Veteran actor Michael Douglas has risked the wrath of his ex-wife Diandra after insisting they should have split almost a decade before they actually parted ways in 1995.

The couple, which wed in 1977, spent the final years of its union attempting to salvage its relationship with the help of a marriage counsellor, but the Wall Street star suggests the sessions were pointless - because they already knew they had fallen out of love.

He tells Britain's The Mirror newspaper, "I know I'm going to get into trouble here. I have nothing against her and in fact I'm very fond of my first wife. But we should have ended that marriage eight or 10 years earlier.

"It took me too long to realise that if you go to a marriage counsellor to resolve problems, it's in his interest to keep the marriage going. Because if I end the marriage he's got no business... I think Diandra would probably say the same thing. That's the only clear regret that I have."

Douglas' divorce from Diandra dragged on for five years and was only finalised in 2000, when she was awarded a $45 million (£30 million) settlement.

Douglas went on to wed Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones later that year (00).

Diandra is the mother of the actor's eldest son, Cameron, who is currently incarcerated for drug possession charges.