The Evolution Of Catherine Zeta-Jones' Face

For decades, Catherine Zeta-Jones has exuded glamour and sophistication that harken back to Hollywood's Golden Age. After growing up in Wales, a young Zeta-Jones made her way to London's West End, where she found success on the stage while still in her teens. After achieving U.K. TV superstardom in the '90s, Zeta-Jones moved to California, where she found global fame in movies like "The Mask of Zorro," "Entrapment," and "Chicago." Married to fellow Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, Zeta-Jones always looks stunning, whether she's working on the soundstage, strutting the red carpet, or relaxing on vacation.

While she's been named one of the most beautiful women in the world, the performer has never been shy about the work it takes to stay glamorous. Zeta-Jones has shared all of her secret DIY beauty hacks and remains vocal about finding the regimen that works for you. Although she hasn't flat-out admitted to getting work done on her face, this hasn't stopped tabloid speculation that her changing looks have received assistance from modern beauty innovations. No doubt, Zeta-Jones is a keeper of the Hollywood glamour flame, so let's take a look at the evolution of her face and appreciate how this small-town girl became a world-class stunner.

From small town girl to big city star

Despite growing up far away from the Hollywood spotlight, Catherine Zeta-Jones had her eye on emulating the glamour of her favorite movie stars. As a young girl living in Swansea, Wales, she idolized the beauty of another U.K.-born actor, screen legend Elizabeth Taylor. Zeta-Jones had pictures of Taylor and her Welsh husband Richard Burton, and she told The Sunday Times about the influence her childhood idol had on her, "I feel better when I have a bit of definition on my eyes, and even better when I have a lot. As a child, I was obsessed with Elizabeth Taylor's smoky eyeliner, butterfly eyelashes, and violet eyes. I had great aspirations to be like her."

Zeta-Jones was a natural performer, taking up dance classes at four years old and hoofing her way into a part in London's West End production of "Annie" as one of Annie's orphanage friends five years later. A fresh-faced and frizzy-haired teen, Zeta-Jones had not only the talent but also the confidence to pursue acting full-time. In the mid-'80s, Zeta-Jones co-starred in productions of "Bugsy Malone" and "The Pajama Game," and at just 17, she landed the female lead role in the musical "42nd Street." In a throwback video shared by Zeta-Jones on Instagram of her preparing for the stage, she was already wearing her soon-to-be signature smokey eye.

Darling Buds of May makes her a fresh-faced instant celebrity

As an adult, Catherine Zeta-Jones transitioned her career into television and movies. In a 2001 interview with Larry King, Zeta-Jones confessed, "I never really thought about movies until I hung up my tap shoes and went, OK, I can't be a hoofer for the rest of my life. What am I going to do now?" She made her film debut in 1990 in "Les 1001 nuits," but she became a star the following year with a leading role as the beautiful Mariette Larkin in the television series "The Darling Buds of May." She told The Telegraph, "I had just come from the theatre, this coquettish ingénue. And then in Buds of May, I was playing a voluptuous 1950s woman. I was just trying to be what they wanted me to be."

"Darling Buds" was a hit and Zeta-Jones became an instant celebrity. At first, she welcomed the attention, but she soon became frustrated not only by the immense tabloid coverage of her personal life but also by the potential for typecasting. She told The Daily Mirror (via BBC), "I am afraid I have this image which is far from the truth," adding, "A lot of people got the wrong idea from the start and it seems to have stuck. I was so closely linked to the character that if I ever let my hair down, it was thought that I had somehow committed a sin."

She channeled Old Hollywood during her pop music years

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a multi-talented performer, and her career could have looked much different if she had stuck with her pop music ambitions. Before coming to Hollywood, Zeta-Jones leveraged her U.K. fame into a recording career. In 1992, she released a music video for the song "For All Time," a track from the concept album "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus." While Zeta-Jones embodied the '90s video trope of prancing in the desert with flowing fabric, she put her own glamorous spin on the affair by swaying around in Old Hollywood-inspired hair waves and dramatic eye makeup.

"For All Time" was just the start of Zeta-Jones' pop music career. In the '90s, she released several other adult contemporary jams, including the songs "True Love Ways" and "In the Arms of Love," both of which charted in her home country. In the video for "In the Arms of Love," Zeta-Jones' look exuded an approachable power-pop balladeer, complete with bouncy hair and soft makeup — the perfect glam for rocking out to a ripping guitar solo. However, by 1995, Zeta-Jones was pretty much done with her music career. She hasn't released any pop music since, but maybe someday she'll revive her pop star status.

