Nicole Kidman recalls how Tom Cruise marriage granted protection from sexual assault

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Kayleigh Dray
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“Being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed,” recalls the Big Little Lies actress.

Nicole Kidman has always been reluctant to speak about her marriage to Tom Cruise – particularly as she is “married now to the man who is my greatest love [Keith Urban], and it almost feels disrespectful”.

However, in an essay written for New York magazine’s women and power series, the Oscar-winning actress has said that she believes her relationship with Cruise helped her to avoid becoming a victim of sexual harassment.

Kidman was just 22 years old when she tied the knot with the Mission: Impossible star in 1990, shortly after they starred together in the film Days Of Thunder.

“I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me,” she writes. “[But] it was protection… being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed.”

It wasn’t until she and Cruise divorced in 2001 that Kidman felt she had to face new and different struggles in her career, especially as a woman. 

“I would work, but I was still very much cocooned,” she explains. “So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”

Below: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

Addressing the ongoing #MeToo movement, Kidman says: “Of course I’ve had #MeToo moments – since I was little! But do I want to expose them in an article? No. Do they come out in my work? Absolutely.”

For her, she would rather direct her emotions into a “well of experience and emotion tapped into” and displayed in her work as an actress.

“I’m not just talking about sexual harassment. I’m talking about loss, death, the full array of life,” Kidman adds.

The actress has certainly recently won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award and an Emmy for her role as domestic abuse victim Celeste Wright in HBO series Big Little Lies.

“This character that I played represents something that is the center of our conversation right now: abuse. I do believe and I hope that we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them,” she said.

And speaking on the red carpet before her win, Kidman described the “huge unravelling” that has happened this year. “We’re in a position now to elicit change,” she said. “We can all do it together.”

“I think it’s so important right now that we’re all together, and that we’re helping each other, and that we can really make change happen, make this place a safer world for all of us, actually, and redefine how we look at the use of power, and what abuse is.”

However, Kidman has since admitted that taking on the character came at a cost.

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

“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.”

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.