Remembering the Glorious Age of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
When they met: The actors met at Kidman’s audition for the first of three films they starred in together, Days of Thunder (1990), which doubled as one of Nicole’s biggest movies to date.
“I remember being so nervous and seeing Tom Cruise drive up in a Porsche, I think it was,” she told Jess Cagle of the experience. “He got out of the car and walked through and I was like, ‘Ah.’ My jaw dropped. Then I had to go in and audition in front of Tony Scott. Sweet Tony. [Producers] Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Robert Towne and Tom. I was like, ‘No way, I’m not going to get this.’ They called that afternoon and I had the job.”
Why we loved them: Um, have you ever seen a photo that better encapsulates ‘90s perfection?
Not only were they just the epitome of Hollywood glam, but it was such a pivotal time in each of their lives and careers. It’s rare that a celebrity couple can perfectly mirror each other’s star power, but I don’t think it gets much closer than the Eyes Wide Shut co-stars.
The breakup: It’s not clear precisely what precipitated their 2001 split, but it’s rumored that Cruise’s involvement in the Church of Scientology played a role. Kidman has also opened up about her marriage over the years, admitting that though Tom and Nicole are now two of the biggest names in show business, she felt Cruise’s fame ultimately buoyed her own when they began dating. “I became very famous because I was the wife of somebody,” she explained. “I felt I became a star only by association. I didn't think (my early movies) were very good, which is why I would always cower in the background. I thought, I don't deserve to be here. We would go to the Oscars and I would think, I'm here to support him. I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and to be seen and not heard."
Where they are now: Seventeen years later, Kidman and Cruise are doing just fine. For her part, Kidman appreciates her time with Tom for what it was, revealing during a 2016 interview, “[It was] a beautiful marriage and all of those things that came out of it … Two beautiful children. The rest is history.”
Today, Kidman has one Oscar win and three nominations under her belt, an extensive filmography that includes HBO hit series Big Little Lies and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, and five (!) highly anticipated films on the horizon.
In 2006 she wed country singer (and fellow Aussie) Keith Urban, with whom she shares two daughters: Sunday Rose, 10, and Faith Margaret, 7.
After his split from Nicole, Tom took up with Dawson’s Creek alum Katie Holmes, coining the now iconic “TomKat” couch-jumping era. In 2006 Holmes gave birth to a daughter, Suri, now 12. The duo later separated in 2012, marking three divorces for Cruise (he split from wife of three years Mimi Rogers in 1990).
Professionally, Cruise hasn’t lost his stride. The actor’s earned three Oscar nominations (all of which came during his relationship with Kidman). Since then he’s starred in several Mission Impossible films, the sixth of which is now in theaters, and is currently shooting the sequel to 1986 American classic Top Gun.