Belfast Telegraph

Michael doesn’t deserve such jibes

By Gail Walker

Somewhere along the line some people just took against Michael Douglas. Maybe he had too much: movie star, Oscar winner, vast wealth, world at his feet.

Then, to cap it all, he scooped Catherine Zeta Jones, 25 years his junior.

Dirty old man and fortune-seeking starlet? Nope. There wasn’t even that to ease the envy of onlookers. Instead it’s a marriage that’s lasted 10 years, produced two children and more or less seen the grinning Douglas enter semi-retirement as he supported his wife’s blossoming career.

All of which would be amusing, if it wasn’t for the nasty turn that the announcement of Douglas’s cancer battle has prompted in some recent coverage.

Cruelly, there have been dark mutterings that Douglas has actually played down the seriousness of his condition, even while he was so forthright in telling the world all about it in the first place.

After all, with a blockbuster sequel to Wall Street to be promoted, the star rightly guessed his absence would be noted — and his many fans across the globe would be nonplussed.

Paparazzi photos showing him gaunt and haggard have been used as evidence that Douglas is much more ill than first thought. The obvious comment that anyone with any form of cancer is entitled to look drawn and exhausted isn’t worth making. Time will tell.

As it is, he has behaved impeccably, like the major movie star of old Russian stock that he is. His wife, too, has kept her dignity through what must be a horrendous ordeal.

Let’s stop gawping and gossiping and just wish both of them well.

Belfast Telegraph

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