A divorce doesn’t seem like it would be a joyful moment. For those that go down this route, it brings an end to a relationship that was meant to last forever. For one mega-celebrity, however, her divorce appeared to be a thrilling moment.
Although it is strange to remember, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise were once married. The pair met on the set of Days of Thunder and tied the knot in 1990, when Kidman was only 23 years old. They even share two adopted children: Isabella Jane and Connor Anthony.
In 2001, they officially split. Cruise was the one to file, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’, which left Kidman shocked. Speaking to People, she said, “Our life together was perfect. It took me a very long time to heal. It was a shock to my system. That was a great relationship. I think it ran its course. I was really damaged and not sure whether [love and marriage] was ever going to happen again to me.”
While we don’t know the reasons for the split, we do have these iconic images of Kidman leaving her attorney’s office after finalising the divorce. The photo has since become somewhat of a meme in pop culture, with many aspiring to the level of joy Kidman appeared to be experiencing in this moment.
While both have been incredibly tight-lipped about their breakup, Kidman has made some comments that shed a bit of life on this relationship of yesteryear.
According to the famed actress, she felt like she lived in Cruise’s shadow for the majority of their marriage as he was the bigger star at the time. This caused her to doubt herself.
“I became famous very young. 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,” she told US Weekly.
“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 an essay for New York Magazine, Kidman also said her marriage helped her survive in the industry.
“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. I would work, but I was still very much cocooned. When I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”
She also revealed that she suffered two miscarriages during the marriage.
Going Clear, an expose on the Church of Scientology, claims that the church was also a big factor in their split. According to the film, the Church of Scientology intimidated Cruise to divorce Kidman because her father is a psychologist, a practice the church does not believe in. She also reportedly tried to distance Cruise from the religion and was semi-successful until they intervened, claims the film.
Kidman has said that she will never truly speak on why they divorced out of respect for Cruise.
“I don’t want to take away from 11 years with that man that were really important. Really, for our kids — they were amidst a lot of love. It wasn’t bad. And now we’re amidst a more evolved love. I want to honour that marriage for what it was, and there is nothing I would go into about that. I have never discussed the intricacies of it and I never will,” she told People.
Since then, Kidman has found love again with country singer Keith Urban. They married in 2006 and they share two children together: Sunday Rose born naturally in 2008, and Faith Margaret born in 2011 via surrogate.
Her career rose to new heights following the split. She won a Golden Globe for her role in Moulin Rouge in 2002, and an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA for her starring role in Hours in 2003. Her most recent hit Big Little Lies is much-loved by critics, and she’s won many awards for it.
Cruise went on to marry actress Katie Holmes in 2006, and they share daughter Suri who was born the same year. They divorced in 2012.