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Catherine Zeta-Jones: Kissing Brad Pitt

by Audrey Watson

30 January 2005

Shooting love scenes with Brad Pitt would I imagine, be most women's idea of a dream job. But, for Catherine Zeta-Jones kissing one of the world's most beautiful men, was no thrill at all.

"It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it," laughs the 35-year-old, Swansea-born actress.

"You just pop a mint and get on with it. But, I'm well aware that I'll be hated by women around the world for having to kiss this guy."

Zeta-Jones is talking about her role opposite Pitt in Ocean's Twelve, follow-up to 2002's super cool Ocean's Eleven, in which she plays Interpol agent Isabel, former squeeze of Rusty (Pitt), who has now been assigned to catch Danny Ocean's (George Clooney) gang of thieves.

But, unlike Angelina Jolie (Brad's co-star in the forthcoming Mr and Mrs Smith), Catherine hasn't had to endure any rumours of off-screen canoodling with the world's most beautiful man, as she is, after all, married to Michael Douglas, one of the kings of Tinseltown.

"Talking to my husband was an hilarious experience during filming," said the Oscar-winning mum-of-two.

"In the morning, Michael would say to me, 'What are you doing today, honey?' And I'd say, 'Oh, I'm kissing Brad Pitt on a bridge'.

"The next day he'd ask and I'd say, 'Today, honey, I'm kissing Brad Pitt in a car'. And the next day, it would be an alley, on a boat… it got to be a standing joke between us."

Catherine Zeta-Jones is the girl next door, whose dreams came true.

She's now one of Hollywood's most sought-after actresses, has got a wealthy and powerful husband and two beautiful children, son Dylan, four, and daughter, Carys, almost two.

And, unlike some actresses, Catherine wasn't worried in the slightest about the effect of motherhood on her career.

"I'm finding motherhood more beautiful and satisfying than I could have imagined, but like every other working mum, I'm trying to juggle family life and my job.

"I wasn't worried about how children would affect my career. I've been in this business for a long time, and I had had enough success not to worry about how being a mum would affect things.

"Having children has put my life in perspective, but I still love my work and I'm still as critical of myself as ever, but at the end of the day, I go home to my husband and our babies.

"They are now a part of my life that I couldn't imagine not having."

Family has always been important to Zeta-Jones. She's incredibly close to her mum Pat and dad Dai, who still live in the Swansea suburb of Mumbles, where Catherine grew up (she and Michael are in the middle of building a house in the area), and she runs a production company with her brothers David (37), and Lyndon (34).

Growing up, she was always determined to succeed.

At five, she was acting in local productions. By 15, she was touring with musicals. At 17, she was plucked from the chorus of West End production 42nd Street to step into the star part, after the leading actress fell ill. And by 22, she was a household name, thanks to her role as Mariette Larkin in The Darling Buds of May.

Four years later, she got her big break, when Steven Spielberg spotted her on TV and cast her in The Mask of Zorro.

She met hubby Michael at the Deauville Film Festival in France, in 1998, Two years later, a few months after the birth of Dylan, they were married in a star-studded ceremony, in the Plaza Hotel, in New York.

"It's a beautiful feeling to be building a family with a man like Michael," she says of her marriage.

"When you enter a relationship or a marriage, you never know how things will turn out, but with Michael, marriage has been everything I've ever dreamed of.

"Our relationship has grown stronger and deeper over time."

So what was it like being the new girl in the Clooney gang?

"The practical jokes were non stop and hilarious. Brad circulated a memo to the crew, pretending it was from George. It ordered everyone to address him as Mr Ocean, and not to make eye contact.

"George got his own back by putting a sticker on the passenger door of Brad's car saying, 'I'm gay and I vote'. Brad drove around for days before he realised.

"I was lucky, I escaped. But, apparently some of the pranks can take three years to come to fruition - I've known George for two, so I'll be sweating it out for another one."

Next up for the actress is the sequel to The Mask of Zorro (The Legend of Zorro), and she's also signed to front the film version of The Ivy Chronicles, about exclusive kindergarten 'fixers' for wealthy American parents.

Despite her massive success, Zeta-Jones hasn't escaped any of the insecurities that stem from constantly being in the public eye.

"I'm still intimidated every time I step onto a movie set. I'm a regular woman, so I'm always worried about how I look.

"I'm always asking Michael if my bum is too big."

› Ocean's 12 opens on February 4.

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