Catherine Zeta-Jones: The secret pain behind her smile
Hollywood goss

Catherine Zeta-Jones: The secret pain behind her smile

The actress's brave facade is starting to waver as her seemingly perfect life hits another bump in the road.

For the past few weeks Catherine Zeta-Jones has done little but talk about how wonderful her life is.Whether it’s cracking jokes about husband Michael Douglas’s penchant for trying on her clothes — to get in character for a role, apparently – or waxing lyrical on the red carpet about her kids, the message is one of undiluted happiness.

But looking beyond the megawatt smile, a very different tale is beginning to emerge. While Catherine and Michael have finally put their heart-wrenching battle against his throat cancer behind them, she’s now embarking on one of the most gruelling years of her professional life. And friends say that despite her brave face, the 42-year-old is feeling the pressure like never before.

"Nobodys better than Catherine at putting on a show — it's all those years of eight performances a week in musical theatre coming to the fore," a long-time friend told Woman’s Day last week. "But the reality is that she’s getting close to the limit. Catherine feels immense pressure to keep the show on the road and at this rate it’s going to break her."

With Michael, 67, clawing his way back to good health after brutal rounds of treatment for stage IV throat cancer, the Hollywood legend cannot continue churning out blockbusters the way he used to. "Now the buck stops with Catherine, who juggles the roles of raising her kids right and keeping the family business going," confides the friend. "She's got a crazy workload and she’s running herself ragged filming, promoting and nurturing at the same time."

Read more about Catherine's secret pain in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday June 18, 2012.