Nicole Kidman

BIOGRAPHY

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NICOLE KIDMAN

BIOGRAPHY

After a tumultuous two years that brought her divorce, career success and Oscar glory, Kidman is the undisputed queen of the silver screen. A look back at a sterling career.

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Nicole Mary Kidman was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to father Anthony, a clinical psychologist and biochemist of Scottish descent, and mother Janelle, a nursing instructor of Irish descent.

Shortly after Kidman's birth, the family moved to Washington DC in order for her father to pursue his research on breast cancer. When Kidman was only three-years-old, the family moved again, this time to her parents' native Sydney, Australia.

Beginning with ballet lessons at age four, Kidman went on to study at the Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney (of which she is now a patron). Here she took up drama and mime and, in her teens, found acting to be a refuge. With her fair skin and naturally red hair, the Australian sunshine proved too much for the young Kidman and she sought solace in the cool, dark rehearsal halls of her beloved theatre. Working regularly at the Philip Street Theatre, she received both encouragement and praise, giving her the drive to pursue acting full-time.

In 1983, aged 16, Kidman dropped out of high school and made her film debut in the Australian holiday season favourite, 'Bush Christmas' (1983). This led to a number of both television and film offers in Australia, throughout the rest of the 1980s. Her film roles include the lead in 'BMX Bandits' (1983), 'Windrider' (1986), 'Watch the Shadows Dance' (1987), and 'Emerald City' (1988), a drama with fellow Australian actor, John Hargreaves.

Her stints in television series include 'Five Mile Creek' (1983-1985), 'Winners' (1985), 'Vietnam' (1987) in which she played a schoolgirl-turned-protester and for which she won her first Australian Film Institute Award, and 'Bangkok Hilton' (1989). She was also in made-for-television movies such as 'Skin Deep' (1983), 'Chase Through the Night' (1983), 'Matthew and Son' (1984), 'Room to Move' (1987) and 'An Australian in Rome' (1987).

Determined to break into the US market, and with the help of an American agent, Kidman made her US debut, opposite Sam Neil and Billy Zane, in the at-sea thriller 'Dead Calm' (1989). It certainly was a turning point in her life, both professionally and personally, as the following year, she starred in the racetrack romance 'Days of Thunder' (1990), opposite Tom Cruise, the man who would become her husband.

After a whirlwind courtship, they enjoyed a romantic marriage on Christmas Eve in 1990. Next up for Kidman was another Australian film 'Flirting' (1991) in which she played a bitchy high school senior, followed by starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in the gangster movie 'Billy Bathgate' (1991). She starred with Cruise in Ron Howard's 'Far and Away' (1992), a story of young Irish lovers who flee to America in the late 1880s, and with Michael Keaton in 'My Life' (1993). Cruise and Kidman adopted two children, Isabella Jane (born 22 December 1993) and Connor Anthony (born 17 January 1995).

Kidman's box office ratings really began to climb in the mid 1990s. She played Dr Chase Meridian in Joel Schumacher's 'Batman Forever' (1995) with Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris O'Donnell. However, it was her role in 'To Die For' (1995), with Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix, which proved her real breakthrough.

It showcased her range of talents, as well as her brilliant comic timing, and gained her a Golden Globe Award and critical approval for her performance. She went on to make 'The Leading Man' (1996) and to play the lead role of Isabel Archer in the critically acclaimed 'The Portrait of a Lady' (1996), with John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey. She was in the action thriller, 'The Peacemaker' (1997), with George Clooney, and the amusing 'Practical Magic' (1998) with Sandra Bullock, Stockard Channing and Dianne West.

In a strange twist of fate, Kidman and Cruise played a married couple in Stanley Kubrick's sexual thriller, his final film, 'Eyes Wide Shut' (1999), shortly before their own marriage came to an end. Kidman was three months pregnant when Cruise left her and she subsequently had a miscarriage.

They announced their separation in 2001, citing career conflicts and their marriage was dissolved. Kidman did not allow this to interfere with her career and that same year she played the spellbinding Satine, opposite Ewan McGregor's Christian, in the musical 'Moulin Rouge!' (2001), for which she won her second Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and also received an Academy Award nomination.

Prior to this, Kidman had not been known for her ability to sing. She starred in films, 'The Others' (2001), a mystery/thriller about photosensitive children in a haunted house, and Jez Butterworth's 'Birthday Girl' (2001). She also teamed up with Robbie Williams to record a remake of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet 'Something Stupid' (2001), which became the Christmas number one in the UK.

