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 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.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.