Aside from the photos of Nicole Kidman jumping for joy after finalizing her divorce from Tom Cruise popping up every so often, the one-time power couple has largely faded from our collective pop culture memory.
Both stars tend to keep their eyes mouths wide shut when it comes to their marriage, so perhaps that’s why Kidman was caught off guard by a question about Cruise in an interview with The Guardian published on Sunday.
Reflecting on her role as Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being The Ricardos” — a look at the comedy icon’s romance with Desi Arnaz — the Oscar-winner explained how the project takes a different approach to depicting love.
“It’s about a creative and romantic relationship that doesn’t work out,” she said. “But from it come some extraordinary things. And I love that. I love that it’s not a happy ending.”
“This film says you can make an extraordinary relationship thrive and leave remnants of it that exist forever. Yeah, that’s really gorgeous,” she continued. “You can’t make people behave how you want them to, and sometimes you’re going to fall in love with someone who isn’t going to be the person you spend the rest of your life with. And I think that’s all very relatable. You may have kids with them. You may not, but they were very much in love.”
The response prompted reporter Eva Wiseman to ask, with what she described as “exquisite care,” whether Kidman was referring on some level to her marriage to Cruise.
Wiseman noted that Kidman “[choked], just a little” and became “angry” before fully shutting down the line of inquiry.
“Oh, my God, no, no. Absolutely not. No. I mean, that’s, honestly, so long ago that that isn’t in this equation. So no,” Kidman said. “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.’”
Kidman and Cruise fell in love after co-starring in 1990’s “Days of Thunder” and got married that year. They adopted two children together and later split after 11 years of marriage amid rumors that Cruise’s devotion to Scientology drove a wedge between them.
In 2006, Kidman tied the knot with singer Keith Urban, with whom she now has two daughters. Cruise, meanwhile, married Katie Holmes in 2006. They also later divorced.
Elsewhere in the Guardian interview, Kidman dodged a question about raising her daughters with Urban, saying, “No, I have to really protect them. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.”
Kidman has remained tight-lipped about her relationship with Cruise and their two children, Isabella and Connor, who, like their father, are reportedly practicing Scientologists.
But she back in 2018, she did comment on why she prefers not to discuss the marriage publicly and how Cruise’s star power protected her from sexual harassment early on in her career.
“Being married to Tom Cruise at 22 is something I’m always reluctant to talk about, because I’m married now to the man who is my great love [Keith Urban], and it almost feels disrespectful,” Kidman wrote in an essay for New York magazine. “That said, I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me ― it was protection.”
Earlier this year, she reflected on the intense media scrutiny that surrounded her relationship with Cruise, explaining that she’s become a “bit more trepidatious” about sharing personal details with the press.
“I’m wary at times, and I’ve been hurt, but at the same time I much prefer a warm approach rather than a prickly shutdown approach,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in September. “My husband, Keith, says that when he met me, he said, ‘How’s your heart?’ And I apparently responded, ‘Open.’”