Donning a prosthetic nose, she performed an Academy Award-winning role for Best Actress, as Virginia Woolf in 'The Hours' (2002). Then came 'Dogville' (2003) and 'The Human Stain' (2003), a romantic thriller with Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise. The 'Cold Mountain' (2003) set was plagued by rumours of an affair with her co-star Jude Law. Both denied the allegations and Kidman won an undisclosed sum from the British tabloids that had printed the story.

She then donated the money to an orphanage in the Romanian town where the movie was filmed. Kidman won a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance with Law.

She was then romantically linked to Lenny Kravitz, whom she met in 2003 and dated into 2004. Her next film, 'The Stepford Wives' (2004), with a star cast including Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close, was not met very well by critics. Then followed 'Birth' (2004) a thriller with Lauren Bacall which gained mixed reviews due to its controversial content; Sydney Pollack's 'The Interpreter' (2005) in which she played opposite Sean Penn; and fantasy/romance 'Bewitched' (2005) with Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine, which failed in the box office and with critics.

In 2006, she played Dianne Arbus in the biography 'Fur', which was released to mixed reviews although Kidman's and her co-star Robert Downey Jr's performances were highly praised. She also lent her voice to the animated film 'Happy Feet' in the same year.

Her next film 'Invasion' which was a remake of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1956), was a failure but she soon returned to form in 'Margot at the Wedding' and 'The Golden Compass' in which she played the villain in 2007.

Next Kidman teamed up with director Baz Luhrmann in 'Australia' in 2008. She played an aristocratic English woman frustrated by the continent who falls in love with Hugh Jackman's character. She returned to musicals in 2009, starring in 'Nine'. Despite being on the screen for less time than her co-stars, she earned her third Screen Actor Guild's award nomination.

In 2010, she appeared in 'Rabbit Hole', which was followed by 'Just Go With It' and 'Trespass' in 2011. She was next seen in 'Stoker', 'The Paperboy' and TV movie 'Hemmingway and Gelhorn' with Clive Owen in 2012. Her latest roles were in 'Grace of Monaco' and 'Paddington', both in 2014.

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Kidman met handsome country singer Keith Urban, 38, from New Zealand at a gala for Australians, held in Los Angeles in January 2005. After being together 11 months, they married on 25 June 2006. Kidman's 'hen party' was a low-key gathering of a few close friends and family, at her sister Antonia's Sydney home, a few days before the wedding.

The 39-year-old, slightly tearful bride looked radiant in her vintage ivory dress designed by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga. She was accompanied by her father, Dr Anthony Kidman, to the Cardinal Carretti Memorial Chapel, in Manly, Sydney, arriving 15 minutes late for the traditional Roman Catholic ceremony, in a 1948 Rolls Royce. The church overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Kidman was greeted by thousands of excited fans, waiting outside to catch a glimpse of her on her special day.

The groom cried when he saw his ethereal bride, lit by 1,000 candles, walking up the aisle and the wedding party was made up of family and close friends. Matron of honour was her sister Antonia and Isabella, her adopted daughter with ex-husband, Tom Cruise, was her bridesmaid. Her adopted son with Cruise, Connor, was the usher.

Urban's best man was his brother Shane and his groomsmen were nephew, Blake, and old friend, Marlon Holden. Antonia's eldest daughter, seven-year-old Lucia, was flower girl. The church bells rang 100 times to mark the end of the service.

At the reception were actors Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe and his pregnant wife Danielle Spenser; director Baz Luhrmann; and Crowded House singer Neil Finn. Urban surprised Kidman by singing her a specially written love song and then the guests were treated to songs performed by Neil Finn and Hugh Jackman.

The couple completed their family with the birth of Sunday Rose Kidman Urban on 7 July 2008 and they welcomed their second daughter together Faith Margaret on 10 December 2010, who was born through a surrogate.

Kidman supports a variety of charities and causes, including being the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF Australia since 1994 and focusing on disadvantaged children around the world. She was honoured as a Citizen of the World by the United Nations in 2004 and made a Companion of the Order of Australia, for both her work with charities and for her service to the performing arts.

She is also involved in the Little Tee Campaign for Breast Cancer Care, promoting cancer awareness. Now in her 40s, Kidman certainly seems to have everything under control and this happy, successful woman, who started life a shy little redhead, is now standing tall and strong, with love in her heart and the world at her feet.

Petals on the Wind: Thursday 18 September at 9pm
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