London: Cancer survivor Michael Douglas has claimed that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones broke down under the stress of his illness because of her “Welsh background”.

The 66-year-old actor said his wife’s Welsh background meant that she bottled everything up and was overcome with emotion when he was given the all-clear, the Daily Mail reported.

While he just “got on with it”, Zeta-Jones remained stoic throughout and just stored up problems for herself.

The ‘Chicago’ star checked into a rehabilitation clinic for five days earlier this month where she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder brought on by the strain of Douglas’ battle with throat cancer.

“I think that part of Catherine’s whole background, she’s Welsh and the Welsh it’s all stiff upper lip, not let your feelings show,” Douglas said.

Speaking on the Oprah Winfrey show Douglas agreed that his health problems had “exacerbated Zeta-Jones” plight.

“In my last year and a half my oldest son is in federal prison, my ex-wife is suing me, and I got cancer. It’s kind of hard for the wife to say, ‘I’m depressed,” Douglas said.

Douglas, however, is proud of his wife for seeking treatment for her condition.

“She’s great now, she’s shooting a movie and she’s relived she has a much better understanding because this was not something where she was clearly aware of what was going on,” he said.