FIRST the mocking weekend headlines read "facial attraction", amid rumours Michael Douglas has had a facelift.
Then rumours surfaced about an alleged tummy-tuck.
Now, it seems, the knives are really out for Catherine Zeta-Jones's film star husband - wielded by the national press.
PR guru Max Clifford said it had come as no surprise.
"I don't think either of them endeared themselves to the press because of their court case," he said, referring to their 2003 court battle with Hello! magazine.
"They came across as precious so I would have thought the media will take any chance it gets to poke a bit of fun at them."
Clifford's comments came after pictures emerged on Friday apparently showing the aging actor with a plaster stuck next to his left ear and a weeping wound by his right one while holidaying in Barbados.
Some reports have suggested these are the tell-tale signs of a facelift.
And reports in yesterday's papers suggested he had either undergone a radical diet and exercise regime or had plastic surgery on his stomach.
Rumours the 60-year-old Basic Instinct actor has undergone cosmetic surgery first surfaced five years ago when it was reported he had a face and eye lift prior to his wedding to Swansea-born ZetaJones, 25 years his junior.
Clifford last night revealed he would have handled the press differently had the couple been his clients.
"I would certainly have made sure he was out of the way for some time so that, hopefully, nobody realised this had happened and it looked like he was naturally young-looking," he said.
"I don't think it's been a good PR exercise.
"There's still a strong body of opinion that says make the most of what you've got. A lot of people don't find that appealing and a lot of men will not warm too much to such a man who will go to such lengths to roll back the years."
In 2003 the celebrity couple won a partial victory in their case against Hello! magazine.
The Hollywood couple sued the celebrity magazine for publishing unauthorised photos of their wedding day, after they had sold exclusive rights to rival OK!
Damages were awarded to the pair on the issue of commercial confidentiality but their contentious privacy fight was lost.
Meanwhile former Big Brother contestant Lisa Jeynes, of Penarth, who was at the receiving end of some particularly vitriolic tabloid coverage in 2003, said she had every sympathy with the Hollywood couple.
"I really feel for him and it's harder still for the family and friends," she said.
"All I would say is that Catherine's parents could be reading these stories and I'd tell them to ignore it - Michael Douglas looks amazing and good on him."
During her time on the reality TV show Lisa was vilified for her supposedly big nose - a subject she was particularly sensitive about - and also dogged by unfounded rumours that she was a man.
"It was absolutely heartbreaking," she said.
"I came out of the house and people were holding up placards that read, 'Are you really a man?' and 'Ditch the beaky!'
"With reference to my nose, I had always hated it.
"But I had lived with it for 30 years or so, so if it was that big an issue I would have had it done."
As a result of the tabloid barbs Lisa has since had televised cosmetic surgery on her nose and breasts, and the whole experience has left her extremely critical of her looks.
However, the Big Brother star says she has now turned all the coverage to her advantage.
"It's funny," she added, "But in the space of two years I've gone from being a 'bunny-boiling tranny lunatic' to a 'Welsh beauty'.
"There's no such thing as bad publicity - it's when there's no publicity that you've really got to worry."