Her transformative Hollywood break

In the '90s, Catherine Zeta-Jones' beauty and talent helped her gain fame, but her personal life attracted plenty of tabloid attention. Seeking refuge from the British press, she packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles to focus on her craft. "Leaving Britain for me wasn't like an 'F you' moment," she told The New Yorker. "It was more of a, I've worked really hard to be an actor and now I'm becoming a celeb. And everyone was missing out on the point of my hard work."

Zeta-Jones wanted a fresh start in the U.S., and she got it. She appeared in the 1996 TV miniseries "Titanic," catching the eye of mega-director Steven Spielberg. His production company, Amblin Entertainment, was working on a new "Zorro" movie. She landed her big break in the 1998 film "The Mask of Zorro," and she admitted to Vogue that getting the role altered her life.

Zeta-Jones isn't shy about her character Elena's beauty secret — it's all in the makeup. "Make-up artists have told me I have 'a face that can 'take' make-up,'" she shared with The Times. "I have decided to take that as a compliment because there is no other way to take it." She added, " ... with a little maquillage, I too can look like the dancing, sword-wielding femme fatale in 'The Mask of Zorro.'"

People names Zeta-Jones one of the world's most beautiful individuals

By the early 2000s, Catherine Zeta-Jones had become a bona fide Hollywood star, having appeared in movies like "Entrapment," "High Fidelity," and "The Haunting." She was earning up to $7 million per movie, and had transitioned her career from light musical comedy to weighty drama with a star turn in director Steven Soderbergh's ensemble drama "Traffic." At the time, the unabashed manner in which she embraced her beauty was seen as refreshing, with her "The Mask of Zorro" co-star Sir Anthony Hopkins telling Vanity Fair, "She goes for it; she's beautiful, and she's not like those people who want to cover it up. She presents the kind of glamour that's sorely missing these days."

Zeta-Jones' good looks were celebrated in 2001 when People Magazine placed her on the cover of its annual "Most Beautiful" issue. She graced the publication with soft, flowing hair and subtle makeup — an approachable and elegant image appropriate for the nation's grocery store check-out lanes. Zeta-Jones' face was so in demand that at around the same time that People released its "Most Beautiful" issue, Glamour magazine was accused of cashing in on Zeta-Jones' clout by using an old photo of her on its cover.

Her extravagant wedding celebration looks

In 2000, Catherine Zeta-Jones became true Hollywood royalty when she married actor Michael Douglas in a lavish, celebrity-filled New York City ceremony. They met at the Deauville Film Festival in 1998, started dating in 1999, and became engaged by the end of the year. Zeta-Jones gave birth to their son Dylan in 2000, and when the couple walked down the aisle that November, they made sure it was a wedding spectacular to remember. It's rumored to be the longest wedding ever held at the historic Plaza Hotel, running until the wee hours of the following morning.

Considering the amount of money Catherine Zeta-Jones spent on her wedding — reportedly between $1.5 and $2 million — there's no doubt that considerable thought, care, and cash went into all the looks she rocked during her wedding weekend. Her $250,000 wedding dress was by designer Christian Lacroix and she wore a stunning veil over her face to complete the outfit. Equal care was taken for her rehearsal dinner look. Zeta-Jones sported a sophisticated Badgley Mischka gown and completed the look with soft curls and dramatic eye makeup. Going against the advice of the designers, who advised her not to wear black, she told Vogue it was the perfect look to start her special weekend.

America's Sweetheart denies having work done

While Catherine Zeta-Jones has been celebrated for her incredible looks, she is not immune to feeling insecure. In 2001, she lamented to Vanity Fair about the state of her "piggy nose" and "puffy eyes," and she recalled to The Telegraph in 2022 that she feared she had lost out on being cast in "The Mask of Zorro" because she thought the other actors looked more beautiful at the audition. Even though Zeta-Jones was on the record about feeling less than beautiful, she has flatly denied tabloid rumors that she had gone under the knife to enhance her appeal.

