asks to keep the suits he wears in films and has said that land, and the views from it, are his idea of luxury.
Professionally Michael remains very busy, but has had serious health problems, surviving oral cancer, which was discovered in stage IV, with a tumor at the base of his tongue, in 2010. After eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, he stated that he was in remission in January 2011.
The joy over his recovery, however, was undoubtedly tempered by the fact that Michael later stated that his cancer was caused by oral sex. Catherine found the suggestion humiliating and it aggravated problems in their marriage.
They met in 1998, when Michael was the bigger star, and two years later married shortly before they had their son Dylan. Catherine won her Oscar for Chicago in 2003 and had daughter Carys not long afterwards. Douglas took a career break and said he was happy to stay home and make pancakes with the kids. He said Catherine was "in the prime of her career" and that there was something to offer.
In an interview last year, Carys said: "I thought my father was a pancake maker. I didn't know he was an actor. Honest. & # 39;
The young family is rooted in Bermuda, where Michael has family ties. Catherine had completely renovated their home but apparently found island life boring. When she traveled for work, this inevitably led to divorces.
She enjoyed boozy trips with Brad Pitt and George Clooney on the 2004 Ocean & Twelve film set, and in 2007 there was a very public flirt with co-star Aaron Eckhart, without reservations, when the two held onto the red carpet . Douglas was apparently & # 39; furious & # 39 ;. One source said they could hardly bear to be together. When they are in the same room, it usually changes to a blazing row & # 39 ;.
In a later interview, Michael said that he and Catherine no longer slept together. Everyone assumed it was a joke.
To complete the challenges, her career got into a recession and Michael & # 39; s son Cameron – through his first marriage to Diandra – was imprisoned for drug offenses.
Then Michael came the diagnosis of cancer, and what Catherine regarded as a public disgrace.
In 2013, she struggled to find a hit movie and to be checked in at the hospital with a bipolar II disorder, with serial depression followed by manic highs.
Their marriage was rebuilt – without a cracker for the lawyers to chew. Their giant house in Westchester was purchased as part of their new beginnings.
"I am very blessed," Catherine said in 2017. "I have a man who listens to me and I am a woman who listens to him. That is why – although every marriage goes through ups and downs – we have come to a place where we could not be better. & # 39;
Michael has thought about how he and Catherine will enjoy marriage together in the future.
He said, "We're kidding when I'm 80 and she drives me around and I say," Whoa, where are we going? "And she will say:" Cartier dear, Cartier. It is your favorite store. & # 39;
Their Manhattan apartment will at least never be far from a Cartier boutique.
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