"This is a rough time for him, for them both," says a friend

By Sharon Cotliar
September 03, 2013 06:00 PM
Credit: Francois Durand/Getty

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones may be an ocean apart – he’s in Europe promoting his role in Behind the Candelabra and she’s in New York with their kids – but they seem to be on the same page about how to handle their separation: Both are maintaining a brave face.

“She’s determined that it be life as usual [for the kids],” says a source, who noted that Zeta-Jones has been horseback riding and swimming with their kids, Dylan, 13, and Carys, 10, during these last days of summer.

And Douglas appeared upbeat, as he walked the red carpet and greeted fans at the Deauville Film Festival this weekend. Asked about his marriage Monday, he said, “My wife and I are fine. We [are taking] a temporary separation,” he said, dismissing the idea there was a crisis in his marriage.

When asked how he was feeling – after PEOPLE broke the news that the couple are “taking a break” – Douglas said simply, “Good, thank you.” And when another asked if there was a chance everything will work out, he said, “Of course.”

He didn’t comment further, and he didn’t face any other questions about his marriage, though reps for both stars confirmed last week that the couple are “taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage” after nearly 13 years together.

A friend who spent time with Douglas in France told PEOPLE, “This is a rough time for him, for them both.”

Still, Douglas seemed buoyed by fans’ reaction to his work in Behind the Candelabra. “Being here … seeing the fans, having crowds around him, has been a tonic for him,” said the friend.

And Douglas appeared upbeat as he attended the GQ Men of the Year awards in London on Tuesday, his movie’s Berlin premiere on Monday and the Deauville Film Festival in France this weekend.