'I wanted to QUIT’

On her four chil­dren, Tom’s pro­tec­tion and life af­ter 50

WHO - - Exclusive - By Jenny Cooney Car­rillo and Abi Moustafa

Ni­cole Kid­man’s re­la­tion­ship with ex-hus­band Tom Cruise has been a sub­ject of at­ten­tion af­ter she con­firmed she felt “pro­tected” by him dur­ing their 11-year mar­riage when her ac­tress friends were often tar­geted by pow­er­ful men in Hol­ly­wood. “I didn’t work as much, so I wasn’t out there a lot. Also, a lot of times when I was work­ing, Tom was there. So that’s the truth of it,” the 51-year-old ac­tress tells WHO. “I don’t know why the cul­ture is set up like that and we aren’t just pro­tected any­way, but it’s in­ter­est­ing that the power of an­other man gives you re­spect,” the Boy Erased star con­tin­ued.

Speak­ing can­didly about her two adopted chil­dren with Cruise, Is­abella, 25, and Con­nor, 23 – who prac­tise Scien­tol­ogy – Kid­man says, “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. And 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.”

Kid­man’s hus­band –New Zealand-born coun­try mu­sic star Keith Ur­ban – turned 51 on Oct. 26 and they cel­e­brated to­gether in Nashville. “We loved him up,” she says. “He got loved up be­cause he is a sim­ple guy and it

doesn’t take much for Keith to be happy, which is a lovely thing to say about some­one, right?”

Adamant she’s just “a hu­man be­ing that loves pro­tec­tion”, Kid­man adds, “I of­fer it and re­ceive it. And when I say pro­tec­tion, for me, pro­tec­tion is love and pro­tec­tion is, ‘I’ll stand up and sup­port you and stand by your side and go to the line for you.’ And I would hope that I have a huge num­ber of friends who would do it for me, too, and I of­fer it back,” she says.

While she val­ues her friend­ships with high-pro­file stars, Kid­man main­tains she is most pro­tec­tive of her chil­dren: Is­abella, Con­nor, and Sun­day Rose, 10, and Faith Mar­garet, 7, whom she shares with Ur­ban. “I cir­cle roles as moth­ers now be­cause the love of a mother and what you’re will­ing to do to pro­tect your child is so com­pelling for me to ex­plore. The way you sac­ri­fice your­self, your life, what­ever you have to do for your child.”

The mother-of-four says her in­stincts can make her puz­zled. “I get con­fused as to what my in­stincts are and I some­times find it hard to lis­ten to my gut be­cause I have the abil­ity to shift and see dif­fer­ent points of view, be­cause I am an ac­tor and that’s what I do! But right now, I am try­ing to teach my chil­dren to trust their guts and their in­stinct, on peo­ple and sit­u­a­tions, be­cause if you can learn to go, ‘this feels dan­ger­ous’ or ‘this per­son feels like they’ve got my best in­ter­est,’ a lot of time that first in­stinct is right.”

Kid­man is no­to­ri­ously pri­vate about Is­abella and Con­nor. “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 con­cedes per­haps her big­gest chal­lenge is be­ing too at­tached to her off­spring. “I’m ex­tremely at­tached! That’s just my per­son­al­ity. I’m a deeply at­tached per­son and I know you are meant to be de­tached with love, but I’m at­tached. That’s part of my thing that I have to work on, not be­ing overly at­tached.

“I think some of us strug­gle as par­ents be­cause we’ve also got to let them fall and let them have some pain and not fix ev­ery­thing or run in and pro­tect and heli­copter par­ent. That’s the hard­est thing in the world.”

When asked if she’d con­sider hav­ing a fifth child, the Boy Erased ac­tress says, “I would love to have had more.” And while on the sub­ject, she adds, “Noth­ing is ever to­tally out of the ques­tion, but in terms of what we can man­age. But I’m happy to have the fam­ily I have. I didn’t think I’d have the mir­a­cle of these girls and at the age I was, I was able to have them. That was a mir­a­cle and I don’t for­get that when I wish I had more.”

Even so, life af­ter 50 is filled with prom­ise for the star who’d all but given up her ca­reer. “I was at a point prob­a­bly about a decade ago where I wanted to quit. I’m lucky I have the mother who goes, ‘No, hold on to your ca­reer be­cause you’re go­ing to want that at some point; you are cre­ative.’ I told her I was happy to sit here and I’d worked my whole life and I just wanted to sit and smell the roses, and my mum in­sisted I still needed to be out there do­ing what I do and shar­ing my artis­tic voice. And that’s when I did Rab­bit Hole [2010] so even though it looks like all of this just hap­pened for me, that was a lot to get it made and that gave me a lit­tle en­cour­age­ment to go down that road.”

It’s a good thing she kept go­ing, be­cause the Hol­ly­wood star has been nom­i­nated for an AACTA for her sup­port­ing role in Boy Erased along­side Rus­sell Crowe. “Get­ting nom­i­nated by my peers in Aus­tralia feels like such an amaz­ing ac­knowl­edge­ment and I feel so much a part of Aus­tralia and ev­ery­thing com­ing out of it. It also feels amaz­ing to have had last year with Top of the Lake and to be in an Aus­tralian film, Lion, be­cause it’s still a huge part of who I am and who I want to be. Even though I play an Amer­i­can in Boy Erased, I was happy to be able to sup­port [di­rec­tor] Joel [Edger­ton] – that was re­ally im­por­tant for both Rus­sell and me, be­cause he’s one of our own and I think that is also a very Aus­tralian trait: we are all very tight and for me to be hon­oured in this way, with an AACTA nom­i­na­tion, hav­ing been part of that in­dus­try since I was 14 years old, it makes me so grate­ful.”

So at this point in her ca­reer, she has no plans to stop. “Right now, we are the trail­blaz­ers for the next gen­er­a­tion be­cause we are go­ing, ‘Hey, we’re still here, we’re to­tally en­gaged and we’ve got things we’re will­ing to share!’ We want to nur­ture and be part of our com­mu­nity and help the next gen­er­a­tion and keep it alive!”

“I would love to have had more [chil­dren]”

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