When the news broke that 66-year-old Michael Douglaswas suffering from throat cancer, it seemed impossible that the youthful actor with a line in strong, cocky movie characters could be brought to his knees by anything. But as the chemotherapy treatment started to take its toll, and Michael dropped 12 kilos, leaving him looking gaunt and increasingly frail, the Oscar winner and his wife of 10 years, Catherine Zeta Joneswere forced to start planning for all eventualities.
Ahlan! reveals their private grief behind their strong public façade...
‘He Is Desperately Weak’
With one more treatment to go before he reaches the end of his painful course of chemotherapy, Michael’s weight has plummeted as he finds it excruciating to eat. And his 12 kilos weight loss has been attributed to his refusal to use a feeding tube.
“[Michael] was determined not to have a feeding tube, and he didn’t have to have one,” insisted his long-time pal, Allen Burry.
But his frail appearance has at times, seen Michael closely resemble his ailing father Kirk – “The likeness is uncanny, which is a desperate shame as Kirk is 93,” spilled an industry source. “Michael is gaunt and fading fast,” added another source. “He is desperately weak from the chemo, but you can see in his eyes that he’s fighting this.”
Catherine’s Anger At Docs
Having publicly blasted the doctors who failed to detect her husband’s tumour, raging back in August, “It makes me furious they didn’t detect it earlier. He sought every option and nothing was found” – Catherine is still feeling resentment towards the highly paid professionals the family turned to.
“Anger is a classic reaction when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer,” spilled an insider. “And Catherine is no different. She railed against the medics who turned him away time and time again saying nothing is wrong. Now, it’s up to Michael to be the calm, relaxed one.”
“I know maybe I should be stronger, but emotionally I just don’t want to see that,” she revealed. “The hardest part is seeing his fatigue, because Michael is never tired.”
And the actor has publicly insisted he holds no grudge – “These things sometimes just don’t show up.”
‘20 Per Cent’ Chance
Although publicly, the chances of the two-time Oscar winner’s survival has been put as high as 80 per cent, in private there have been whispers that it could be as low as just 20 per cent.
“It is much more like 20 per cent,” said New York specialist Dr Eric Braverman. “He is likely to be depressed and tired. It is very possible he could die.” And Michael admits that his career no longer comes first, revealing, “I’m not driven like I once was.”
Hoping for the best… preparing for the worst
After a close friend told UK newspaper the Daily Express, “It’s not looking good now,” the previously optimistic actor is said to have started making plans for the worst with Catherine.
The actress, who was in Wales last week for a Ryder Cup event, cut short her trip to rush back to New York, with an insider spilling, “They have had to face up to the fact that things might take a turn for the worst. It’s a sad fact to have to face up to, but cancer can come back, and they are more than aware of this.”
But Michael is also keen to plan things for after his treatment ends to have something to look forward to, with a round-the-world trip in mind for the whole family.
“Once we’re through this, Catherine and I are talking about taking the kids out of school for a year and travelling around the world – Phuket and Vietnam; we’d love to take the family down to New Zealand and spend some time in South Africa,” he told The Guardian. “We’re still trying to figure out what age you can get away with taking the kids away from their friends and not have them hate you for it.”