Catherine Zeta Jones and her battle with bipolar disorder

Catherine Zeta Jones has talked frankly about her bipolar disorder diagnosis. The actress apparently checked into a mental health clinic after the stress of her husband, Michael Douglas’, illness became too much to cope with.

Douglas, 66, was diagnosed with throat cancer last year, and Zeta Jones, 41, was said to have been furious that doctors did not find the tumour sooner. Still, it seems he is on the mend. In January, Douglas revealed that the growth had been successfully removed and that he was beating the disease.

Michael Douglas suffered from throat cancer

“After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II disorder,” said Zeta Jones’ publicist, Cece Yorke, adding: “She’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films.”

Speaking on US talk show, The View, Douglas said he didn’t see his wife’s problems straight away because she did a good job hiding them:

“I wasn’t really aware of it. You know Catherine and Brits in general – Catherine is Welsh, you never see them in a bad spirits right? They always give the stiff upper lip, carry on and this and that.”

And he admits that, although Zeta Jones is now on the mend and feeling “great”, it has not been an easy ride.

“I joke about it but in the last year-and-a-half my oldest son got incarcerated, sent to federal prison, my ex-wife sued me, I got cancer…It’s hard for your wife to say “I’m depressed” you know.”

Catherine Zeta Jones "brave" for speaking out about bipolar

Mark Davies, from mental health charity Rethink, has given the actress credit for speaking out about the condition. He said Zeta Jones had shown courage, as there was still a stigma around mental illness, meaning many people are inclined to stay silent and try to fight it on their own.

“When people such as Catherine Zeta-Jones speak out it makes a big difference to the millions of others facing mental illness. It shows them they are not alone and that mental illness can affect anyone…Although she’ll be feeling pretty fragile and vulnerable, she will have – in a sense – given some comfort to a lot of other people who are probably suffering in silence and probably feeling a great deal of fear,” Davies added.

He said the disorder could be triggered by a range of factors and that no individual case was the same, but added that the star was likely to be given medication and talking therapy, recognised as increasingly effective in cases of serious mental illness.

[adsense]Zeta Jones hinted at her depression last year when she said: “I don’t just bring myself down, I bring everyone around me down. It’s like a dark cloud.”

About 1% of the population suffers from bipolar disorder.

Other celebrities who have battled bipolar disorder include actor Ben Stiller and singer Sinead O’Connor. It is also thought that Mel Gibson may suffer from the condition.