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The legend of Zeta-Jones

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Mind you, she's looking relaxed and stunning this morning in a simple black-and-white outfit. On the other hand, she's sometimes delivering her observations in a throaty croak for which she apologizes. "Excuse me -- I sound like a cross between Demi Moore, Kathleen Turner and a truck driver. It's an ongoing kind of allergy thing and I took some medication, thinking it would help and it just dried me up with nothing."

She's in a more personal, domestic mode now -- to the point of discussing her home life. For example, she confesses that the only time Douglas is afraid of her is when she's in the kitchen.

"I am a terrible cook. I'm not allowed to go in the kitchen anymore."

Early in the marriage, when she was trying to prove she could cook, she burned a pan. "It wasn't on fire, but it was smoking, and I got a little scared."

She ran out of the kitchen to call for help. Douglas reminded her gently that there was a fire extinguisher next to the stove.

So is Douglas a better cook?

"No, but he's really good at making dinner reservations and that's fine by me!"

Ironically, her next movie, Mostly Martha, has her portraying a chef. After that, she'll be playing screen legend Lana Turner in Stompanato, which deals with the late star's controversial romance with abusive gangster Johnny Stompanato. Rumour has it that Sharon Stone wanted the Turner role. Zeta-Jones's response: "Guess what? I wanted to be in Basic Instinct 2!"

Father-in-law Kirk Douglas, who acted with Turner, will help with research.

She's often asked about the strength of her marriage, and she has a simple answer: "We love each other. Michael said this, not me, so I'm just repeating it -- but the fact that we're in a 25-year age difference is kind of fantastic. We're at different places in our lives, career-wise and all that stuff. We're not vying for the attention that maybe two actors together around the same age would be vying for." In other words, there are no career conflicts.

"We have two kids and if I'm working, Michael is with me and the kids, and if he's working, I'm with him. It just works for us. It's not 'I love you honey, see you in six months.'"

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005

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