In 2001, The Sun reported that Zeta-Jones had undergone eye tuck surgery. Through her rep, Cece York, Zeta-Jones dismissed the story, telling Reuters (via ABC News) that The Sun's claims didn't align with recent photographs of Zeta-Jones vacationing with her family. "They've been all over the place, and she's been photographed all over the place and she looks the same to everyone else," York said. "There's your proof right there. It must be a slow week for The Sun."

Her contract with a major beauty brand

In the days before seemingly every Hollywood star had their own beauty or lifestyle brand, many of Tinseltown's most well-known denizens simply became spokespeople for established companies. In 2002, Catherine Zeta-Jones became one of those stars, signing a contract with beauty brand stalwart Elizabeth Arden to be its global beauty spokesperson. She endorsed fragrances like Provocative Woman and Arden Beauty, and makeup lines like Color Intrigue Effects. She also appeared in the company's print ads and television spots.

Not only was Zeta-Jones a spokesperson, but she was a stockholder in the company, too. The brand had been around since 1910, and the business needed a 21st-century makeover. Zeta-Jones' mix of old and new glamour was up to the task. She told WWD in 2008 of their successful partnership, "It's been exciting to see that over the last six years of our partnership, which has been very collaborative — I've had input on [ad] campaigns, and brought some of my own people in to do the styling." To this day, Zeta-Jones still swears by the brand's moisturizer, Eight Hour Cream. She revealed to Glamour, "I was the face of Elizabeth Arden for many years, but I used the Eight Hour cream before that because my grandmother used it. It was the only cream she ever bought and it was the answer to everything."

She served up All That Jazz in Chicago

Catherine Zeta-Jones' career reached new heights in 2002 with the release of the movie musical "Chicago," where she starred as vampy vaudeville performer Velma Kelly. Ironically, one of her biggest career triumphs came from embracing her beauty and her musical theater roots, something she had tried for years to escape. She shared with The Telegraph, "In my career, there has always been a kind of beauty aspect to it. I was pigeonholed for so many years being a musical comedy actress. I always wanted to be cast in one of Helena Bonham Carter's roles in those period dramas, I dreamed of that, but it never really came my way."

In the film, Zeta-Jones rocks a Louise Brooks-inspired flapper bob, which curiously enough, she had to fight for. On "The Drew Barrymore Show," Zeta-Jones revealed that she battled with producers over Velma's haircut. The blunt style was part of her vision for the character. As she accurately noted, "They didn't have beach waves, you know, in 1930s Chicago." As Velma, Zeta-Jones painted her face with dramatic eye makeup and sultry lips. Makeup artist Cindy J. Williams shared on her Instagram that while in character, Zeta-Jones wore Red Lizard lipstick by Nars and Contrast eye shadow by MAC.

Performing at the Oscars weeks before giving birth

Catherine Zeta-Jones was glowing at the 2003 Oscars ceremony, where she won best supporting actress for her performance in "Chicago." Many celebrities chose subdued looks for that year's ceremony — the United States had invaded Iraq scant days prior and some nominees even contemplated a boycott of the ceremony. Zeta-Jones' simple, low-bun hairstyle showed off her beauty and her minimalistic custom-designed Versace gown matched the tenor of the evening. But for an Oscar-lover like Zeta-Jones, it was doubtful she would have missed out on the festivities. She told Variety, "It never gets old for me ... I love the kind of history of it all. I love the fact that we can sit back and applaud our peers and acknowledge the work done that year across the board."

While that year's Oscars was serious in tone, it didn't stop Zeta-Jones from giving the audience the "ol' razzle-dazzle" when she performed the nominated song "I Move On" from "Chicago" with her co-star in the film, Queen Latifah. At the time, she was heavily pregnant, and she recalled to Variety that she thought, "I'm pregnant, people should be eating chocolate watching daytime soap operas. Why am I singing for a billion people right now?" But the show went on and Zeta-Jones nailed the performance. She gave birth to her daughter Carys less than a month after the ceremony.

A natural Broadway beauty with bangs

By the late '00s, Catherine Zeta-Jones had transitioned from British ingénue to the Hollywood A-list. Now an established star, she was getting more playful and experimental with her looks and beauty routine. Zeta-Jones returned to the stage in 2009 with her Broadway debut in "A Little Night Music," and when she attended the Tony Awards in 2010 to pick up her statue for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical, she sported some serious bangs. It wouldn't be the first or the last time she would try a fringe look, but it was a definite departure from her usual long, flowing locks.

