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.