Michael Douglas has pre-emptively denied a potential claim that he harassed a former employee 32 years ago.

The 73-year-old actor has admitted he ''felt the need to get ahead of'' the ''cautionary tale'' by speaking out after he was approached for comment on a number of claims she had made against him, including that he touched himself in front of her, ''spoke raunchily'' with pals and ''blackballed her''.

He told Deadline: ''She claims that, one, I used colourful language in front of her, not at her, but that I used colourful language.

''Two, she claims that in conversations I had in front of her, on the phone, that I spoke raunchily, or dirtily with friends of mine, in private conversations.

''I fired her eventually, for the work she was doing, but three, she claims that I blackballed her from the industry and stopped her form getting another job.

''And then, four, she claims that I masturbated in front of her.''

The 'Fatal Attraction' star has apologised for using bad language in front of the employee but insists he did not blackball her and it is a ''complete lie'' that he touched himself in front of her.

He said: ''I don't know where to begin. This is a complete lie, fabrication, no truth to it whatsoever.''

Michael - who was approached by The Hollywood Reporter, who provided the woman's claims to him - also admitted he has found the allegations ''extremely painful'' to deal with, particularly because his children are ''really upset'' and ''scared'' about the claims.

He added: ''It's extremely painful. I pride myself on my reputation in this business, not to mention the long history of my father and everything else.

''I don't have skeletons in my closet, or anyone else who's coming out or saying this. I'm bewildered why, after 32 years, this is coming out, now.

''As I say, I will fess up to colourful language, but the issue of masturbating in front of her? That rung is something I've only heard about the last year. It's not an expression that related to the '80s.

''So I thought it stunk. And I tried to figure out, why the hell would somebody do this? The part that hurt the worst is having to share something like this to your wife and your children.

''My kids are really upset, has to go to school worrying this is going to be in some article about me, being a sexual harasser. They're scared and very uncomfortable.''

Michael - who has children Dylan, 17, and Carys, 14, with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as Cameron, 39, with ex-wife Diandra - also insisted he supports the #MeToo movement, which has seen numerous people, including several celebrities, take a stand against sexual harassment on social media.

He said: ''Look, I support the #MeToo movement with all my heart. I have always supported women, along the way. This is the kind of step that can set that movement back. Being accused, without a chance [to defend yourself] in court.''