Getting old is a prospect very few of us welcome, but since there’s virtually nothing we can do about it, we really ought to be changing the way we view the whole process.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people who embrace their advanced years, welcoming the fact that they get wiser and more experienced than they were in their youth. Even so, there still seems to be a lingering stigma connected to aging. Worse, some people can’t help but go out of their way to mock those whose appearance has changed as a result of them getting older.
Perhaps nowhere is this more prevalent than in Hollywood, where celebrities are quite literally forced to live out their lives in full view of cameras, with armies of followers desperate to catch glimpses of them whenever possible.
That’s arguably why many A-list stars turn to surgery in a bid to retain their youthful looks (often with disastrous results, we might add).
And yet seemingly it’s not just those who opt to alter their appearance who come under fire, but also those who age naturally. That’s at least if some of the reaction to Michael Douglas’s outing at the Cannes film festival earlier this year is to go by.
Douglas has been a mainstay in Hollywood for multiple decades, and is an award-winning actor whose enduring talent and charisma have afforded him a longevity rarely seen at the top of the entertainment industry.
That said, he is human, after all, and now that he’s approaching 79 it’s only natural to expect that he no longer looks like he did when he was the leading man in blockbusters such as Wall Street and Fatal Attraction (both 1987).
Douglas became a father for the first time aged 43, but by his own admission he was hardly a role model dad to son Cameron. When Cameron was born in 1978, Douglas’s career in Hollywood was on the up and up, and so focused was the actor on making it big that he neglected many of his duties at home.
After Camron landed himself in prison for dealing drugs, Michael got something of a wake-up call, and upon his son’s release he made a conscious effort to be a better father.
Fast forward to the year 2000, and Douglas became a dad for the second time after marrying Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. The couple welcomed a son, Dylan Michael, before adding a girl, Carys Zeta Douglas, to their family in 2003.
Needless to say, Douglas was an older dad by conventional standards, but the extra years had taught him vital lessons where parenting was concerned.
As per reports, the iconic actor decided to take a step back from the dizzying schedule of his career, pledging to prioritize his role as a father and husband.
Of course, his age played on his mind a fair bit, with Douglas admitting that the prospect of being in his 80s as his youngest children navigated their early 20s wasn’t one he relished.
In 2010, he told The Guardian newspaper: “These days, I am consumed with being a father and with my responsibilities as a husband. I never anticipated starting a family at my age… I cherish this time.”
Douglas and Zeta-Jones moved their family to Manhattan to raise their children, but his daughter, Carys, was forced to endure “snide” comments about her father’s age, appearance, and his battle with cancer.
On one occasion, Carys revealed she had visited a pharmacy and spotted a tabloid headline that read: ‘Michael Douglas Cancer Again, Dying In a Month.’
“I just started crying,” Carys admitted.
Now, if you count yourself among Michael Douglas’s fans, you’ll likely be aware that his children rarely join him for public events. Reportedly, Carys is not fond of presenting herself for the paparazzi press, but earlier this year she hit the red carpet alongside her famous mother and father for the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival.
The trio looked positively gorgeous as they posed for photos, with Douglas arm-in-arm with his wife and daughter.
Unfortunately, however, no sooner had the photos made their way to the internet than did a number of individuals choose to put the aging actor down.
In spite of his dapper tux and slick hair, Douglas was criticized for looking “old haggard”, with others labeling him “frail” and like a “fossil”.
“He looks dead,” someone wrote on Facebook.
“He looks dissipated, like a drunk old women. He not relevant unless you like codgers,” another added.
“How old is he 199?” a third quipped.
A fourth stated simply: “He did not age well!”
It should go without saying that there were other, more positive comments, but it’s truly baffling to see so many individuals taking the time out of their day to put someone down because of their age and subsequent appearance.
If you ask me, we all have a right to age without prejudice. The world would be a far better place if people focused on lifting others up instead of pointing out perceived flaws. Don’t you agree?