Barbara Walters says her good friend Michael Douglas personally reached out to her to emphasize that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones never had the virus that can cause the type of throat cancer he was treated for in the past.
Walters addressed the topic on Wednesday's edition of The View after a flurry of media stories over the past few days sparked by quotes by Douglas in the British newspaper The Guardian. In the article, the 68-year-old Behind the Candelabra star is quoted as stating that one possible cause for oral cancers could be the HPV (human papillomavirus) virus, which can be transmitted through oral sex.
"Michael would like it to be known that his wife Catherine is healthy. She does not have the HPV virus," Walters told her co-hosts and audience. "He doesn't know how he got cancer. He does not want anyone to think that it was from Catherine."
She added: "He is happy that (the media attention) is raising awareness about HPV, and that it is prompting some parents with teenage children to get the HPV vaccine for them."
The Guardian quoted Douglas as attributing his own throat cancer to the HPV virus received from performing oral sex. "Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes from cunnilingus," he was quoted as saying.
A rep for the actor later clarified that Douglas did not state that his own cancer was actually caused by the HPV virus via oral sex, but that he was instead discussing various causes of oral cancers.