Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman seemed like a match made in heaven. How did it all go so wrong?
Love at first jaw-drop
Days of Thunder, nights of worry...
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman seemed like a match made in heaven.
How did it all go so wrong?
In 1989, Nicole Kidman was an up-and-coming 22-year-old who just scored her big break with the thriller Dead Calm.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise was a 27-year-old seasoned A-lister, hot off the success of Oliver Stone's anti-war film Born on the Fourth of July.
Cruise saw Kidman in her breakthrough role and was intent on meeting her.
According to Vanity Fair, the Aussie actor was in the midst of a press junket in Tokyo when she got a call from the superstar's team.
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Kidman told Vanity Fair,
"I thought, Wow!This is America!Tom Cruise wants to meet me."
She subsequently auditioned for a role alongside Cruise in Days of Thunder.
Kidman never thought she'd get married, largely due to the influence of her ardent feminist mother.
But when she set eyes on Cruise during her audition, she was smitten.
Speaking about that fateful first encounter, Kidman told People,
"I remember being so nervous and seeing Tom Cruise drive up in a Porsche [...] He got out of the car and walked through and I was like, 'Ah.' My jaw dropped."
Cruise fell head over heels for his co-star.
For Kidman, the feeling was mutual.
But there was a problem: Cruise was still married to his first wife, fellow actor Mimi Rogers.
The couple divorced the following year and thus began a Hollywood romance for the ages.
Pressure of marriage
At the tender age of 23, Nicole Kidman tied the knot with Tom Cruise, then 28.
The couple celebrated their nuptials in a cozy ceremony under the Colorado sun.
On reflection, Kidman believes that she was far too youthful to devote herself to one person.
The actress told Today,
"I was so young when I got married.I look back now and I'm like, 'What?'"
But settling down at a young age wasn't all bad.
Speaking with the BBC in 1998, Kidman acknowledged that she was lucky to have found such a profound
and powerful love at such a young age.
As she later told the Evening Standard,
"I was a baby when I married Tom, but I don't regret any of it."
Couldn't have biological children
When Nicole Kidman first met Tom Cruise, her initial desire was not to marry him but to
have his babies.
In 2002, she conceded to Vanity Fair,
"I was desperate to have a baby with him [...] That's what I wish I'd done."
Sadly, the couple struggled to conceive.
Opening up to Marie Claire about one of the darkest periods in her life, Kidman revealed that she had an ectopic pregnancy at the start of the couple's marriage, followed by a miscarriage years later.
Kidman lamented to the outlet:
"It was incredibly traumatic for me."
Following their bereavement, the couple was met with more devastating news — it was unlikely they would ever be able to have biological children.
Kidman poignantly reflected Tatler,
"That yearning.It's a huge, aching yearning [...] The loss of a miscarriage is not talked about enough.That's massive grief to certain women."
Coming to terms with the painful reality, the couple decided to adopt two children,
Isabella and Connor Cruise.
In order to give their kids a healthy upbringing, the couple would alternate their work schedules.
As Kidman revealed to the Los Angeles Times in 1995, she worked in London while her husband stayed at home to take care of the kids, which led to sexist jibes from the British press.
Speaking with Vanity Fair the following year, Tom emphasized the importance of shielding his children from the Hollywood limelight.
It's been alleged that Scientology was as instrumental in setting up Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's marriage as it was in orchestrating their divorce.
In his explosive Scientology exposé, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright alleged that Scientology leader David Miscavige had facilitated Cruise's
break up with his first wife Mimi Rogers so the actor could wed Kidman, with whom he had fallen in love.
Though Rogers was also a Scientologist, she was apparently expendable.
Tom Cruise was prioritized as the future of the controversial church — so were his desires.
Getting Kidman on board with the Church's doctrine was no easy feat.
Miscavige was agitated by her Catholicism and deemed her to be trouble.
Indeed, a source suggested to People that Kidman wasn't keen on converting to Scientology.
The church, who famously opposes psychiatric treatments, also allegedly didn't look kindly upon the profession of Kidman's father, a respected psychologist.
Regardless of Kidman's reservations, Isabella and Connor were raised as Scientologists and they remained with the organization long after their mom's divorce from Cruise
According to the HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the Church allegedly used aggressive intimidation tactics to tear apart the Hollywood sweethearts.
Both actors reportedly refused to be interviewed for the film, and neither responded to the claims.
Eyes Wide Shut
Having met while making Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman played on-screen lovers yet again in the 1992 romance Far and Away — notable for featuring some of the worst Irish accents in cinematic history.
