Nicole Kidman, survivor.
How many times can the irrepressible Aussie fall flat on her face, pick herself up, and start all over again?
A slow starter in Australian movies, Kidman became front page news when Tom Cruise chose her as his Days Of Thunder co-star and then married her.
A meteoric career followed with award-winning roles in Billy Bathgate, To Die For and Portrait Of A Lady.
But then after a gruelling year working for Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut, the marriage was over.
She divorced Cruise, sharing custody of their two adopted kids – Isabella and Connor.
More mediocre movies followed. But then she won the Oscar for The Hours.
After that another low, no thanks to bad choices such as Bewitched, Stepford Wives, The Interpreter and Australia.
But again, the 49-year-old Kidman found salvation in independent movies – Margot At The Wedding and Rabbit Hole, for which she was again Oscar nominated.
After that she discovered her soulmate in fellow Aussie Keith Urban; they were married, and she took a backseat to his burgeoning career. In the process she gave birth to his child and, through a surrogate, mothered a second.
Blissful domesticity suited her fine, and she settled down in Tennessee in the United States.
But she was not done yet.
Lion roared, and she found herself again an Oscar nominee this year for her supporting work in that film.
And just recently, she starred in the critically-acclaimed TV series, HBO’s Big Little Lies (which she produced). Later this year, she can be seen in The Beguiled.
At her press conference her unwavering honesty shines through. Asked about her experimenting with Botox, the actress good-naturedly replied: “Yeah, I’ve tried Botox. I didn’t like the way my face looked with it so now obviously, I don’t use it, and I think it’s much better for my performances.
“I’m of that generation where you try stuff; so I’ve become a scapegoat for it I suppose, but I’m glad I’m not using it now. I can move my forehead,” she jokes.
You play an adoptive mother in Lion. How did that theme resonate with your own adopted children?
Yeah, I wanted to make it for them, because I think the message of the film is told from many different perspectives.
You see the mothering of both the biological mother and the adoptive mother, but the real message is unconditional love.
Everyone assumes the adoptive mother would be threatened by the biological mother, but for me, the child needs to know that you are always welcome to find your birth parents. And no matter what, I will always love you, because it’s unconditional love.
Are you in a good place right now?
I believe I am. I’ve had many ups and downs through my life and through my career; it’s been a long journey.
But if you are an artist and you are committed to your art, everything else just plays out. Sometimes it will be good, sometimes it will be bad; sometimes there will be a lot of roles, and sometimes there won’t. But if you are in it for the long haul and you are really artistically committed, it all kind of works out.
I have been so fortunate, and I am in the position now, where just this year I’ve had this massive amount of work, with characters that are so rich and deep; so I have been able to mine many different areas and sort of stretch as an actor, and that has been exciting.
And on a personal level?
Down on my knees grateful for my life, and truly I mean that. Humble and in a place of absolute gratitude.
Nicole Kidman on marital bliss
You’ve been married for 10 years now. So what have you learned about relationships?
As I always say, I would not be able to do anything without Keith. Our union is so nourishing and strong and healing, the two of us is really an us. Whenever something good happens to me, I go, “Baby this is ours,” and he does the same.
I’m still amazed that we were able to find each other in this world. I am so fortunate to have him, he is a rock.
How difficult is balancing your role as a mother and actively pursuing your career?
Luckily when we were shooting Big Little Lies in LA, I had my kids with me, and there were many kids on set.
We are actually having a reunion party for the kids at my house tomorrow because they have become such good friends with all the kids in the show.
Now that you’re living permanently in Nashville, what do you miss about LA?
Actually I’m the kind of person that could live pretty much anywhere.
If I loved somebody, and they said this is where I live, I would be like OK with it. I am not attached to an environment.
I am probably far more attached to a person than I am to an environment. So that would never be a deal breaker for me, having to move somewhere.
Are you still as hyper-sensitive as you used to be?
I still worry if I’ve hurt someone’s feelings. I’m always trying to be careful and respectful of people. I try to be straight and tell them the truth, but that can be very, very hard at times because sometimes it’s not what people want to hear, but that’s just my nature.
I can deal with anybody in any situation as long as I know what I’m dealing with. What I can’t stand is when people say things behind your back and pretend to be one thing, and they’re not.
Nicole Kidman on style
Having worked with Chanel, are you fashion conscious? Do you choose the clothes you wear in a film?
Strangely enough I never choose my costumes. I have very brief costume fittings. I’m like, “Dress me however you like.”
I might choose a piece of jewellery or something and formulate my character around one particular thing. But I work with the greatest costume designers in the world, so I would never go and tell them how to do their job.
Do you shop for your own clothes?
I have a stylist that I work with, but she lives in New York which isn’t very convenient. But there was a period where I was less interested in fashion; it was when Sunny (daughter Sunday) was born, and I was just living on the farm in Nashville, and I kind of just went, “I am not interested anymore”.
But I have come back to being interested, because I have a six-year-old daughter who is totally interested. And she always wants to know “What are you wearing? I don’t like that, I do like this,” and she’s kind of ignited my love of fashion again, and I love that.
And that has made me go, “Oh, I know why it’s important, little girls see this, and they dream. It’s the fantasy and it’s the beauty of all of that.”
Do you shop for clothes with your daughters?
I do. Our most favourite place to shop I would have to say is Claire’s. Because my daughter wants her ears pierced and I don’t want to get her ears pierced yet, and so we go and we buy the clip-ons. So I know everything about clip-on earrings.
So what is the biggest treasure in your life?
Raising my daughters Sunny and Faith; watching a six-year-old start to go to school and love school, just the simplest things like that are my treasures.