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Michael Douglas 'Adored' Stepmother of 66 Years & Honored Her Role in His Life When She Died at 102

Titi Dokubo
Apr 11, 2022
09:30 P.M.
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Michael Douglas gained a stepmother after his parents, Kirk and Diana, divorced in 1951. After two years, Kirk married Anne Buydens, and their relationship lasted almost 70 years.


Kirk's sons from his previous marriage gained a second mother with the couple's union. When Anne passed away in 2021, Michael Douglas gave her the appreciation she deserved.

Here are all the details about Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens' relationship, Anne's relationship with her stepchildren, and her death at 102 years old. 

Michael, Anne, and Kirk Douglas at the 2009 Vanity Fair Academy Awards | Source: Getty Images


Before getting married to Anne Buydens, Kirk Douglas was first married to Diana Dill from 1943 to 1951. The couple met in 1940 as students at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

The academy's director, Charles Jehlinger, criticized Kirk, and as he stumbled off stage, he saw Diana sitting in the wings and sobbing for him in sympathy.

However, they never had a relationship until years later. In May 1943, Life magazine featured Diana as their cover girl while Kirk was in war service in the US Navy.

Kirk and Diana Douglas at a popular New York nightspot | Source: Getty Images


When Kirk saw her in the magazine, he vowed to marry her. Kirk and Anne married in a navy wedding with crossed swords in New Orleans six months later. Shortly after, their marriage began to fall apart, and Kirk said,

"After Joel was born [in 1947], she and I realized that we were not right for each other, and we divorced amicably."

A couple of years after their divorce, Kirk met the film publicist, Anne, on the set of "Act of Love." They did not build their relationship on love at first sight, but it grew and evolved.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Douglas on September 5, 1978 in Deauville, France | Source: Getty Images



After meeting on set, Kirk initially invited Anne to his movie trailer, which he called the "lion's den." To his surprise, Anne declined his invitation. Kirk said,

"I mean, I was a big movie star! And I invited her to dinner, and she said, 'Oh, thank you very much, but I'm so tired.'"

Kirk said their first encounter was awkward, and Anne was the most difficult woman he had ever met. Despite this start, she became his publicist, and he tried to woo her in many ways.

Photo of Kirk and Anne Douglas at home in Beverly Hills, in 2009 | Source: Getty Images


In their joint memoir, "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood," the couple revealed that Kirk tried to woo Anne with his looks and acting skills.

However, Anne realized that Kirk was willing to do unexpected things after many attempts. They eventually got together and got married in 1954.

Kirk Douglas, Anne Douglas, and Michael Douglas at the Neil Jacobs International Peace Awards Dinner | Source: Getty Images



When Kirk and Anne married, Kirk already had two sons, Michael and Joel, with Diana. On having a stepmother, Michael said:

"Anne was more than a stepmother, and never 'wicked.' She brought out the best in all of us, especially our father. Dad would never have had the career he did without Anne's support and partnership."

Michael, his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and his children adored Anne. Michael recalled that his father could never keep a secret, but his stepmother was the opposite.


Michael got new insights into their courtship and marriage when they wrote their book. He learned about Anne's early life in Germany, Paris, and her career before she met his father.

On Anne's 102nd birthday, Michael took to his Instagram to wish her a happy birthday from his family as he shared a photo he and his family took with Anne and Kirk.


Six days after Michael and his family wished Anne a happy birthday, she passed away. Michael took to his Instagram to pay his tributes in a video message. He said:

"You're maybe wondering, 'Well, she's not your mom. So what's the issue?' But Anne was my stepmother for 66 years, so that's a long time. And I adored her. She was a wonderful stepmother."

Michael stated that he had terrific stepparents from both his parents remarrying, and he came to realize that stepparents did not always get their due credit.


The stories about mean old stepparents usually overshadow the good ones like Anne. He further stated that there were stepparents who, out of love for their partners, raised their partner's kids as they raised their kids.

He said these stepparents make extraordinary efforts, and even with having so many days to celebrate so many things, there was no day to acknowledge great stepparents. 



Anne died on April 29, 2021, in the Beverly Hills home she shared with the "Paths of Glory" actor, her husband, for over six decades.

Before her death, Kirk, known for his rugged good looks, muscular intensity, and commanding presence, had passed away the previous year at their Beverly Hills home.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Douglas at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 24, 2013 | Source: Getty Images


He passed away at 103, and the "Spartacus" star was labeled one of the last surviving movie stars from Hollywood's golden age.

After his death in February 2020, Michael took to his Facebook page to pay tributes to his father. He called his father a legend and a humanitarian committed to justice and other causes.


Michael stated that Kirk may have been an icon to the world, but he was 'Dad' to his children, a wonderful father-in-law, a loving grandfather, and a wonderful husband. He said,

"Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad- I love you so much, and I am so proud to be your son."

For the tribute, Michael shared pictures of him and Kirk and pictures of Kirk, Anne, and the rest of the Douglas clan, including Kirk's grandchildren.


Upon the couple's passing, they left behind a philanthropic legacy, helping people with their charity works. In 2012, the couple announced pledges worth fifty million dollars to five nonprofit organizations.

The couple became inspired to give as they had both suffered hardships. While Kirk, the son of immigrants, suffered tough times in his youth, Anne, born into privilege, tasted hardship when the Second World War divided her family.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Douglas after their May 29th wedding in 1954 in Las Vegas | Source: Getty Images


Anne and Kirk had so many blessings and decided to give back, and giving back was a way to teach their children and grandchildren the lessons they had learned.

The goal of their foundation called "The Douglas Foundation" is to help those who cannot help themselves. The foundation focuses on improving education, and health, fostering well-being, and developing new opportunities for children.