Inside the split that rocked Hollywood: After industry golden boy Tom Cruise skipped the Oscars because ex-wife Nicole Kidman was attending, a look back at their whirlwind marriage
Usually it’s the red carpet gowns, the speeches, presentations, snubs, accolades, even the very public slaps that dominate proceedings at the Academy Awards.
But on Sunday evening it was less about who attended and more about who didn’t as guests filed into Dolby Theatre ahead of the star-studded ceremony’s 95th annual presentation.
Posing for photographers outside the cavernous Los Angeles venue, Nicole Kidman, one of numerous celebrity guests on the night, looked typically glamorous while sharing a prolonged kiss with country star Keith Urban, her second husband and father of her two biological children.
But where was her first? With roaring box-office success Top Gun: Maverick nominated for no less than six awards, one could be forgiven for assuming a tuxedo-clad Tom Cruise and his famous grin would be present and correct for the acting community’s biggest night of the year.
Not so. Instead, the man grandly credited for ‘saving Hollywood’ by reviving the high-flying pilot he first played in 1987 was curiously absent, an absence DailyMail.com has since learned was caused by his ex-wife’s attendance.
All over: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman divorced in 2001, reportedly due to her refusal to join him in the Church of Scientology (pictured together in 1999)
Happier times: Cruise and Kidman (pictured in 1992) divorced in 2001 after 12 years of marriage amid rumours his commitment his Scientology drove a wedge between them
First meeting: Cruise and Kidman first met while filming cult racing drama Days Of Thunder in 1990 (pictured), during which they played lovers
Cruise and Kidman divorced in 2001, reportedly due to her refusal to join him in the Church of Scientology, and the actor is understood to have have swerved the Oscars after discovering she was on the guest list.
A source told DailyMail.com: ‘Tom was not there because she was there, and he did not want a run-in.’
But where did it all go so horribly wrong?
For a while at least, Cruise and Kidman appeared to find the sort of marital longevity one associates with very few Hollywood couples.
Golden Age veterans Humphry Bogart and Lauren Bacall spring to mind, twice-married Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor perhaps, even Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward – all survived decades of media scrutiny and enjoyed committed, lasting marriages.
Recurring theme: The couple would also play lovers in 1992 western epic Far And Away
Here we go: In Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 thriller Eyes Wide Shut they play a sexually adventurous married couple
Old times: A beaming Cruise and Kidman attend the 72nd Annual Academy Awards in 1999 – two years before their shock divorce
Love’s young dream: The couple are pictured in Sydney, Australia in 1990, shortly after embarking on a relationship
Family: They would go on to adopt two children, daughter Isabella Jane in 1992, and son Connor Antony in 1995, but would refrain from having biological children of their own
Cruise and Kidman appeared to fit a similar mold after meeting on the set of cult racing drama Days Of Thunder in 1990.
Conjured up as a sort of Top Gun on wheels, the Tony Scott directed film saw Cruise – already a hugely successful box office star with Oscar nominations under his belt – play flashy race car driver Cole Trickle, a Maverick of the road if you will.
But life gets complicated after Cole embarks on a torrid relationship with Kidman’s Dr. Claire Lewicki – a predicament that appeared to foreshadow their off-screen relationship.
Kidman was 23 at the time and, coming from Australia, was unknown in Hollywood. But that all changed when the stars sparked a real-life romance while filming.
Cruise was still in the latter stages of a three year marriage to actress Mimi Rogers, a lifelong Scientologist who is widely believed to have introduced him to the religion, with their divorce finalized later that year.
In attendance: Kidman with second husband Keith Urban at the 95th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday evening – an event Cruise did not attend due to her presence
Unexpected: With roaring box-office success Top Gun: Maverick nominated for no less than six awards, one could be forgiven for assuming a tuxedo-clad Tom Cruise and his famous grin would be present
Picture perfect: Kidman and Urban couldn’t keep their hands off each other at the Oscars, which were not attended by her estranged Scientologist ex.
As fleeting as the relationship initially seemed – little credence is afforded on-set flings – Cruise and Kidman would eventually marry on Christmas Eve 1990, just months after their first meeting.
They would go on to adopt two children, daughter Isabella Jane in 1992, and son Connor Antony in 1995, but would refrain from having biological children during their marriage.
‘I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I’m like, “What?”‘ Kidman told Red magazine in 2016. ‘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.’
Proof of the couple’s initial closeness was reflected in their shared film credits, with Cruise and Kidman starring alongside one another twice more beyond their first collaboration on Days Of Thunder.
