Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been married for nearly 20 years and are "stronger than ever," Douglas said in 2016. But the longtime couple's love story is one that's been kept relatively quiet. Lately, though, the duo has been sharing more about how they met and fell in love, and you just have to hear how it all happened—it's that good.
Douglas and Zeta-Jones first met in 1996 at the Deauville Film Festival, where the actor asked the Mask of Zorro actress to join him for a drink later in the evening. On this first date, conversation was flowing smoothly, until Douglas made a comment that nearly jeopardized their budding romance. "I said to her after about half an hour, 'You know, I'm going to be the father of your children,'" Douglas said on The Jonathon Ross Show. "It sounded good, and she said, 'You know, I've heard a lot about you and I've seen a lot about you, and I think it's time I say goodnight.'"
The actor sent flowers and an apology, and after long phone calls and dinner dates, the Hollywood stars announced their relationship. Their age difference caused a media scandal, but neither the actor nor the actress wanted to call it quits. "He certainly didn't want me as an ex-girlfriend on his list, and I certainly didn't want 'Michael Douglas' as an ex-boyfriend on my list," the actress told Ross King in 2016. "We looked at each other one day and said, 'We're having a lot of fun together.'"
Douglas asked Zeta-Jones to marry him on New Years Eve in 1999 with an antique Fred Leighton 10-carat diamond ring, worth an estimated $1 million. Later that year, Douglas and Zeta-Jones welcomed their son Dylan and were married shortly after at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The groom's motto for the wedding? "Whatever Catherine wants, that's what she'll get," he told Movieline Magazine a month before their nuptials. Zeta-Jones had just one request. "I just told Michael, 'No crying.' I said, 'I don't even want you to look at me until I'm halfway down the aisle,'" she told People. "He just has this look where I know that he's about to start, and that does me in."
"It's a long road, and I think people today are so quick to throw in the towel on marriage," Zeta-Jones has said to Good Housekeeping UK of her marriage. "You have to give it your best shot and not give up when the first problem arises, because that won't be the last problem." The pair will celebrate 17 years of marriage in November.