Nicole Kidman says she was ‘struggling’ with ‘personal life’ when she won 2003 Oscar amid Tom Cruise divorce

Nicole Kidman says she was ‘struggling’ with ‘personal life’ when she won 2003 Oscar amid Tom Cruise divorce

Nicole Kidman has reflected on how she was “struggling” with her “personal life” when she won her first Academy Awards in 2003.

The 56-year-old actor spoke candidly about her early career during a conversation with Dave Karger, which was published in his new book, 50 Oscar Nights. In 2003, Kidman won her first Oscar for her role in The Hours, with the big win coming shortly after she finalised her divorce from her husband of 11 years, Tom Cruise.

In the excerpt of 50 Oscar Nights, shared via People, Kidman addressed how the 2003 career milestone arrived at a difficult point in her life. “I was struggling with things in my personal life, yet my professional life was going so well,” she told Karger in the book. “That’s what happens, right?”

She recalled that while she initially wanted to skip the party after the awards ceremony, her peers tried to convince her to stay. Kidman also specified that she didn’t necessarily want to walk around the party with the award in her hands,

“I’m not a big party girl, so I was going to skip the Vanity Fair party, and everyone was like, ‘You’ve got to go. You’ve got to walk through the party carrying your Academy Award,’” she explained. “I said, ‘That just feels like gloating, and it doesn’t feel humble.’ Like, what? You can’t walk through carrying the award! That feels really inappropriate. They’re like, ‘That’s what you do.”

Despite her reservations about the after-party, Kidman noted that she still decided to go, with her Oscar award in her hands. However, according to the Big Little Lies star, she didn’t exactly enjoy herself at the event.

“So I literally walked in, carried it around, was completely overwhelmed, emotional, shaking, and I didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “I was almost apologetic, which is so stupid. I wish I could have enjoyed it more.”

Kidman explained that when she returned to her hotel room that night, she decided to spend some time with her friends and family. Kidman also specified that while in her hotel room, she had a change in perspective about falling in love again.

Kidman and Cruise at the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony in 2000 (Getty Images)
Kidman and Cruise at the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony in 2000 (Getty Images)

“I went home and ended up ordering takeout and eating it on the floor of the Beverly Hills Hotel,” she said. “I sat on the floor of the hotel eating French fries and a burger with my family and went to bed. That’s when it hit me. I went, I need to find my love; I need a love in my life. Because this is supposed to be when you go, ‘This is ours.’”

Kidman added that while her 2003 night at the Oscars came to an early end, she didn’t want that to be the case if she ever won the award again. “I went to bed alone; I was in bed before midnight,” she said. “If I ever won again, I’m telling you, I’d be out for 24 hours.”

Kidman and Cruise officially divorced in 2001, after first tying the knot in 1990. The former couple also share two children who are now adults: Isabella, 30, and Connor, 28. In 2006, Kidman got married to singer Keith Urban, and they went on to welcome two daughters: Rose, 14, and Faith, 12.

Over the years, Kidman has reflected on having a relationship with Cruise while in the public eye. During an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2021, she was asked if she was annoyed by how the press covered her first marriage so heavily. In response, she acknowledged that while with Cruise, she simply tried to be as honest with the media as she could.

“I was young. I think I offered it up?” she said, with a laugh. “Maybe I’ve gotten a bit more trepidatious, but I’m always trying to be as open as possible. I just prefer to live in the world that way.”

The Others star noted that she has continued to remain open and honest throughout her everyday life, which she said was something that her second husband noticed.

“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 added. “My husband, Keith, says that when he met me, he said, ‘How’s your heart?’ And I apparently responded, ‘Open.’”

In a 2018 essay for The Cut, Kidman also wrote about getting married to Cruise when she was only 22. She first expressed that she was “reluctant” to talk about the relationship because she was now married to Urban, who she called her “great love”. However, she still acknowledged that when she got married for the first time, it wasn’t for the sake of feeling powerful, it was for having “protection”.

“I married for love, but being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed,” she wrote. “I would work, but I was still very much cocooned. So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”