Before Nicole Kidman married her soulmate, Keith Urban, she had to go through a heart-breaking divorce with Tom Cruise that forced her to grow up.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 19, 2022. It has since been updated.
Young love can be so beautiful and wonderous. It makes you believe in the dream of growing old together and sharing a lifetime of memories. And for actress Nicole Kidman, that is what she saw with fellow actor Tom Cruise. However, that dream came crashing down when her marriage to him came to an end. Suddenly alone, Kidman was left dealing with an extremely difficult phase in her life, one that, as painful as it might've been, helped her grow up and mature. And this journey of hers first began when she laid eyes on the handsome Top Gun actor.
In 1990, 22-year-old Nicole Kidman fell head over heels for 28-year-old Tom Cruise while they were shooting together for Days of Thunder. The Australian actress told the BBC, "I was lucky at 22 that I met somebody who fascinated me, amazed me, who could keep me interested," quoted Us Weekly. She explained, "I walked in [to the Days of Thunder audition] and [Tom] was the one that stood up and shook my hand. And I just remember…electricity going through me."
In what was a whirlwind romance, the two married in December 1990, becoming one of Hollywood's most powerful couples. While to the public, they looked like they had it all, behind the scenes, it wasn't a bed of roses. Speaking to Vanity Fair long after her divorce, the Eyes Wide Shut actress said, “There is something about that sort of existence that, if you really focus on each other and you’re in that bubble, it’s very intoxicating, because it’s just the two of you. And there is only one other person that’s going through it. So it brings you very close, and it’s deeply romantic. I’m sure Brad and Angelina have that—because there’s nobody else that understands it except that person who’s sleeping right next to you.”
“I fell madly, passionately in love,” the mother-of-four told DuJour magazine, according to People. “I was reeling with Tom. I would have gone to the ends of the earth for him.”
"I became famous very young," she told Marie Claire in March 2011, according to Us Weekly. "I became very famous because I was the wife of somebody. I felt I became a star only by association. I didn't think (my early movies) were very good, which is why I would always cower in the background," the actress confessed. "I thought, I don't deserve to be here. We would go to the Oscars and I would think, I'm here to support him. I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and to be seen and not heard."
"In those early years, it was like, 'I'm here and I’m clutching onto your arm, and it all feels a little overwhelming and really strange...' I was shy. Deeply shy," she told Harper's Bazaar, cited Guff. And the differences between the two started to create a rift, one that caused their eventual divorce in 2000. "It took me a very long time to heal," said the Big Little Lies actress. "It was a shock to my system."
Though she may have risen in the ranks of celebrities, there wasn't much that could fill the hole inside her after the divorce. And she knew it especially after she won her first Academy Award in 2003 for The Hours, where she said the award "can show you the emptiness of your own life, which is kind of what it showed me."
“I wasn’t able to handle the reality of my life and as an actor, you have this wonderful thing where you can go and get lost in somebody else’s life and become somebody else for a period of time. And when I look back on it, I really see that." When she won an Oscar, the now 52-year-old thought about what it meant for her — "...this is not the answer. I was sitting in the Beverly Hills Hotel with a gold statue and I was the loneliest I'd ever been. I was jolted out of the idea that this is gonna heal me," said the award-winning actress, reported Guff.
She even revealed to Who magazine, "There were times following [the divorce] when I thought, 'Wow, this is the loneliest, loneliest existence'," reported E!Online. "I was really damaged and not sure whether [love and marriage] was ever going to happen again to me," she told Marie Claire.
“I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I’m like, ‘What?’” Kidman revealed to Red magazine. She said, according to The Hollywood Reporter of her time after the divorce, "I had a lot of time alone, which was really, really good, because I was a child, really, when I got married. And I needed to grow up." So when she met Keith Urban, she was older, wiser and a lot more in control of her life.
And now, the actress is happily married for the last 13 years to the love of her life and has two children with him. When she met the singer, “My life changed,” says Kidman who loves this "wonderful, caring man” who makes her feel secure, according to People.
Well, here's to a mended heart, lots of love and a happily married life and family.