Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have stood the test of time as one of Hollywood's most long-running couples.

The pair celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary on November 18th but their relationship hasn't been all smooth sailing.

The couple raised eyebrows in Hollywood when they first got together because of the significant difference in age between them.

When they met Catherine had become a household name in Britain thanks to her role in The Darling Buds Of May.

She was fast recognised as one of the UK's most appealing actresses and made her way to Hollywood starring opposite Antonio Banderas in 1998 movie The Mask Of Zorro and alongside Sean Connery in 1999 heist flick Entrapment.

Age gap

Both films saw her exploiting her sexual side as an up and coming icon who had been hailed as one of the most beautiful women in the world.

It was around this time she first met Michael, at the August 1998 Deauville American Film Festival in France.

Catherine was 28-years-old at the time with 53-year old Michael already a very well established name in Hollywood.

The actor – who is exactly 25 years older than his now-wife as they share their September 25 birthday – had split with first wife Diandra Luker in 1995 and when he was introduced to Catherine by Danny DeVito the pair instantly hit it off.

The duo officially began dating in March 1999 and got engaged on December 31 of the same year. Catherine admitted that when they first met Michael had said to her: "I want to father your children."

In August 2000 Catherine gave birth to their first child – son Dylan Michael.

They tied the knot on November 18 2000 in a very high-profile and lucrative ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

The nuptials cost a reported £1.5 million and were slated as the "wedding of the year" by the BBC.

Wedding controversy

Catherine and Michael had attracted much criticism for their relationship with some believing it was not genuine during the build-up to their wedding.

They signed a £1 million deal with OK! magazine to release photographs of the event, banning all other press from attending.

However journalists for Hello! magazine managed to sneak pictures of the bash and the title was successfully sued the magazine for invasion of privacy.

The couple welcomed their second child, daughter Carys Zeta in April 2003 and the family quietly lived in Bermuda until 2000 before moving to rural New York.

Health woes

In 2010 Michael was diagnosed with tongue cancer, causing significant emotional distress for his wife as he went through treatment with both chemotherapy and radiotherapy for the advanced stage IV diagnosis.

At the time she said: "When you get sideswiped like that it's an obvious trigger for your balance to be a little bit off – not sleeping, worry, stress."

Catherine was subsequently diagnosed with depression, which led to her bravely opening up about her diagnosis of having bipolar disorder.

The Welsh-born star then checked herself into a hospital facility for treatment in 20111, and again in 2013 as she battled to maintain control of her mental health.

Separation rumours

By 2013 things didn't look good for Catherine and Michael, with reports in May claiming they had decided to live their lives separately and "take a break" from each other and their marriage.

At the time a representative for Catherine confirmed they were "taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage."

However, the separation was short-lived and by November 2013 it was reported they had reconciled with Catherine moving back into their lavish New York residence and Michael saying they were "stronger than ever."

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