In 1992, Michael Douglas sought help for substance and alcohol addiction, checking into rehab at the Sierra Tucson Centre in Arizona. It was the same year that “Basic Instinct” was released in theaters. His rehabilitation program lasted for 30 days, and Douglas has since been open about his struggles with addiction.
He recognized, in retrospect, that he had placed his career before his family, regretting not being there for them more. He admits that he used work to avoid confronting personal issues and wishes he had prioritized his family more. His eldest son, Cameron, has also struggled with addiction, which Michael feels some responsibility for.
The Delightful War of the Roses
In "The War of the Roses" (1989), Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner play a once happily married couple named the Roses. The couple has grown bitter and frustrated over the years, eventually deciding to get a divorce and start dividing their belongings. Things quickly spiral out of control when Oliver Rose (Douglas) demands more from his wife, arguing that he paid for their house and everything in it.
The dark comedy follows the hilarious and ridiculous saga of a divorcing couple who are both determined to stay in their house. "The War of the Roses" is one of the most underrated black comedies from the 1980s. Douglas and Turner were both brilliant in their roles. The film continues to stand out for its delightful absurdity and dark humor.
"Basic Instinct," a Risk That Paid Off
Michael Douglas had made a name for himself in the erotic thriller genre by the early 1990s, thanks in no small part to his iconic role in the widely-discussed film “Fatal Attraction.” Yet, when director Paul Verhoeven approached him to play the lead in his upcoming thriller “Basic Instinct,” Douglas had his reservations. He agreed to take on the role only if a big-name actress would star alongside him.
Douglas suggested names such as Julia Roberts and Kim Basinger for the controversial role - strong co-stars who could carry and share the risk. Since most A-list actors declined, the producers cast a relatively unknown Sharon Stone instead. The film became a massive hit and one of the biggest commercial successes of Douglas' career.
Catherine Zeta-Jones Completely Floored Him
When Michael Douglas met Catherine Zeta-Jones for the first time in Deauville, France, in 1999, he refused to beat around the bush. According to Zeta-Jones herself, Douglas declared that he wanted to father her children – his first words to her! Some people might find this direct approach bold, while others could see it as cheesy or even borderline inappropriate.
The move clearly worked, as the couple began dating soon after and went on to get married the following year. Douglas and Zeta-Jones are still going strong, despite their 25-year age difference and vicious gossip that he was her “sugar daddy.”
The Critical and Commercial Success of Traffic
Michael Douglas' performance in the 2000 film “Traffic” was a standout moment in his career. He starred alongside Benicio del Toro and future wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, in the critically-acclaimed crime drama directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film tells the story of illegal trading from the perspective of multiple characters. Douglas' character, Robert Wakefield, is a respected judge from Ohio whose daughter struggles with addiction.
His performance was nothing short of impressive. "Traffic" received widespread praise from critics and audiences alike, with many hailing it as one of the best films of 2000. For Douglas, "Traffic" was another opportunity to showcase his talent and retain his status as one of Hollywood's most respected actors.