Highly talented Welsh-born actress Catherine Zeta-Jones established herself as a Hollywood leading lady with roles in blockbuster films such as The Mask of Zorro (1998), Entrapment (1999), and Traffic (2000). The Hollywood screen diva put up an Academy and BAFTA Award-winning performance in the highly-acclaimed 2000 musical movie Chicago followed by roles in Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and also, in the 2009 Broadway production of A Little Night Music for which she won a Tony Award.
In addition to her brilliant career as a screen and stage actress, Zeta-Jones also forms one half of a Hollywood power couple, the other half being two-time Academy-Award winning actor-producer Michael Douglas.
Ethnicity, Early Life, and Rise to Fame
Catherine Zeta-Jones was born on September 25, 1969, in Swansea, Wales, UK. She is of Welsh and Irish Catholic heritage respectively from her father and mother’s side. Her mother Patricia (née Fair) worked as a dressmaker and her father David Jones was into manufacturing. Catherine’s name was derived from those of her grandmothers Zeta-Jones and Catherine Fair.
Raised in the Welsh seaside town of Mumbles alongside 2 siblings – an older brother David and a younger brother Lyndon; theirs was originally a middle-class family. However, their fortunes changed when they won a whopping £100,000 in a bingo competition.
Growing up, Zeta-Jones was a rather hyperactive kid and as a result, her mother enrolled her at the Hazel Johnson School of Dance at the age of 4. She also schooled at the Dumbarton House School. Right from an early age, Zeta-Jones showed signs that she was destined to be a star via top-notch performances in school plays. The youngster was thrown into the spotlight in her locality when she won a Junior Star Trail talent competition for her recital of a song by iconic Welsh songstress Shirley Bassey. As a young teenager, Zeta-Jones gained much wider media attention when she won a national tap-dancing competition.
In 1981, she played the titular character in a stage production of the musical Annie at the Swansea Grand Theatre. The talented actress was equally the lead star in a 1983 production of the musical comedy Bugsy Malone staged at the West End Theatre. A rather brave teenager, Zeta-Jones was yet to complete her O-levels when she quit school at the age of 15 and relocated to London to pursue a full-time career in acting. While her career as a stage actress flourished, Zeta-Jones enrolled for a 3-year course in musical theatre at the Arts Educational School in Chiswick, London.
Having proved her worth on stage, Catherine Zeta-Jones made her screen debut in the 1990 French-Italian fantasy film 1001 Nights, however, the film received very little acclaim. The talented actress had more luck on the small screen when she was featured in the British comedy-drama series The Darling Buds of May from 1991 to 1993. The series had the highest TV ratings in the country at that time and thus elevated the actress to a higher level of prominence. Unfortunately, with the acting roles that came her way, the actress soon found herself typecast as a sex symbol, and being uncomfortable with the situation, she moved from London to Los Angeles hoping to get “a fresh start”. That relocation would probably go down as one of the best decisions Zeta-Jones has ever made as it changed the trajectory of her career for the better.
Catherine Zeta-Jones marked her Hollywood debut in the 1996 superhero film The Phantom followed by a role as Isabelle Paradine in the TV miniseries Titanic (1996). Her role in the latter earned her the attention of iconic Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg who in turn suggested her to Martin Campbell, the director of 1998’s The Mask of Zorro. Consequently, Zeta-Jones’ highly-acclaimed portrayal of Elena Montero, the female lead character in the box-office hit – The Mask of Zorro – was all she needed to shoot to Hollywood stardom and as they say, the rest is history.
From one blockbuster to the other, the talented actress has proved to be a serial box-office star in her illustrious long-running acting career. In addition to an Oscar, a BAFTA, 3 SAG Awards and a Tony Award, Catherine Zeta-Jones was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2010.
Over the years, Catherine Zeta-Jones has proved to be one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading ladies. The highly talented actress has had her fair share of blockbuster films and has also enjoyed some of the most lucrative endorsement deals in Hollywood history.
Zeta-Jones was named the highest-earning celebrity endorser of 2002, thanks to her multi-million dollar deals with Elizabeth Arden Inc. and T-Mobile. She also delved into entrepreneurship in 2017 with the launch of her own collection of home decor products. All these and several other ventures bring the net worth of the Oscar-winning Hollywood star to an estimated $45 million.
Who Is Catherine Zeta-Jones Husband – Michael Douglas?
Catherine Zeta-Jones is married to actor, producer, and fellow A-lister Michael Douglas. Despite the 25-year age gap between them, this Hollywood power couple remains a sterling example. The duo met in August 1998 through a mutual friend at the Deauville Film Festival in France. Their love story progressed rather quickly as they got engaged in December 1999 and eventually tied the knot on November 18, 2000.
Theirs was a lavish wedding ceremony held at the Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel with an estimated £1.5 million budget. It was declared “wedding of the year” by the BBC.
Catherine Zeta-Jones has 2 children with her husband Michael Douglas. The couple welcomed their first child on August 8, 2000; a son they named Dylan Michael Douglas. Their second child Carys Zeta Douglas was born on April 20, 2003.
Born to two Hollywood A-listers, the Catherine-Douglas kids are indeed bonafide Hollywood royalty. However, they have been shielded as much as possible from the media. They were raised in the British Island territory of Bermuda until 2009 when the family relocated to New York.