• 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Interview

It’s just before midnight on New Year’s Eve in Nashville, and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are counting down the last seconds of 2018 in unison. With daughters Sunday, 10, and Faith, 8, smiling by their side they happen to be onstage in front of 200,000 reveling music fans gathered in Nashville’s Bicentennial Park for Urban’s rousing gig is no matter. After 12 years of marriage, sparks still fly, and they aren’t squandering a single joyful moment. “My connection and my love for him is so powerful,” says Kidman, 51, “the girls and I are so lucky to have the man that he is. And he is a man. There are a lot of boys in this world, but Keith is a man.”

“My roots are deeply embedded here,” says the Oscar winner. That grounding helps her take on ever bigger challenges like her new movie Destroyer, for which she transformed dramatically to play a rage consumed, alcoholic cop. “This character is so far removed from me,” she says. That’s part of the appeal as an actor.”

The actress continues about how she loves children. “When I was little, I hoped I would have children and have a partner that’s always been my dream, I think because of the way I grew up. My parents were married for 50 years, and they were 500 good years, so that’s what I revered I’ve always had that deeply romantic heart, and I’ve always gone, ‘I want love first and foremost. If I have that, then I feel safe in the world, I feel that I can give.”

After her 10 year marriage to Tom Cruise fell apart in December when she was 33 (the exes are parents to two kids) she was left reeling. “I have an enormous support team around me that’s unbelievably solid and very real.” But she wasn’t sure if she’d ever find love again. “I hoped I would, but I didn’t know definitely,” she says. “Who does?”

But “destiny,” as she sometimes thinks of it, came calling. In early 2005, at the annual G’Day L.A. gala, the actress met country singer Urban. “We just kept talking on the phone,” Kidman says, recalling the moment she knew he was the one. “It was my [38th] birthday, and he stood outside with gardenias at 5 a.m. on my stoop in New York,” she says. “That is when I went, “This is the man I hope I get to marry.’ Urban took her to Woodstock, N.Y., the site of the 1969 music festival, on a motorbike for a getaway (“My kind of guy!” she adds). “It was pretty intense,” Kidman says. “I believed by that point he was the love of my life. Maybe that’s because I am deeply romantic, or I’m an actress, or I have strong faith as well, but I just believed, ‘Oh okay, here he is.’”

Which is not to say they’re issue to life’s trials. Shortly after their wedding, Urban, who is sober and has spoken publicly about his past addiction issues, entered rehab. Kidman stood by him. “Real love happens not when everything is going well but when things are going badly,” she says. “It’s when human beings come together, if they’re going to, in a far deeper way. You’re then having to work together, and the ‘together’ is what it’s about. Keith and I talk about that, because that ultimately is the definition of marriage and union and commitment.”

“When my father died, Keith canceled his concert he was about to walk onstage and he got on a plane [to Australia],” she says. “He said, “This is why you have me. You don’t have to go through this alone.’ He came back that night, and I just fell into him.”

Kidman hopes the girls find strength from watching their parents’ partnership up close. “To see a union that is deep and real and loving, which is what Keith and I both grew up with too, is always a good thing. I think,” she says. “At this stage in our lives, it’s what works for the family and what works for our own joy,” she says. Among Sunday and Faith’s good buddies are the children from the Big Little Lies cast. “They’ve grown up with those kids because I had them on set around Monterey, and I’m like, ‘Playdates, playdates!’”, says Kidman, who invited her young costars to see Aquaman with the girls. “Those children have become like my own.”

It’s not lost on Kidman how lucky she is and just how far she’s come. “I feel very safe now in terms of just being who I am and [knowing] what I stand up for, what I believe in and my artistic choices,” she says. Kidman has high hopes for what she’d like to achieve in 2019: Continue championing female directors and supporting women’s causes. “Love is the greatest journey,” she says. “When you really embark on that deep journey together get even close, more intimate it takes you places you’ve never dreamed you could be taken.”