Why Nicole Kidman would “cry alone” after filming Big Little Lies

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Susan Devaney
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Actress Nicole Kidman has revealed that after filming harrowing scenes of domestic violence in HBO’s Big Little Lies she’d be left feeling “distressed”. 

Nicole Kidman has won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award and an Emmy for her role as Celeste Wright in HBO series Big Little Lies, but the actress has revealed that taking on the character of a domestic abuse victim came at a cost.

The Oscar-winning actress, who is also an executive producer of the critically-acclaimed TV show, recently spoke to Tatler about how playing Celeste mentally affected her.

“You have to delve into parts where you go, OK, what’s the truth of this character?” she told the magazine. “We had to be really honest. You’re playing love, but you’re playing love that is so damaging to each of the people.

In the many of the scenes, Celeste is both verbally and physically abused by her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), with the intensity of the attacks escalating throughout the seven episodes of the series.

“I would come home and cry after doing Big Little Lies. I would cry alone. I would sit and I would have a bath and cry. And feel very distressed and not know exactly what to do about it.”

The series visited many talking points – not just domestic violence – with other female actresses Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley. And as luck would have it, Meryl Streep is joining for the second series, which will be broadcast next year.

Kidman also revealed that she gives all of her awards to her mother, Janelle to keep safe – but also because she deserves them, too.

“That’s a big thing when you have a mother who has helped shape you and probably didn’t have the career she deserved,” she said.

“So, in some ways that’s my way of going, ‘Look Mama, look! This is yours too.’”

Celeste is both verbally and physically abused by her husband Perry

It’s not the first time Kidman has spoken of the emotional toll of playing a character who’s subjected to domestic violence. In 2017, she told The Hollywood Reporter about the anger she felt after filming.

“I remember lying on the floor in the last episode, being in my underwear and having just been really thrown around,” she said, referencing one of the opening scenes of the final episode.

“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. And angry inside,” she continued.

“I went home and I threw a rock through a glass door.”

The second season of Big Little Lies is due to air in 2019.

If you, or anyone you know, needs advice about domestic abuse, you can call Refuge on 0808 2000 247 or visit their website at

Images: HBO