It's been 20 years since Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise divorced, but the fascination over the former pair lingers.
They tied the knot in 1990 and share two adopted children, a 28-year-old daughter, Isabella, and a 26-year-old son, Connor. In February 2001 the couple shocked fans when their rep announced their "amicable separation" after 10 years of marriage.
As for why, the statement blamed "the difficulties inherent in divergent careers which constantly kept them apart". Two days later, the Mission: Impossible actor filed divorce papers, citing irreconcilable differences.
However, the reasons offered publicly did little to quell speculation and curiosity over what really transpired between the megawatt stars.
Although both parties have offered little in the way of an explanation for their split, the 54-year-old actress recently opened up to Harper's Bazaar, questioning whether she was too candid about their love during their relationship.
"I was young. I think I offered it up?" Nicole told the magazine when asked about the scrutiny she and Tom faced. "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.
"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 continued.
"My husband, Keith [Urban], says that when he met me, he said, 'How's your heart?' And I apparently responded, 'Open'."
The Big Little Lies star wed the 53-year-old Australian crooner in 2006 and they share two children, daughters Sunday Rose (13) and Faith Margaret (10).
What Nicole said about her marriage to Tom
From their child-custody agreement, questions around his sexuality and his devotion to the controversial Church of Scientology – Tom and Nicole’s marriage continues to be a source of speculation. Over the years the Moulin Rouge actress has been pretty evasive about what she says about her ex-husband but has let out a few details here and there.
The couple met on the set of their 1990 film Days of Thunder. Tom reportedly cast the little-known Australian actress as his love interest after being mesmerised by her in 1989 thriller Dead Calm.
“He swept me off my feet,” she told Vanity Fair of that time. “I fell madly, passionately in love. And as happens when you fall in love, my whole plan in terms of what I wanted for my life – I was like, ‘Forget it. This is it’. I was consumed by it, willingly. And I was desperate to have a baby with him. I didn’t care if we were married.”
They wasted no time in making it official, tying the knot just six months after the film was released.
“I had three very strong relationships before I met Tom. But I was never going to get married. Never. But he was just the most incredible, unusual man I’d ever met.”
Nicole has been open about her fertility struggles and after struggling to conceive, they went on to adopt their two children, Isabella and Connor.
“I had a miscarriage at the end of my marriage, but I had an ectopic pregnancy at the beginning of my marriage. It was incredibly traumatic for me.”
Looking back, she admits that they may have rushed things a little bit.
"I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I'm like, 'What?' You look at Taylor Swift, I mean how old is she? She's 26. I had two kids by the time I was 27 and I'd been married for four years. But that's what I wanted."
But, she says, he worked hard to keep their spark alive.
“I think in a relationship, you have to work at keeping your partner in love with you. You can’t just take it for granted. And I knew that was something he wouldn’t take for granted. That’s something that he is amazingly creative about. He’s amazingly romantic . . . He puts so much work into us.”
As romantic as she claims their relationship was, there were several downsides to their marriage as well.
“I felt I became a star only by association. 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 be seen and not heard.”
In reference to the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment in Hollywood she is grateful that she was protected by Tom’s fame during the early days.
“I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me – it was protection. I married for love, but being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed,” she says. “I would work, but I was still very much cocooned.”
Despite the longstanding rumours that the couple’s marriage had begun to disintegrate by the time they’d started filming Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 erotic drama Eyes Wide Shut, in which they played a married couple working through infidelity, the Big Little Lies star only remembers the best of the experience.
“We were happily married through that,” she later told The New York Times. “We would go go-kart racing after those scenes. We’d rent out a place and go racing at three in the morning. I don’t know what else to say. Maybe I don’t have the ability to look back and dissect it. Or I’m not willing to.”
Long considered to have one of the most solid marriages in Hollywood, fans were floored when they announced their divorce in 2001. But no one was more shocked than Nicole, who admitted their heart-breaking split came without warning.
"I thought our life together was perfect," she told DuJour magazine. "It took me a very long time to heal. It was a shock to my system."
She later revealed that Tom refused to attend counselling or to reconsider the divorce. Her court filings from the time also reveal that she was pregnant at the time of the divorce, but lost the baby.
“I think that divorce is hard for anyone. It's a nightmare – it just is – and you can pretend you're fine. And [there are] days you're great [and] days you're not great.”
Tom was granted full custody of their children following the split, leaving many to wonder about their relationship with their mother. Nicole spoke openly about her and Tom’s kids during a candid interview with Who magazine in November 2018.
“They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions. They have made choices to be Scientologists and, as a mother, it’s my job to love them,” she said. “And I am an example of that tolerance and that’s what I believe – that no matter what your child does, the child has love and the child has to know there is available love and I’m open here. I think that’s so important because if that is taken away from a child, to sever that in any child, in any relationship, in any family – I believe it’s wrong. So that’s our job as a parent, to always offer unconditional love.”
Sources: dujour.com, nytimes.com, vanityfair.com, usmagazine.com, popsugar.com, dailybeast.com, dailymail.co.uk, abc.com, mirror.co.uk, vogue.com, harpersbazaar.com, elle.com