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Michael Douglas: Why He Fibbed About His Cancer Diagnosis

Yahoo Celebrity

Michael Douglas hasn't been shy about discussing his cancer battle. But he now admits that he wasn't always telling the truth.

In an incredibly candid new interview with Britain's ITV's daytime program "The Morning," the newly minted Emmy winner announced for the first time that he in fact had tongue cancer — not throat cancer — in 2010, but lied about it in order to help minimize the potential press fallout for the film he was working on at the time. The interview, conducted by special correspondent Samuel L. Jackson, was done in conjunction with the program's Male Cancer Awareness Week and for Jackson's "One for the Boys" campaign.

"This was right before I had to go on a big tour for 'Wall Street,' so we kind of said, 'There's no way we can cancel the tour and say we don't feel well … You've gotta tell them,'" Douglas revealed. "So, you know, I said, 'You've just got to come out and just tell them I've got cancer and that's that.'

"But the surgeon said, 'Let's just say it's throat cancer.' I said, 'OK, you don't want to say it's tongue cancer?' I said, 'Why's that?' And he said, 'Well, if you really want to know why, if we do have to have surgery it's not going to be pretty. You lose part of your jaw and your tongue and all of that stuff.' So I said, 'OK, sure. I'm with you.'"

Douglas, 69, went into great detail with Jackson about the moment he received his diagnosis in August 2010 from a doctor in Montreal. "I had an inkling ... particularly when I saw the look on his face, when he pushed my tongue down. … You get a little numb … very numb," he shared. "I said, 'Stage 4?' … That's where I got a little scared."

Douglas also explained the emotional impact that came along with having his children see misleading headlines in tabloids about his diagnosis, such as when the National Enquirer wrote that he had "three months to live." "We sat our kids and I said to them, 'I want you to know, there might some stories coming out about your mommy and I,' and my 13-year-old said, 'You mean the one that said you had three months to live?' And I said, 'Yeah, like that one Dylan.'"

The new revelation is Douglas's latest bombshell disclosure about his cancer fight. Back in May, he created a stir when he told the U.K.'s The Guardian that his cancer had been caused by the HPV virus.

And the actor has remained in the headlines since this summer, when he announced his separation from wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. However, in a cover story two weeks ago, People wrote that there is "new hope for their marriage." "We're working things out, talking," Douglas told the mag, "And we'll see how she goes."

Zeta-Jones has had her own health struggles in recent years battling bipolar disorder, for which she checked herself back into rehab to receive treatment this past April. She's said she'll continue to periodically return to rehab throughout her lifetime. Both actors have indicated that the stress of Douglas's cancer and Zeta-Jones's mental health has contributed to their trial separation.

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