But it was the power couple's third and final on-screen pairing that truly sent the media into a frenzy.
Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was renowned for its eroticism.
A short, steamy promo featuring the couple passionately kissing while watching each other in a mirror understandably caused a stir upon release.
The film's shoot, which was supposed to last 6 months but ended up taking 15 months, provided an uncomfortable lens into the couple's marriage.
Speaking about the lines between reality and fiction becoming blurred for the movie, Kidman told The Hollywood Reporter,
"[Kubrick] used the movie as a provocation, pretending it was our sex life — which we weren't oblivious to, but obviously, it wasn't us."
Did Tom cheat?
The new millennium would spell the beginning of the end of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's marriage.
In 2000, Cruise began filming Vanilla Sky with Penelope Cruz, and soon after he was seen getting cozy with his enigmatic co-star.
However, some thought the timeline of the hook-up seemed suspect.
Cruise didn't divorce Kidman until 2001, despite having spent the entirety of the Vanilla Sky shoot with Cruz.
There were rumors that the duo had begun a tryst on set.
When Kidman heard of the alleged affair, she was reportedly devastated.
An insider told People,
"Nicole was just totally in shock.She said, 'He flat-out swore to me up and down that there was nothing going on.'All this time she's been wondering why the marriage ended, and this could be it."
The new couple made it red carpet official just a week after Cruise and Kidman had announced their divorce.
Still, Cruz has repeatedly maintained that the pair never had an affair.
Speaking with The Telegraph in 2008, the Spanish star insisted that she waited until her former boyfriend was divorced before catching feelings.
Meanwhile, Cruise vehemently denied an affair when speaking to CNN, but admitted that he was incredibly attracted to Cruz during filming.
Nicole's life fell apart
When the couple split in 2001, Entertainment Weekly reported on the various rumors circulating as to why Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke up.
Some speculated that it was Kidman's refusal to convert to Scientology that tore them apart, while others suggested that the Aussie star wanted to raise the couple's kids in her homeland.
The divorce took its toll on Kidman.
The actress told Vanity Fair,
"My life collapsed.People ran from me because suddenly it was 'Oh, my God!It's over for her now!'"
Reflecting on the divorce to Glamour, Kidman admitted that the split was particularly painful
because it triggered memories of her childhood trauma.
When Kidman was growing up, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her mother's unraveling due to the disease led to the whole family's unraveling.
As Kidman put it,
"If you take care of the woman in the family, the whole family prospers.But when the mother falters, the family falls apart."
As painful as the divorce was, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise had nothing but praise for each other in the immediate aftermath.
Speaking with CNN, Cruise dodged any negative press regarding the split, refusing to address
Larry King's suggestion that Hollywood hadn't seen such a highly publicized separation since the days of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
Instead, Cruise praised his former wife, saying,
"I love Nicole.I've always loved her [...] That doesn't go away.It will never go away."
Kidman appeared to feel the same way.
In an interview with Ladies Home Journal, she said that while the divorce was a huge shock, she had nothing but love for her former husband.
Kidman told the outlet,
"To me, he was just Tom, but to everybody else, [he’s] huge.But he was lovely to me and I loved him.I still love him."
However, as the years went by, things slowly grew more unpleasant for Hollywood's beloved former it-couple.
In 2022, Variety reported that Nicole Kidman was completely omitted from a montage of Tom Cruise's body of work at Cannes, despite the tribute featuring scenes from all three of the flicks the couple starred in.
A year earlier, Harper's Bazaar noted that Kidman wouldn't discuss her divorce from Cruise during interviews.
Meanwhile, Kidman had a furious response when The Guardian brought up the topic during a December 2021 interview in which she was promoting Being the Ricardos.
When the outlet suggested that Lucille Ball's troubled relationship with Desi Arnaz may be comparable to her own failed marriage, Kidman snapped:
"Oh, my God, no […] And I would ask not to be pigeonholed that way, either.It feels to me almost sexist because I'm not sure anyone would say that to a man.And at some point, you go, 'Give me my life.In its own right.'"
According to insiders, Kidman has a right to feel bitter.
The Daily Mail reported allegations that Cruise was instrumental in driving a wedge between his ex-wife and the children they adopted.
Ex-Scientologist Sam Domingo claimed that Scientology agents brainwashed Isabella and Connor against their mom.
In 2015, Kidman was reportedly snubbed from Isabella's wedding.
However, they were rumored to have reconciled in 2020.
Meanwhile, Connor has maintained that he has a great relationship with his mom.