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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK

UK: Wales

Michael Douglas free to marry Catherine Zeta Jones

Divorce settlement will allow the two Hollywood stars to marry

US actor Michael Douglas appears to have agreed to a £40m payoff to his wife Diandra to leave him free to marry Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

Hollywood rumours claim the 55-year-old star of blockbusters including "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct" had agreed to pay the sum to Diandra, 41, his wife of 22 years.

The pair separated in 1997.

[ image: Swansea-born Catherine Zeta Jones is one of Hollywood's biggest stars]
Swansea-born Catherine Zeta Jones is one of Hollywood's biggest stars
Even by Hollywood standards, the settlement, if accurate, would be extraordinary, giving Diandra Douglas nearly a third of the actor/producer's estimated £150m fortune.

The actor's publicist, Alan Burry, said the divorce papers had not yet been signed, but added "It's only a matter of time. They have agreed everything."

Burry would neither confirm nor deny the reported sum involved.

Douglas and 30-year-old Zeta-Jones had been expected to announce their engagement with a party at his Malibu home on September 25, the birthday they share.

But the date passed without an announcement.

Zeta-Jones, who starred in "Entrapment" and "The Mask of Zorro," told Hello magazine last month that the couple shared "a very special relationship".

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Catherine Zeta-Jones Official Site

Michael Douglas Official Site

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