April 26th, 2011
11:19 AM ET
Catherine Zeta-Jones has been helping husband Michael Douglas shoulder a lot within the past year, not the least of which being his battle to beat stage 4 throat cancer, the Oscar-winning actor told Oprah Winfrey on her show Tuesday.
But a few months after Douglas revealed that he'd won his fight with cancer, Zeta-Jones came forward and confirmed that she'd sought treatment for bipolar II disorder. Her rep told CNN in a statement, “After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her bipolar II disorder."
Indeed, dealing with a health problem of that magnitude is "very hard [on] the spouse," Douglas told Winfrey. And on top of that, he went on, "My son’s in federal prison, my ex-wife is suing me...it’s kind of hard for the wife to say that she’s depressed."
According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar II disorder is less severe than bipolar I disorder, and causes irritability and mood swings occurring as often as several times a day, or as seldom as a few times a year. Douglas told Winfrey that he wasn't aware of what his wife was struggling with.
Just as Douglas approached his cancer treatment with a "take care of business" attitude, not wanting "a lot of fuss and attention," he says Zeta-Jones reacted similarly. "She’s Welsh," he explained. "The Welsh, it’s all stiff upper lip and not letting your feelings show."
Nonetheless, the reality was that Douglas was diving head first into treatment. "That probably played a big part of it," he said. "She’s gotta be stoic and deal with all this stuff I’m going through." Now that he's cancer-free - the actor recently went for a check-up and was in the clear - she's been able to "relax," he said.
The 66-year-old star added that he's proud of his wife, who's doing well. "She’s great, she’s shooting a movie down in Louisiana, and I think she’s relieved that she has a better understanding [of bipolar II]," Douglas said.
In light of the issues his family has faced, Douglas added that he's moving on from the experience a changed man.
"I know that I’m much, much closer to my friends and family," he said, choking up a bit. "I have a much deeper appreciation of family and friends."
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