"It blows my mind we're not more confrontational," she says of Michael Douglas

By Lesley Messer
Updated July 27, 2007 12:00 PM

Catherine Zeta-Jones says chopping and sautéing didn’t come easily for her as she played a high-powered chef in No Reservations. “It was intimidating at first because I never realized what goes on behind those flippy-floppy kitchen doors,” the actress, 37, tells PEOPLE. But her role at the stove was just one the many parts of her life that PEOPLE.com readers were curious to know. Hundreds of you wrote in to ask the star about her new movie, marriage and how she stays glam – and here are some of her answers.

Congrats to you and Michael Douglas on your loving and successful marriage! How do you keep it fresh?Jennifer Parks, Portage, Mich.
Aw, that’s nice. Well, we’re kind to each other. We respect each other. We spend a considerable amount of time together and sometimes it blows my mind that we’re not more confrontational or more snappy! If you can’t be kind to the person you love most of all in the world, who do you want to be kind and respectful to?

How do you keep your skin in such amazing condition?Melissa Joslin, Clovis, Calif.
My mother always told me that no matter how late it is, you take your makeup off. Take it off! And I don’t wear as much makeup as I do when I’m on TV. They put the powder on so I’ll be shining, which drives me nuts! In No Reservations, I don’t wear that much makeup, which was a really different thing for me. Usually it’s like, “Is she out of hair and makeup yet?” But it was a quick fix on this one. It was actually quite refreshing.

We all hear how stars like certain perks while they’re on a movie set. What is one perk that you request?Heidi D’Amico, Germantown, Md.
I’m pretty easy on the movie set actually. I think it comes from all those years being in theater. I’m not a grandiose movie star at all. But I always like to know when lunch is going to be. It’s really important for me because I start getting the shakes when my blood sugar goes down so, I get really upset if lunch doesn’t happen when it’s supposed to happen.

How did you prepare for your role in No Reservations?

Emile Jasperson, Newmarket, Canada
I started off very slowly in an Italian restaurant in New York [called Fiamma]. I spent hours learning to chop, toss and flick and how to move with the sous-chefs without bumping into them and knocking the plates off and out of their hands. I also learned to dress and beautify the [dish] with the final preparations. It’s the pretty girly stuff that I ended up being really good at.

What do you use to keep you hair looking so healthy?Javeed Lubna, Fort Worth, Texas
I live in Bermuda and I swim a lot so I’m constantly walking around with wet hair filled with conditioner. I do that all the time. A regular conditioner, brush it through, tie it up and then have it chopped a lot, just to keep off those ends. I had it done yesterday. I work with some of the best hairdressers in the world so you’ve got to be honest and say, “You know what? It’s not all my doing.”

I’ve read that you are a big golfer! I, too, love to play, but am just learning. What advice do you have for teenagers, like myself, looking to get into the game?Josie Johnston, Santa Barbara, Calif.
I adore playing golf! If I had to give advice, it’s don’t get into bad habits too early. Take a lesson so you know the correct way to hold the club, to stand, to do your backswing. Once you start getting into trouble, go get somebody who can do a quick fix and then you haven’t got to spend years like me trying to undo bad habits.

What is the best thing about being a mother?Tracy Liu, Toronto
The best thing about being a mother is having those little beautiful faces look up to you and say, “Mama!”

For more of Catherine Zeta-Jones’s interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now.