LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones admits having a hard time watching husband Michael Douglas battle throat cancer and has told People magazine she is furious with doctors for not detecting his disease sooner.
Douglas, the Oscar winner of “Wall Street” and a veteran of Hollywood movies and television, told the celebrity magazine that he spent months seeking attention for persistent throat and ear pain only to be told nothing was wrong until August.
The son of actor Kirk Douglas announced on August 16 that doctors had found a tumor in his throat and that he would undergo radiation and chemotherapy, which he has now started.
“It makes me furious they didn’t detect it earlier,” Zeta-Jones told People. “He sought every option and nothing was found.”
The actress, herself an Oscar winner for “Chicago,” has been married to Douglas for 10 years and the couple have two children together, Dylan, 10, and Carys, 7.
Douglas, 65, is now undergoing radiation and chemotherapy five days-a-week every three weeks to rid himself of a walnut-sized tumor at the base of his tongue.
Zeta-Jones said she can’t stand the thought of watching her husband undergoing chemotherapy and radiation and loosing his strength as he battles the disease.
“I know maybe I should be stronger, but emotionally I just don’t want to see that,” she said, later adding, “the hardest part is seeing his fatigue, because Michael is never tired.”
Douglas made his first post-announcement TV appearance on Tuesday on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and told the talk show audience that although his cancer was late “stage four,” doctors say he has an 80 percent chance of recovery.
He told People magazine that he was optimistic about his odds. “I’m treating this as a curable disease,” he said. “It’s a fight. I’ll beat this.”
But he admitted that he was uncertain about the future, and noted that “you just never think it’s going to be you.”
Still, after months of feeling the pain creep up on him, of having a dry throat and hoarse voice, the news of his cancer came as little surprise to both Hollywood stars.
“It wasn’t a huge shock. I knew something was up. He knew something was up,” said Zeta-Jones.
And while she is furious about the lack of an early diagnosis, Douglas seems more understanding. “Without having to blame anybody ... these things sometimes just don’t show up,” he said.
Editing by Sandra Maler