London: Michael Douglas has claimed that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones broke down under the stress of his cancer battle because of her British stiff upper lip.
Douglas, 66, said his wife’s Welsh background meant that she bottled everything up, and was overcome with emotion when he was given the all clear.
Zeta-Jones, 41, was admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic for five days earlier this month where she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder brought on by the strain.
Speaking on the Oprah Winfrey show Douglas agreed that his health problems had “exacerbated” Zeta-Jones’ plight.
“When you’ve got cancer you’ve got to take care of business. They tell you, you have seven weeks of chemo, radiation, you kind of dive in and do it,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“I’m the kind of person when they’re sick, I just curl up, I don’t like a lot of fuss and no attention. I just like to get on with it. So I got on with it.
“I think that part of Catherine’s whole background, she’s Welsh and the Welsh it’s all stiff upper lip, not let your feelings show,” he said.
Douglas said that the last 18 months had been “harrowing” and he had suffered a string of personal disasters that put pressure on his wife.
“In my last year and a half my oldest son is in federal prison, my ex-wife is suing me, and I got cancer. It’s kind of hard for the wife to say, ‘I’m depressed’,” he said.
“You’re depressed, huh? How about some cancer, you want to get depressed?
“That played a big part of it, she’s got to be stoic and deal with all the stuff I’m going through. Probably the time I’m off the hook you finally relax,” he added.