‘Romancing The Stone’ Star Kathleen Turner Struggled With Life-Changing Health Challenges After Her Early Success

Jan 26, 2024 by apost team

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner have reunited to work together on the Netflix series “The Kominsky Method.” The two have been friends since the 1980s, first working together on films such as “Romancing the Stone” and “The War of the Roses.” Despite each having their own moments in the limelight, their on-screen chemistry remains undeniable

The series was created by Chuck Lorre, who has worked as a television director, producer, and writer and has also worked as an actor. Some of his other notable shows include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon,” “Mike & Molly,” and “Two and a Half Men.” “The Kominsky Method” premiered on Netflix in November 2018, with the second season airing the following year in October 2019. The show’s third and final season aired in 2021 and reunited two long-time friends for a bittersweet moment.

Douglas and Turner’s first collaboration was on “Romancing the Stone,” in which Douglas served as a producer and cast Turner as the ideal female lead. They have been able to work together again for a monumental moment in the history of the Netflix series, as well as in their time as friends. 

While Turner’s career has been colorful, the opposite can be said of her personal life, which has been marred by plenty of hardships and difficulties. Thankfully, she endured all of that, proving her tenacity more than anything. 

Read on to learn more about Turner, the ups and downs in her life, and how she managed to overcome everything that life has thrown her way. 

Kathleen Turner (date not given), (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)


Turner was born in June 1954 in Springfield, Missouri. She became prominent after a string of performances in the 1980s. She famously voiced Jessica Rabbit in the animated film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in 1988, as well as starring roles in films such as “Body Heat” in 1981, “Romancing the Stone” in 1984, and “The War of the Roses” in 1989.

Turner has received several accolades, including nominations for an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and multiple Golden Globe Awards.

Turner has also been a staunch feminist for all of her life, and she voiced her reason why in her 2008 memoir, “Send Yourself Roses.” 

“We are the first generation of women who are financially independent. Women are going back to work,” Turner shared, as quoted by The Guardian. “They’re reinventing themselves. I thought I could support that, even increase that. So it has got a lot of philosophy in it and a lot of my beliefs.”

However, Turner’s life was marred with struggles, particularly regarding her physical health. At one point in the 1990s, her hands swelled to the point that she couldn’t use them again – it was rheumatoid arthritis

“It was crippling,” she recalled of the distressing period to The Guardian. “You stop taking things for granted when you lose them, even temporarily. What I took for granted – my athleticism, my ability to throw myself around, and just be able to move however I wanted to. When I lost that, that was a real crisis of self: who am I if I cannot do this?”

Turner was “terrified” at the time, fearing she would be bound to a wheelchair for life and questioning if she could ever move or act again. Because of this, she turned to pills and alcohol to manage her pain. 


The idea of not being able to act and being physically disabled at the time was too much for Turner.

“I thought, ‘If I can’t move, I can’t act.’ Acting isn’t just what I want to do. I was born to do it. It’s at every point of my living. The idea of not being able to do it was the most frightening part – that and the constant pain,” she told The Daily Mail

Her excessive consumption of alcohol, particularly vodka, and pain pills led her to miss some of her shows in the early 2000s. Scared by her own decline, she entered herself into rehab, only to discover that she hadn’t yet reached the point where she was actually addicted. She was told to work on herself as well as switched to a then-newly developed medicine for her arthritis, which worked much better and with fewer side effects. While she recovered, it still left her with an adversity to alcohol, which she only drinks seldom and in small doses.

At one point in her life, Turner was briefly linked to Douglas during “Romancing the Stone,” with whom she reconnected while working on “The Kominsky Method.” 

Unbeknownst to many, Turner and Douglas’s relationship almost blossomed into something deeper.

“We were in the process of falling in love – fervent, longing looks and heavy flirtation. Then Diandra came down and reminded me he was still married,” Turned told The Daily Mail.

The friendship hit a standstill and Turner ended up marrying the property developer of the film, Jay Weiss in 1984. They had a daughter, Rachel Weiss in 1987. Sadly, as Turner tried to juggle her job and her motherhood duties, it became a struggle for her.

“I’d make the movie companies give me long weekends or provide extra tickets so my daughter and husband could come to me,” she told the outlet.

Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner (1985), (20th Century-Fox/Moviepix via Getty Images)

In 2005, Turner famously played Martha in the Broadway revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” where she was nominated for Best Actress in a Play at the Tony Awards. She also earned a nomination in the same category in 1980 for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” 

She explained to The Daily Mail that “there was a sense in the marriage” that Turner felt that the effort was “all” on Jay’s side, which made her feel “guilty.” 

“It was one of the reasons it ended. I started to feel very oppressed. I thought, ‘Hang on a minute, you’ve done very well out of being married to me also,’” she added. 

As she performed eight shows a week, her family life soured, and her daughter Rachel wanted no time with her when she was home from work. In 2007, she and Jay divorced. Since then, Turner’s acting career has progressed and she appeared on “Family Guy,” “Rick and Morty,” and she was awarded with the Grand Prix Special des Amériques at the Montréal World Film Festival in 2013 for her outstanding contribution in film. 

In 2018, Turner appeared on “The Kominsky Method” during the second season but signed on full-time for the third season. She and Douglas reconnected and rekindled their friendship behind the scenes, which has only added to their fantastic chemistry together in front of the camera. 

When asked how the dynamic between the two actors has worked so well over the years, Turner had this to say: “I don’t know that I can answer that. I’m not sure if Michael can either. But (series creator) Chuck Lorre has the smarts to see our rhythm and make use of it!”

Are you a fan of Kathleen Turner? What was your favorite performance of hers? What can you say about the challenges she faced in life? Do you know someone who has experienced the same thing? Let us know, and pass this on to your family, friends, and other loved ones!

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