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Nicole Kidman says playing Virginia Woolf aggravated her depression after getting divorced

Nicole Kidman has opened up about the profound impact that her role as Virginia Woolf in the film “The Hours” had on her mental health, particularly in the wake of her divorce from Tom Cruise.

Despite receiving an Oscar for her exceptional performance, Kidman revealed that delving into Woolf’s character took her to a dark and depressive place shortly after her divorce from Cruise, with whom she had been married for 11 years.

In a candid interview on Radio 4’s This Cultural Life, a BBC program, the 54-year-old actress admitted that she felt disconnected from herself during the filming process. She described it as if she wasn’t inhabiting her own body but had become a vessel for Woolf’s thoughts and emotions.

During the interview, Kidman discussed how deeply she immersed herself in the role, referencing a pivotal scene in the film where Woolf takes her own life in the River Ouse near her Sussex home. Kidman recounted how she, in character, placed rocks in her pockets and entered the river, emphasizing that she might not have fully comprehended the danger involved at the time. She acknowledged that she allowed Virginia Woolf’s essence to flow through her, crediting director Stephen Daldry for his sensitivity and understanding throughout the process.

Kidman regarded this receptivity to her character as one of the unique and beautiful aspects of an actor’s life—a willingness to become a conduit for the emotions and experiences of the roles they portray.

In addition to discussing her portrayal of Woolf, Kidman also shared insights into her own mental health journey, emphasizing that she has navigated various emotional landscapes, including loss and joy, throughout her life. She expressed a newfound awareness of time and a sense of closeness to some of the world’s most brilliant minds, highlighting the value of personal growth and evolution.

Reflecting on the end of her marriage to Tom Cruise, with whom she shares two adopted children, Bella and Connor, Kidman acknowledged in a 2012 interview with Who magazine that she had grappled with depression during that period. She noted that this experience had been a crucial part of her personal growth. Kidman also disclosed her struggles with fertility and the despair she felt when fertility treatments failed and she experienced multiple miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy.

However, her journey ultimately led to joy when, in 2008, she and her current husband, singer Keith Urban, welcomed their biological daughter, Sunday Rose. In 2010, they expanded their family further through surrogacy with the arrival of their daughter, Faith Margaret. Kidman’s openness about her experiences serves as a testament to her resilience and growth as an individual.