Perhaps her grueling eight shows per-week schedule inspired Zeta-Jones to embrace natural beauty secrets at this time. In 2009, Gwyneth Paltrow launched Goop, sharing her natural lifestyle recommendations with her humble newsletter, and around this time, Jessica Alba was planting the seeds of her billion-dollar business, The Honest Company. So it's not particularly surprising that the usually ultra-glam Zeta-Jones proclaimed to The Daily Mail that a mixture of honey and salt was a fantastic body exfoliator and that biting into an after-meal apple was a great way to clean your teeth. We would like to point out that Zeta-Jones is a movie star, not a dentist, so take her advice with a grain of salt (preferably not the ones used in the body exfoliator).

She's not anti-plastic surgery

After the success of "Chicago," Catherine Zeta-Jones told InStyle she felt like she could relax. During the 2010s, she took on plenty of movie roles, including the jukebox musical "Rock of Ages" and the drama "Side Effects." But she also spent time away from the screen to tend to serious personal issues. In 2010, her husband Michael Douglas was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and underwent intensive treatment, and Zeta-Jones went public with her bipolar II diagnosis when she checked into a mental health facility the following year. In 2013, she and her husband announced their separation. However, by 2015 the couple had worked on their relationship and were publicly back together.

Perhaps going through extensive personal challenges prompted Zeta-Jones to share her opinions about plastic surgery. In 2016, she candidly told Good Housekeeping about looking youthful in Hollywood, "The roles that are coming my way are different and more interesting. But I'm not anti-plastic surgery at all. Contrary to public opinion, I have not been under the knife...yet, is what I say! If I feel like it, I'm going to go ahead and do it! If (surgery) makes you feel better, who am I to tell someone that it's wrong?" Although she denied getting work done, it didn't stop her appearance at the Best FIFA Football Awards in 2017 from sparking plastic surgery rumors. Sporting glam waves and her signature dramatic eye makeup, she didn't address her evolved look to the press. 

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She perfects her signature smokey eye makeup

Catherine Zeta-Jones has never been shy about her love of a smokey eye. Throughout much of her career, she's rocked the dramatic eye look on countless red carpets. In 2020, having already launched her home goods line Casa Zeta-Jones in 2017, she debuted an eye makeup collaboration with Wunder2. Released under the Casa Zeta-Jones name, the product line included two shades of pencil liner and mascara. Unfortunately, Zeta-Jones' ability to glam out publicly was most likely impacted by COVID-19 safety protocols, but sheltering in place didn't stop her. She filmed a seductive product tease for her millions of Instagram followers instead.

Eyeliner and Zeta-Jones are a classic combination, and she would probably agree with the sentiment. She told The Telegraph, "I'm a huge lover of old Hollywood glamour and a bit of an eye-make-up girl. I literally don't put the bins out without mascara on or a bit of eyeliner, so that's where I started." To get the signature Zeta-Jones look, she revealed her application process to The Sunday Times: Softly blending eyeliner, curling the eyelashes, followed by heavy mascara.

With age comes confidence

Like many Hollywood actors, Catherine Zeta-Jones made a serious pivot into television and streaming series in the 2020s, and in 2022, she had roles in two prominent streaming shows with two very different looks. She starred as antiques dealer Billie Pearce in the Disney+ series "National Treasure: Edge of History" looking very unlike herself while sporting an angular blonde wig. Zeta-Jones also played the iconic character Morticia Addams in the wildly popular Addams Family Netflix series "Wednesday." Morticia's aesthetic — long, flowing black hair, dramatic makeup, and slinky gown — isn't that far from Zeta-Jones' own red carpet looks. Morticia's glam goth style is achieved by embracing a plum color palette on both the eyes and lips.

Not only has Zeta-Jones embraced aging, but she has become more confident about her looks over time. She explained to The Telegraph, "I have my insecurities like every other woman. But as I've got older I've got much more confident about the way that I look." Although Zeta-Jones doesn't dish on her exact anti-aging regime, she's into defining self-care for yourself. She said, "I am all for whatever makes you happy. There are so many good treatments out there now that don't make you look like you've just stepped off Mars, so it goes back to self-confidence. An inner confidence is very empowering for women. Whatever that takes, do it."