Michael Douglas felt sorry for wife Catherine Zeta-Jones when they first got married.
The 'Fatal Attraction' star wed the actress in 2000 but admits they were both hurt by the criticism aimed at them because of their 25-year age gap.
He said: "It was thrown up at you constantly. I felt bad for her."
Following their wedding, the couple - who have two children, Dylan, nine, and six-year-old Carys - moved to Bermuda, where they could escape the media spotlight although they have since moved back to New York.
Michael - who has a 31-year-old son, Cameron, from his first marriage to Diandra Luker - says being a divorcee has made him realise how you make a marriage work.
He told Vanity Fair magazine: "We always tend to be kinder or make more of an effort to strangers than we do to the person closest to us."
The 65-year-old actor has previously said he isn't concerned about the age difference between him and 40-year-old Catherine especially with the advances in medication.
He said: "At least in your head, your fire burns as brightly. Let's not kid ourselves. But God bless her that she likes older guys. And some wonderful enhancements have happened in the last few years - Viagra, Cialis - that can make us all feel younger."