Life & Style

Catherine Zeta-Jones: The well-traveled actress discusses the meaning of 'home'

The Oscar-winning icon talks about her childhood, life in Bermuda, and how she is at her happiest within her four walls

Catherine Zeta-Jones interview, actress headshot in black and white
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Academy award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is among the most celebrated figures in Hollywood – but despite taking LA by storm, home to Catherine is wherever she finds her family. 

'I have been on the move since I was 15 and have lived in London, Paris, LA, New York, and Bermuda – this is why home for me is always where my family is,' Catherine shares, in an exclusive discussion with H&G

The global icon continues, discussing everything from her earliest memories of home on the Welsh coast to her 1920s library in New York City – and everywhere in between. 

You can take a tour of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones' former Mediterranean island home if you want to see more.

My first memory of home… 

Catherine Zeta-Jones hometown, Swansea seaside in Wales

(Image credit: Photo by Jason Thomas on Unsplash)

… was my mum and dad's house in Wales. Even though I've lived Stateside for 24 years, I still say Wales is my home. My mother loved soft furnishings, and I think that's where I got my passion for interior design. I remember the smell of the coziness of home, lots of family around, and lots of beautiful fabrics everywhere. My mother was a seamstress, and I would literally walk on pins she had dropped in the shag pile carpet. 

My quirky habit… 

...when I was 15, I had zero money and was touring around Britain in the production The Pajama Game, living in digs for 10 months. I would take my mother's fabrics and drape them over smelly couches and risk health and safety and drape them over lamps. I carried a bag of tricks called 'the Mary Poppins bag' – I still do. It has beautiful tapestries, and I take my own bed linen and pillows. Sometimes when I'm going to a fancy hotel, I think: 'Should I take them? No, Catherine, that's ridiculous.'

My favorite room...

... is our library in New York. It is a British-style wood-paneled 1920s library with a spiral staircase. I've collected British female portraiture from an auction, eBay, and a Welsh estate. There is a big old fireplace, mid-century furniture to mix the old with the new, and my Oscar for Chicago on the mantel, so when I get insecure, I can say. 'It's alright; it's alright!'. 

See: Beautiful book storage ideas – for an ever-growing collection

Catherine Zeta-Jones with her Oscar for Chicago

(Image credit: GettyImages)

I'm happiest when...

… [I'm] in my four walls that I created myself. It is eclectic and chic, and I can potter here for days. What has been difficult is I love to have people around. I'm not happy unless every room is filled with people. And that came from my childhood.  

I felt most at home when…

… My kids Dylan and Carys were little, and we were living in Bermuda. It was a completely different environment, but the consistency was reminiscent of the way I was brought up. Micheal or I would work, and the other would pick up the children from school. 

Their childhood memories are so wonderful: waking up and being at the beach, swimming in the ocean, climbing rocks and trees. I was young, I'd won an Oscar, it was before my husband's cancer, which was really traumatic for him and our family, so it was a golden time. And there was total privacy, which was paramount for us bringing up our children. We have great fond memories of being there.  

Catherine Zeta-Jones headshot in black and white

(Image credit: GettyImages)

My homeware brand… 

… I have been doing homes all my life and been brought up around fabric and dressmaking and curtain-making, so to have my lifestyle brand Casa Zeta-Jones (opens in new tab) is an amazing creative outlet for me. 

See: Fabric trends 2021 – the colors, patterns and materials to use now

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The feature above was by Danielle Lawler for Homes & Gardens magazine June 2021. If you would like to get your own subscriber issue delivered every month, you can subscribe above.