In the nearly two decades since announcing their divorce, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman went from one of Hollywood’s most talked-about couples to its pair of most wondered-about exes.
What went wrong? Who was to blame? And what was life like inside one of the most famous marriages in the industry?
All we’ve been able to do since Cruise shocked his soon-to-be former wife with divorce papers in February 2001, mere weeks after they’d renewed their vows, bringing their decade together to its end, is speculate as both parties have been notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to the other. And it makes a bit of sense. After all, they both found new spouses in the years following their split—and no one wants to be the person who won’t stop talking about their ex when they’re basking in the glow of new love. Not to mention that, really, at the end of the day, it’s none of our business what went on behind closed doors anyway.
But something funny happened in the last months and, as Kidman’s career has ascended to a level of acclaim not even seen when she won her Oscar just two years after her divorce, she’s begun to open up. In fact, the Big Little Lies actress and burgeoning powerhouse producer has become more candid than ever, shedding some—not all, but some!—light onto her time with Cruise and her feelings now towards the marriage and her two adopted children with the A-list actor, Isabella and Connor.
Heading into award season with not one, but two prestige films—Boy Erased and Destroyer—in the mix, and with the highly-anticipated of BLL just around the corner next year, Kidman’s been hitting the press circuit with some regularity. And beginning with her July conversation with British magazine Tatler, she’s begun to let us into her world just a bit more. In that interview, the actress spoke about the ectopic pregnancy that tragically ended in miscarriage she endured early into her marriage with Cruise.
“I know the yearning. That yearning. It’s a huge, aching yearning. And the loss! The loss of a miscarriage is not talked about enough. That’s massive grief to certain women. There’s an enormous amount of pain and an enormous amount of joy on the other side of it,” Kidman told the publication. “The flipside of going through so much yearning and pain to get there is the feeling of ‘Ahhhh!’ when you have the child.”
Aside from adopting her two children with Cruise, Kidman would go on to welcome two children with husband Keith Urban, daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret. “It was a miracle because I’d not thought I’d be able to have [a baby] in my lifetime,” she said. “I’d had a lot of complications, and I don’t mind speaking about it because I think it takes the onus off it [for other women]. They told me I was probably not going to be able to have a child, a birth child. It was, ‘OK, that’s it.’ And then, out of blue…And that was Sunday. Sunday Rose appeared. So that’s a very, very powerful thing to happen.” Faith arrived two years later, via surrogate.
As summer gave way to fall, Kidman was asked to speak with New York Magazine‘s The Cut for an as-told-by essay in their “Women and Power” series. And in that October piece, she spoke about her marriage to Cruise for the first time in quite some time, revealing how it shielded her from much of the harassment endured by her fellow actresses during the ’90s. “I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me — it was protection. I married for love, but being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed,” she said. “I would work, but I was still very much cocooned. So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”
Appearing on Today a week later, Kidman had the chance to clarify exactly what she meant when it came to the protection her first marriage afforded her. “Because I was married at 23 years old, I wasn’t going to parties or I wasn’t going out a lot,” she said. “I was pretty much at home. I had my first child at 25 and I was a married — I was in a family. So my sense of being in the world was — I was working, or I was at home.”
“When I say ‘protection’ there is almost like a barrier,” Kidman explained further. “A lot of women don’t have that. A lot of people in the world don’t have that.”
During the sit-down with Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, Kidman also shed some light on why she’d been so loathe to talk about her time with Cruise since their split and especially since wedding Urban in 2006. “I don’t like discussing exes and all of that because I’m married,” she said. “I’m very happily married. I have two little girls and I feel it’s almost disrespectful one to Tom and disrespectful to Keith, so I try to stay in the here and now.”
Much as Kidman has avoided speaking about her ex in the press, she’s also been curiously shy when it comes to the topic of the children she shares with the man. As such, rumors surrounding the nature of her relationship with Isabella and Connor have run rampant in place of her on-the-record discussions of the now-adult children. But that all changed earlier this month when, speaking with Australia’s WHO magazine, she spoke about the children whom she hasn’t been photographed with publicly in more than a decade.
“I’m very private about all that. I have to protect all those relationships. I know 150 per cent that I would give up my life for my children because it’s what my purpose is,” she said of the 25-year-old Isabella and 23-year-old Connor who, like their father, practice Scientology. “They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions. They have made choices to be Scientologists and as a mother, it’s my job to love them.”
Echoing the message of tolerance preached by her new film Boy Erased, in which the actress plays the mother of a child sent to gay conversation therapy camp, Kidman continued: “I am an example of that tolerance and that’s what I believe—that no matter what your child does, the child has love and the child has to know there is available love and I’m open here. I think that’s so important because if that is taken away from a child, to sever that in any child, in any relationship, in any family—I believe it’s wrong. So that’s our job as a parent, to always offer unconditional love.”
While we’re not entirely sure what’s prompted Kidman’s newfound candid nature, we certainly welcome the window into her private world. And while we certainly respect her privacy, we only hope that, as she seems poised to be a major player in this year’s award season, she continues to drop these kernels of insight into a subject that has left us fascinated for so long.