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Mike likes support role

TAORMINA, Italy Chatting casually over an espresso, Michael Douglas is relaxing at this little film festival in Sicily.

The idyllic spot is a long way from Dawnette Knight, who claimed to have had an affair with Douglas and allegedly harassed his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, with threatening phone calls and letters.

Knight who was arrested earlier this month is due back in a California court next week and faces 19 years in prison.

"The stalker is part of life," Douglas shrugs.

"We can't talk about the case for legal reasons. But certainly I was well-equipped to deal with it. That's one of the advantages of being second generation Hollywood.

"And Catherine started out so young, starring in a West End show at 15, 16, then getting creamed after 'The Darling Buds of May' to a point when she really had to leave the UK. So, we've always made our points in terms of setting boundaries."

One reason for his mellow mood is that, for once, Douglas, at 58, has no new film to push. "People go different ways around my point in life," he says. "Either you've got so many marriages behind you that you have to work your a off, just to keep your nut going. Or you're kind of happy, and you can pick and choose. If you're going to have kids at my age, the only reason to do it is to enjoy it. I'm having a ball with them, and being around for Catherine."

The couple has two children son Dylan, 3, and 1-year-old daughter Carys.

Douglas denies recent rumors that they are trying for another baby.

"Sometimes Catherine says she'd like three children, but then I point out her very handsome 25-year-old stepson. Look, women's careers are pretty finite.

She's 34 and she wants to get busy, do some pictures. And I support that."

In between promoting "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks, and preparing for a sequel to "The Mask of Zorro," Zeta-Jones is in Rome working on "Ocean's Twelve," the sequel to the 2001 hit caper flick "Ocean's Eleven."

"My wife and Brad Pitt have been kissing their way all through Roma for two weeks now," sighs Douglas, who's famed himself for getting hot and heavy in films like "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct."

Douglas and Zeta-Jones both appeared in "Traffic," but never shared a scene. And they have no immediate joint projects.

"I don't think audiences get excited about husbands and wives doing romantic scenes together," he says. "They're like, 'Hell, they're going home tonight and doing it.'"

Originally published on June 24, 2004

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