USA TODAY International Edition

There’s a chance split won’t last

Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta- Jones separate, but they could be going through a “breakup to make up.”

- By Maria Puente, Olivia Barker and Andrea Mandell

When a celebrity marriage goes wrong, the reasons may be peculiar to the couple, but the rest of us get to see the strewn wreckage — and worry about what it says about our culture.

And when a seemingly solid celebrity marriage could be headed for divorce, after weathering trauma and life- threatenin­g illness, it sends a shiver of unease down the backs of scores of non- celebrity couples faced with their own pressures.

All this comes up on the news Wednesday that Michael Douglas, 68, and Catherine Zeta- Jones, 43, are separating. Zeta- Jones’ publicist, Cece Yorke, and Douglas’ publicist, Allen Burry, confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement that the two “are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage. There will be no further comment.”

The couple have weathered major medical setbacks in recent years: He battled throat cancer, she struggles with bipolar disorder. Plus, there’s the 25- year age difference and the drug- conviction prison sentence for Douglas’ son from his first marriage.

Still, they have two kids together and they have been married for 13 years, which is pretty good for a Hollywood marriage. Why couldn’t they stay together? And if they can’t, who can?

Looking on the most hopeful side first, maybe this is not as depressing as it first sounds.

“I call it a breakup to make up,” says New York psychother­apist Bonnie Eaker Weil, author of Make Up,

Don’t Break Up. “The fact that they didn’t file for divorce yet shows they know they need to take a breather.”

Taking some time apart is a good move, she says, and maybe the separation “could be just the beginning” — a new beginning — of a stronger union.

All may not be lost, agrees Bonnie Fuller, editor- in- chief of Hollwood

 ?? PAUL BUCK, EPA ??
PAUL BUCK, EPA
 ?? JOE KLAMAR, AFP/ GETTY IMAGES ?? Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta- Jones are separating after 13 years of marriage.
JOE KLAMAR, AFP/ GETTY IMAGES Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta- Jones are separating after 13 years of marriage.

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