SHE is an Oscar-winner whose new movie role as a mum who takes in an orphaned child echoes her own once-turbulent private life.
But now Nicole Kidman’s life has turned around — she finally has an amicable relationship with her former husband Tom Cruise and is trying to heal rifts with her eldest children.
Nicole Kidman says her children with Tom Cruise may have chosen him and Scientology, but she’s here for them[/caption]
The Aussie actress, whose new film The Goldfinch is out this week, adopted children Isabella, 26, and Connor, 24, with Hollywood icon Tom but grew apart from them when they followed their dad into the controversial Church of Scientology.
Now though, Nicole says: “Motherhood is about the journey. There are going to be incredible peaks and valleys, whether you are an adopting mother or a birth mother. What a child needs is love.
“They have made choices to be Scientologists. It’s our job as a parent to always offer unconditional love.”
Nicole was rumoured to have been banned from her son’s wedding to fiancée Silvia, leader of the Italian arm of the Scientology church.
And she once had little contact with Isabella, who is married and moved into a relatively modest £500,000 semi in Croydon, South London, two years ago.
Yet finally Nicole — who also has two daughters with her second husband, country musician Keith Urban — believes she has come to terms with her kids’ lives.
The actress, 52, said: “It’s not about anything else other than, ‘I’m here to love and support you’.”
Despite their split in 2001, Nicole insists she married Mission: Impossible star Tom “for love”. The actress — whose character Samantha takes in an orphaned teenager in The Goldfinch — met Tom in 1989 while filming race car movie Days Of Thunder. They wed on Christmas Eve 1990.
She said: “He swept me off my feet. I fell madly, passionately in love. And as happens, my whole plan in terms of what I wanted for my life, I was like, ‘Forget it. This is it.’ I was consumed by it, willingly.
“I always make choices for love and everything kind of had to fall in place around that.”
Nicole now acknowledges that at 23 she probably should have waited to get married. She said: “I was so young. I look back now and I’m like, ‘What?’ I had two kids by the time I was 27 and I’d been married for four years. But that’s what I wanted.”
The couple adopted Isabella and Connor but split in 2001. Nicole moved back to her native Australia and the children chose to stay with Dad and have been immersed in the cult-like Scientology movement ever since.
This year Isabella, who is wed to IT consultant Max Parker, was branded a Scientology poster girl after proclaiming in an advert for the religion that it had “saved her life”. Meanwhile, her brother Connor lives in The Sandcastle, a luxury Florida compound owned by the Scientology church.
Nicole praised her close-knit bunch of friends for helping her through the dark days.
She said: “My girlfriends’ saving my life is true. Like, picking me up off the ground and just being there.
“When I’ve not known what to do, my girlfriends have stepped in, going, ‘This is what’s going to happen, and we’re organising this’.
“I can’t even think, I can’t even operate, and I can’t stop crying, and they’re like, ‘Don’t worry. We’ve got it covered’. It makes me cry with gratitude.”
Nicole, who now lives in Nashville with Keith, 51, and their daughters Sunday Rose, 11, and Faith Margaret, eight, said being a mum has “made her life whole”.
And she insists she will never give up on her eldest two children. In one interview, she said: “Parenting is about learning who they are, not making them what you want them to be — letting them find their way then supporting them. It’s rigorous. You’re constantly looking at yourself, so you’re not placing these expectations on a child.”
Eighteen years on from her split with Tom, Nicole has today become one of Holly-wood’s highest-paid actresses, worth about £96million.
Two years after her divorce, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Hours and in recent years has received accolades for her role as Celeste in the hit TV series Big Little Lies.
Though happily married to Keith, she admits she thrives when challenged. She said: “My mother would always say, ‘Don’t let anyone break your spirit’. I come from a psychology that when you fall, you get back up. I will rarely run away from something that frightens me, even though I am easily frightened.”
But she added: “I like to put myself in a place of not feeling I am in a comfortable place. It has always been like that, even when I was a kid.
“I’ve never really made plans. I’ve always operated from a spontaneous place and at times that works for me and sometimes I fall flat on my face.
Nicole is now happily married to country singer Keith Urban[/caption]
Then I go, ‘I’ve really got to think about things more’. But that’s not really my nature. I am far more, ‘Yeah, let’s give it a go’.
“I did it as a kid — I got on a plane and backpacked through Europe when I was 17, because it felt like a good idea at the time. I got married quick, I mean all that stuff I do quick.
“I like not knowing where I’m going to go next or what’s going to happen. Now that I’m older, time is more precious. There isn’t endless time.”
Aside from the trials of parenting, Nicole feels pressure to look beautiful and also appear as a “kick-ass” woman on screen.
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She said: “A lot of times if you are going to be a female in an action film, they want you to look gorgeous, be bad-ass, be capable of firing guns and doing high-kicks and still having lipstick and being svelte and being in a whole different class of action hero.”
Now Nicole, who just finished starring in and producing the second series of Sky show Big Little Lies, takes pride in championing fellow women on screen.
She said: “I don’t know another show that has six female leads. Most times, you’ll get two. We want it to be a satisfying, fantastic experience for everyone. And with that comes enormous responsibility.”
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