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When Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas first got together, there were more than a few observers who predicted an early demise. Between the twenty-five-year age gap and hectic, Hollywood A-list schedules, there were a lot of details to be skeptical about, but over the last thirteen years, the collective cynicism mostly faded away. The two might not have been the ideal on paper, but there was something about their partnership that just worked. Eventually, they had two adorable children and seemed genuinely supportive. Unfortunately, some recent personal problems related to his cancer diagnosis and her bipolar disorder have caused a strain in the relationship, and they’re now taking some time apart.

Here’s the official statement their publicist gave to E! News
"Catherine and Michael are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage."

I like the working on part of this statement a whole lot better than the evaluating part. Because if they’re evaluating it, that makes it seem like they’ve taken a step back and are weighing their options on whether or not to stay together. If they’re working on the marriage, however, they could still be reaching out to each other and trying to figure out ways to make it work. Either way, their relationship doesn’t exactly seem like it’s in great shape.

On the one hand, these recent problems conjure up all the initial reasons why everyone was so skeptical in the first place. A few years here or there isn’t really a big day once you graduate from college, but twenty-five years makes it really hard to be on the same page. She’s forty-three right now, which means she’s solidly inside middle age. He’s sixty-eight-years-old, which means he qualifies for social security. From energy levels to interests to cultural touchstones, it’s really hard to get on the same page when there’s that much of a gap. So, maybe, we really shouldn’t be shocked by this split at all. Besides, it’s Hollywoood, and it’s really hard to make a lasting relationship work in Hollywood.

On the other hand, these two did make their relationship work for thirteen years, and unlike a majority of their actor peers, they managed to mostly stay out of the papers. Those closest to the couple were genuinely convinced they’d make it over the long haul, and by all accounts, they’ve done very well raising two children. There’s no way they could have seen battles with cancer and battles with bipolar disorder coming, and that stress would have negatively affected any relationship.

What do you think? Are you surprised by these two taking some time apart?

Are You Surprised?

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