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KEEP OUT! IT'S ZETA'S HOLIDAY HIDEAWAY


11:00 - 06 August 2003

It may look like a dreamy holiday retreat, but in reality the new home of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones is a bullet-proof fortress designed to protect them from stalkers. The couple decided to build a new £1million home, having become fed up staying in hotels while visiting Catherine's relatives and friends in Swansea.

But, spurred on by fears that they and their children, Dylan and Carys, could be a soft target for intruders, they have built a 6ft-high fence around their property.

Electric gates and CCTV cameras all send the clear message to trespassers to keep out. And windows made of bulletproof glass, shipped all the way from America, add to the impression that this is not so much a holiday retreat, as a impenetrable fortress.

The property with its stunning views of the Gower peninsula's coastline and beaches should be ready within the next few months.

Over the weekend the couple flew in to oversee the progress on the property in the Mumbles area of Swansea. But even with extensive security measures in place, they are concerned about their privacy.

A public footpath looks right onto the back of the house and the fence is not enough to keep prying eyes from looking in. Now enormous conifers are being planted to ensure ramblers cannot spy on the celebrities.

Rumours had surfaced that the couple would take the local council to court in a bid to close off the path, which runs along the end of their garden.

But the celebrity couple, who recently attracted a storm of bad publicity for taking Hello! magazine to court over unauthorised pictures of their November 2000 wedding, have chosen a less confrontational solution to their privacy problem.

The Ramblers' Association had expressed fears that permission would be sought to re-route the right of way, but developers have assured them that no such attempt will be made.

A source close to the Oscar-winning beauty reportedly said: "She wanted to contest the matter legally, but has been advised it wouldn't do her image any good. She's getting the conifers put up as quickly as possible."

The couple took urgent steps to boost security after walkers using the path stumbled across the home.

One rambler, Mike Thomas, 38, said: "I couldn't believe it when I walked up the path and saw Zeta Jones's house right in front of me.

"There are two other properties either side, but I could see right into the building site."

Catherine's parents are expected to move into the three-storey mansion once it is complete. She and her movie star husband have homes in New York, Los Angeles and Bermuda.

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