10 Things You Never Knew About Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones is pretty selective with her roles these days, but in early March she'll make her first appearance in Fox's crime procedural Prodigal Son, playing a psychiatrist called Dr. Vivian Capshaw. We'll also see her presenting an award at the Golden Globes this Sunday (February 28).
Ahead of this double whammy of "CZJ," we're taking a minute to find out more about the Oscar and Tony-winning Welsh actress known for her roles in Chicago, The Mask of Zorro, The Terminal, Traffic, and Side Effects.
1. She was named after her grandmother, Zeta Jones.
According to the BBC, the actress's grandmother took her first name from a merchant ship called the Zeta, which carried copper from South Wales to South America back in the day.
2. Her family weren't wealthy, but had a stroke of luck when she was a child.
After they won £100,000 ($140,000) in a local bingo competition, they were able to pay for Zeta-Jones to have dance and ballet lessons.
3. She started performing professionally at a young age.
At nine, Zeta-Jones landed a role as one of the orphan girls in a West End production of Annie. Two years later, she starred as Annie in a production of the same musical at the Swansea Grand Theatre. And around the same time, she also became a national tap-dancing champion.
4. She left school at 15 so she could move to London and pursue a full-time career in West End musicals.
"I was a chorus girl. That’s all I ever wanted, to be onstage," she told The New York Times in 2009. "I would queue up for auditions and then change my costume or put on a different leotard and audition again. It might take me two tries, but I always got the job. I figured out what they wanted."
5. She's a keen golfer, but has some rather unusual rules when she's playing against men.
Zeta-Jones explained all during her 2016 appearance on The Graham Norton Show. Note how she isn't super-impressed when her Dad's Army co-star Toby Jones refers to a golf course as "the pitch."
6. She's proud of her working-class roots and has no time for "the snobbery of the whole actor thing."
"I didn’t go to college, I wasn’t at Oxford or Rada, but I knew that I could do it," she told The Sunday Times in 2018.
7. She became an instant star when she was cast in ITV comedy-drama series The Darling Buds of May in 1991.
"Literally, with one hour of television my life completely changed," she told USA Weekend in 2004. "I couldn't go anywhere."
8. She launched a short-lived music career in the '90s.
In 1993, she teamed up with British rock singer David Essex for a cover of Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways" which cracked the U.K. Top 40.
She also scored a minor U.K. hit with the 1995 pop-soul song "In the Arms of Love."
But ultimately, she drew a line under her music career to try her luck in Hollywood in the late '90s, a decision which most definitely paid off.
9. In 2019, she was given the honorary freedom of the City and County of Swansea, her Welsh hometown.
"There's something very rooting to me to come home to Swansea, and be a part and be in touch with where I come from," Zeta-Jones said at the ceremony, according to the BBC. She also said she is "spoiled" whenever she returns home, adding: "My mother makes a cup of tea every 20 minutes, I've got Welsh cakes on the side, I had fish and chips the first night we came."
Zeta-Jones also saluted her Welsh heritage when she won an Oscar in 2003 for her performance in Chicago.
10. She's spoken candidly about suffering from bipolar II disorder.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow suffers will know it is completely controllable,” she told InStyle magazine in 2012, according to People. “I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who didn’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.”
Do you have a favorite Catherine Zeta-Jones role or moment?