The actor sat down for a Paley Center panel in New York City on Thursday night to reflect on his long career in Hollywood and his life for the past 50 years. Zeta-Jones also attended the event in support of Douglas, where he said he hoped to be a remembered as a “good husband” and recalled the forward remark he made to her the night they met.
“I looked at her, and I said, ‘Catherine, I’m going to be the father of your children,'” Douglas said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The first time I met her! You think that went over big?”
Douglas, 74, and Zeta-Jones, 49, met at the 1998 Deauville Film Festival in France. The couple got engaged the next December and tied the knot in November 2000, three months after welcoming son Dylan, now 19, in August. They later welcomed daughter Carys, now 16, in April 2003.
“If you’re not careful, you don’t really cherish that moment or that time and next thing you wake up and its 50 years later and you go, ‘Whoah what happened?'” Douglas said in the conversation. “I wish I’d kept a diary a little more as a sense of a reminder. But I think you just rush along and when you reach an age where your life slows down it’s too late.”
Speaking to Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on the Today show, Zeta-Jones said her nearly 20-year marriage to Douglas had lasted as long as it has simply due to their honesty with each other.
“Both Michael and I have a very open relationship,” she said. “When you have kids that didn’t ask to be born into a world where [the marriage is] scrutinized or looked into,” she continued. “You’ve got to be open and honest and share things that probably people at the drug store wouldn’t share over the counter.”
Still, the Welsh actress says it hasn’t always been roses and chocolate boxes.
“First of all, I’m so happy that we’ve made it to be 20 years together. It’s been great,” she said. “But I think it’s just unfathomable to me that you would be with one person for 18 years and things are not rosy every day. You know? They’re just not.”