They played lovers with questionable Irish accents in 1992 epic Far and Away, while Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 thriller Eyes Wide Shut – the late director’s final offering – saw them play a sexually adventurous married couple
Epic ending: A photographer captured this photo of Kidman leaving her attorney’s office when her divorce from Tom was finalized in 2001
Estranged: Kidman has not spoken to the two children that she adopted with Cruise – Isabella, 30, and Connor, 28 – in years
Advocates: Isabella and Connor (pictured here in 2006) are both devoted members of The Church of Scientology, like their father
But after 12 years of marriage, Cruise walked out on his wife in 2001, leaving the actress in a state of ‘utter shock.’
He filed for divorce that same year, citing ‘irreconcilable differences.’
According to reports, the real reason for him abandoning her was her refusal to join the Church of Scientology, an alleged pressure she may well have been glad to be rid of.
Indeed, those with long memories will remember images of Kidman leaving her lawyer’s office in 2001, an expression of unadulterated joy on her face after finalizing their divorce.
The following year, Kidman opened up about her painful split from Cruise in an interview with DuJour magazine.
‘I thought our life together was perfect. It took me a very long time to heal. It was a shock to my system,’ she said.
‘We were in a bubble, just the two of us. We became very dependent on one another. I was reeling with Tom,’ she told the outlet. ‘I would have gone to the ends of the earth for him…. I was totally smitten – I fell madly, passionately in love.’
Wife number one: Cruise with Mimi Rogers, his first wife and a lifelong Scientologist who is widely believed to have introduced him to the religion. They divorced in 1990
Wife number two: Cruise walked out on Kidman in 2001, leaving her in a state of ‘utter shock.’ He filed for divorce that same year, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’
Wife number three: Cruise married his third wife, actress Katie Holmes, in 2006 (pictured on their wedding day). They too would eventually divorce, in 2012
Looking back, she told the outlet that she was ‘naïve’ to think that Cruise was her happily ever after. She also said that she was ‘happier’ that she’s ‘ever been.’
‘I’m living in a friend’s house in Nice. My two daughters are with me, Sunday Rose, who’s four, and Faith Margaret, who’s two,’ Kidman gushed.
The former couple have not had any interaction in over a decade.
In fact, Kidman has also not spoken to the two children that she adopted with Cruise – Isabella, 30, and Connor, 28 – in years.
Isabella and Connor are both devoted members of The Church of Scientology, like their father.
Kidman was shunned by the church and labelled an SP, which stand for Suppressive Person. As a result, she was cut off from her family.
Opening up: In 2015, Kidman insisted her adopted children are ‘both adults’ and ‘able to make their own decisions’ (pictured with Cruise and Isabella in 1993)
In a 2015 interview with Australia’s Who magazine, Kidman broke her silence about her relationship with both kids.
‘They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions,’ Kidman said, adding ‘They have made choices to be Scientologists and as a mother, it’s my job to love them.’
Addressing her fractured relationship with Isabella and Connor with Red magazine, the actress insisted she would always be there for them, regardless of their differences.
‘Motherhood is about the journey. There are going to be incredible peaks and valleys, whether you are an adopting mother or a birth mother. What a child needs is love,’ she said.
That same year, Kidman also spoke out about her divorce from Cruise during a speech at the Women World Summit in NYC.
‘I was running from my life at that time. I wasn’t able to handle the reality of my life,’ she told the audience.
There he is: Cruise was present at an Oscars Nominees Luncheon in Hollywood on February 13
At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022, Cruise was celebrated with a 10-minute montage that included highlights from his entire career, which spanned four decades.
The montage left out Kidman, who made three films with her ex-husband during their marriage.
She nothing about being snubbed from Cruise’s highlight reel. He, meanwhile, has never spoken publicly about their failed marriage.
In 2006, Cruise married actress Katie Holmes. They divorced in 2012 and it is alleged that his ties to Scientology caused the breakdown of their marriage. They couple’s daughter Suri, now 16, does not have a relationship with her father.
A source close to Cruise said he attended the February 13 Oscars luncheon because ‘his schedule allowed it at the time’, and added that he skipped the Oscars because he is in the UK filming Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning 2 but he tuned in to watch the ceremony.
He is, sources say, ‘very pleased Maverick got such recognition and he is very proud of the film’; adding he ‘did not skip the show because he was not nominated’.
‘Tom worked very hard on the film and has supported in every way that he can, work permitting.’
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