Mar­riage to Cruise pro­vided pro­tec­tion

Kid­man says mar­ry­ing pow­er­ful man helped keep her from be­ing ha­rassed


Nicole Kid­man has avoided talk­ing about her 11-year mar­riage to Tom Cruise. Seven­teen years after the cou­ple split, we still don’t know ex­actly what caused their breakup.

But in a re­cent in­ter­view, Kid­man opened up about one as­pect of their re­la­tion­ship that she hasn’t dis­cussed be­fore — how be­ing mar­ried to a pow­er­ful man pro­tected her from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the kind of sex­ual abuse that more and more women in Hol­ly­wood are speak­ing up about.

“I got mar­ried very young, but it def­i­nitely wasn’t power for me — it was pro­tec­tion,” the 51-yearold ac­tress said to New York Mag­a­zine’s the Cut. “I mar­ried for love, but be­ing mar­ried to an ex­tremely pow­er­ful man kept me from be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed.”

De­scrib­ing her­self as “very much co­cooned” dur­ing her mar­riage, Kid­man said, “So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s al­most like I had to grow up.”

She also said she has ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual ha­rass­ment, but de­clined to go into de­tail. “Of course I’ve had #Me­Too mo­ments — since I was lit­tle!” she said. “But do I want to ex­pose them in an ar­ti­cle? No. Do they come out in my work? Ab­so­lutely.”

The Academy Award-win­ning ac­tress said: “I’m open and raw. I want to have my well of ex­pe­ri­ence and emo­tion tapped into, used — and I’m not just talk­ing about sex­ual ha­rass­ment. I’m talk­ing about loss, death, the full ar­ray of life. But it has to be by the right peo­ple so it’s not abused again.”

Kid­man and Cruise, who have two chil­dren to­gether, met on the set of 1990’s Days of Thun­der and mar­ried that same year, when she was 22 and he was 28.

The two split in 2001, with Cruise cit­ing ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences. In 2003, Kid­man won the Academy Award for best ac­tress for her per­for­mance in The Hours. She has been mar­ried to coun­try singer Keith Ur­ban since 2006.

In the piece, Kid­man said she gen­er­ally avoids talk­ing about her mar­riage to Cruise “be­cause I’m mar­ried now to the man who is my great love (Ur­ban), and it al­most feels dis­re­spect­ful.”

Kid­man spoke to the Cut as part of a spe­cial is­sue on women and power. The rare in­ter­view was an “as-told-to,” mean­ing it ap­pears in the style of a first-per­son es­say writ­ten by Kid­man but was drawn from in­ter­viewer Holly Mil­lea’s con­ver­sa­tion with the ac­tress.

She’ll prob­a­bly tap into her ex­pe­ri­ence with sex­ual ha­rass­ment in a yet-to-be-named film about Roger Ailes, the founder and for­mer chair­man of Fox News who re­signed in 2016 after al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct. Kid­man will play an­chor Gretchen Carl­son, who filed the sex­ual ha­rass­ment law­suit against Ailes that led to his down­fall.

It’s not the first time her work has touched on weighty is­sues of gen­dered abuse. In the 2017 HBO minis­eries Big Lit­tle Lies, Kid­man stars as Ce­leste Wright, a wealthy woman ex­pe­ri­enc­ing do­mes­tic abuse. The emo­tion­ally in­tense role lit­er­ally left her with bruises.

“I re­mem­ber ly­ing on the floor in the last episode, be­ing in my un­der­wear and hav­ing just been re­ally thrown around,” she said in a June 2017 round­table dis­cus­sion with the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter. “I just lay on the floor. I couldn’t get up. I didn’t want to get up.

“I just felt com­pletely hu­mil­i­ated and dev­as­tated,” she said. “And an­gry in­side. I went home and I threw a rock through a glass door.”


Nicole Kid­man says be­ing mar­ried to a Hol­ly­wood pow­er­house like Tom Cruise pro­tected her from sex­ual ha­rass­ment as a young ac­tress. The cou­ple is seen to­gether in 1999.

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