Before his high profile marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas was married for 18 years to Diandra Luker, the daughter of a diplomat and mother of his eldest son, Cameron.
Although often described by her son as the picture-perfect example of class and poise, Mrs. Douglas made headlines years after her profitable divorce with Michael, and it was all about money.
Michael Douglas with his wife Diandra at the American Cinematheque's Eighth Annual Moving Picture Ball, 29th September 1993 | Photo: GettyImages
Diandra Luker, born in 1956 to a Swiss-American diplomatic father and an Anglo-French mother, spent most of her childhood on the island of Mallorca before being sent to Swiss and American boarding schools.
For college, Luker attended Georgetown University and soon after landed a job as a White House intern. It was there that she met Michael Douglas, who was in town promoting the film “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.”
Luker, who was 19 at the time, had no idea who Douglas was; but they started a conversation that led to two days together and a marriage proposal only two weeks later.
Michael Douglas attends the premiere of Disney And Marvel's 'Ant-Man And The Wasp' on June 25, 2018 | Photo: GettyImages
They tied the knot in March 1977 and welcomed their only son, Cameron, the following year.
The couple lived in Los Angeles for a few years as Michael’s career took off, but Diandra didn’t think the city or its environment was good to raise a child. So, eventually, they moved to New York City.
On the Big Apple, Diandra’s status as Mrs. Douglas made her the talk of the town.
Diandra Douglas at the Emanuel Ungaro 35th anniversary fashion party in New York City, 2001 | Photo: GettyImages
She used her influence to organize fundraisers for the Red Cross and produced documentaries for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Office of Film and Television.
She also started modeling clothes from designers like Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, and Donna Karan while grazing the covers of the society pages.
Meanwhile, Douglas’ career kept soaring with the films “Romancing the Stone,” “Fatal Attraction,” “The War of the Roses,” and the acclaimed “Wall Street.”
Michael Douglas and wife Diandra at the premiere of his film "Disclosure" in 1994 | Photo: GettyImages
But at some point, there was a rupture between Douglas and Luker, and their marriage came crashing down on them.
"For years, I've never said a word to anyone," Luker told Harper’s Bazar. "I don't feel that two wrongs make a right. I'm not into mudslinging, and I refuse to lower myself to even tell you the tip of the iceberg."
Douglas, on the other hand, once admitted that the divorce had been longtime coming.
Michael Douglas attends the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 8, 2017 | Photo: GettyImages
“I know I’m going to get into trouble here. I have nothing against her, and in fact, I’m very fond of my first wife. But we should have ended that marriage eight or ten years earlier,” he told Metro.
“It took me too long to realize that if you go to a marriage counselor to resolve problems, it’s in his interest to keep the marriage going. Because if I end the marriage, he’s got no business. I think Diandra would probably say the same thing. That’s the only clear regret that I have.”
The couple separated in 1995, but the divorce was finalized five years later, with Luker getting a settlement of $45 million-plus some properties and alimony.
All of this was happening at the same time that Cameron Douglas was arrested and pleaded guilty to possession and conspiracy to distribute drugs.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda on June 5, 2014 | Photo: GettyImages
He was initially sentenced to five years behind bars, and a judge added four more years after he pleaded guilty to possessing drugs in prison.
The situation forced Michael and Diandra to put their differences aside, even if it was to only talk about Cameron and how they could help him.
According to Bacon, he asked Diandra to marry him in 2001, but she rejected the proposal when he refused to pay her the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in alimony she would lose from Douglas.
Still, they remained together as a couple.
Luker and Bacon dated for four years before they decided to use a surrogate to conceive their kids, and in 2004, welcomed twin sons Hudson and Hawk.
But Luker wasn’t satisfied with two boys and suggested adopting a girl from Kazakhstan.
Bacon was against the idea because the twins had been born prematurely, and he believed having another child so soon was irresponsible. Still, Luker went ahead and adopted daughter Imara.
That caused their split and kicked a custody battle between Luker and Bacon, who wanted the twins to live with him in New York instead of staying on their mother’s California estate.
In 2011, Luker made headlines once again when she tried to take her ex-husband to court, claiming he owed her a percentage of his paycheck from the film “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”
According to Diandra’s lawyers, her and Douglas’ divorce settlement stipulated that, if he made spin-offs of the movies he first did while they were married, she would be entitled to part of his earnings.
Diandra’s request was overturned twice by a Manhattan judge, who said the issue should’ve been taken to court in California, where they divorced.
Diandra Luker at the 35th Annual Alzheimer's Association Rita Hayworth Gala on October 23, 2018 | Photo: GettyImages
However, she mentioned in a later interview with Daily Mail that those reports were wrong, and what really happened was she withdrew her request after discovering Douglas had been diagnosed with cancer.
She also told Harpers Bazaar:
"Michael didn't know he was ill, I didn't know he was ill, and the gods didn't know he was ill. I am not into going after sick people for things that don't belong to me."
These days, Douglas and Luker maintain a friendly relationship for the sake of their son, who was released from jail last year and is now sharing his story with addiction and his time in prison through his book: “Long Way Home.”