What the Hell Happened to Nicole Kidman?

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

During the 1990’s, Kidman was one half of Hollywood’s biggest power couple.  During that time, she became one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood.  Even after her divorce from Tom Cruise, Kidman’s career continued to soar.  She starred in big movies, was a darling of critics and finally won an Academy Award in 2002.  These days, Kidman is still a sought-after actress.  She can still be counted on to rack up nominations come awards time.  But her career has cooled.  The movies are smaller.  Her spotlight has dimmed.

What the hell happened?

kidman - bmx bandits

Nicole Kidman – BMX Bandits – 1983

Kidman was born to Australian parents who were living in Hawaii.  That made her eligible for dual citizenship in Australia and the US.  Kidman’s family returned to Australia when she was four.  In 1983, at the age of 15, Kidman started acting in Australian film and televison.  Her first film was a remake of an Australian holiday favorite, Bush Christmas.  (Between being born in Hawaii and starring in Bush Christmas, I am trying really hard not to make any jokes about recent presidents.)

That year, Kidman became a regular on the Australian TV show, Five Mile Creek.  She also appeared in BMX Bandits (pictured above).  To get the part, Kidman lied about being able to ride BMX bikes.  During filming, she sprained an ankle.  No female stunt double could be found, so Kidman was doubled by a man.

kidman - dead calm

Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane – Dead Calm – 1989

Kidman continued working in Australian film and television throughout the 80s.  In 1989, Kidman starred opposite Sam Neill and Billy Zane in Phillip Noyce’s nautical thriller, Dead Calm.

Kidman and Neill play a couple who go out to sea to after the death of their son.  Their getaway is interrupted when they come upon a sinking boat.  They rescue the sole survivor played by Zane.  He repays their kindness by terrorizing them at sea.

Dead Calm received almost universally positive reviews.  It was a hit in Australia and crossed over into the US.

kidman cruise

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

It is impossible to discuss Kidman’s Hollywood career without talking about her relationship with Tom Cruise.  Cruise was married to actress Mimi Rogers.  Rogers brought Cruise into Scientology.  The couple split in 1990.  Like all of Cruise’s three divorces, the details were shrouded in privacy.  Years later, Rogers offered her take:

“Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk. At least for that period of time, it looked as though marriage wouldn’t fit into his overall spiritual need. And he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument. Therefore it became obvious we had to split.”

Lawrence Wright, author of the book, Going Clear, told a different story.  According to the book, church-leader David Miscavige saw Cruise as a rock star who could be the public face of Scientology.  Anything Cruise wanted, Cruise got.  And Cruise wanted the 21-year-old Kidman.  According to Marty Rathbun, former second-in-command and now a vocal critic of Scientology, he was sent to Rogers’ home with divorce papers and told her: ‘ “This is the right thing to do for Tom, because he is going to do lots of good for Scientology.” That was the end of Mimi Rogers.’

Kidman was a Catholic who reportedly tolerated Cruise’s involvement in Scientology without embracing it.  Her father was a clinical psychologist which worried some Scientologists given their views on psychology.  But Miscavige couldn’t tell Cruise “no”.  They started a file on Kidman while they were introducing her to Cruise.

kidman - days of thunder

Nicole Kidman – Days of Thunder – 1990

Cruise cast Kidman in his 1990 racing drama, Days of Thunder and the co-stars began dating.

Days of Thunder was directed by Tony Scott who had directed Cruise in his star-making role in Top Gun.  Critics noted the similarities between the two movies.  They referred to Days of Thunder as “Top Gun on wheels”.

The production was extremely difficult.  Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer fought with Scott about everything.  Even screen-writer Robert Towne got in on the action.  The movie fell three months behind schedule.

It was released to mixed reviews, but it was a hit at the box office.

Next: Far and Away and Malice


Posted on April 20, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 398 Comments.

  1. 7 Dumb Things Celebrities Have Lied About

    Nicole Kidman’s Use of Botox

    For years, Nicole Kidman denied ever having had Botox or any plastic surgery, but everyone knew better since she was in her 40s and had yet to have a wrinkle. Finally, in 2013, she finally admitted to having “tried Botox,” but insisted that she stopped hence her ability to move her forehead. Sigh. Botox and fillers aren’t a huge deal in Hollywood – everyone does it, so why deny it?


  2. Musical Hell: Nine (2009)

    A classic movie becomes a classic musical becomes a not-so classic movie.


  3. Nicole Kidman Returns to Australian TV for Top of the Lake: China Girl

    Jane Champion will direct Nicole Kidman as she returns down under.


  4. Cast Of Practical Magic: How Much Are They Worth Now?

    Nicole Kidman

    Estimated Net Worth: $130 Million. Nicole Kidman is one of the highest paid actresses in the industry now with 74 acting credits and numerous awards to her name. Her very first role was in 1983 and worked consistently through the ’90s with roles in Days of Thunder, Far and Away, My Life, Eyes Wide Shut and Practical Magical as Gillian. Her biggest roles came with films like Moulin Rouge!, Cold Mountain, The Hours and The Others just to name a few. Her iconic career is far from over and she is already sitting pretty on a net worth of $130 million.


  5. 15 Actors Who Desperately Need A Hit

    Nicole Kidman

    Nicole Kidman is a fascinating case study in failing upwards, because despite only a few of her last 20 movies actually turning any profit whatsoever, movie studios still love the star quality that she undeniably exudes.

    Her only recent hits are Paddington (where she wasn’t the attraction) and Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It (which was only a cameo). On the other hand, she’s endured a number of high-profile flops over the last decade, including Queen of the Desert, Grace of Monaco, The Paperboy, Nine, Australia and The Golden Compass.

    Kidman may have less of an incentive to change her strategy at this point, as she’s clearly favoring art above all else, and in almost every instance the box office bombing isn’t at all her fault. Still, if she wants to land more tent-pole work, she’s going to need to prove her worth eventually.


    • Star Derailing Role / Film Actresses

      Nicole Kidman’s career barely survived the failures of Bewitched, The Golden Compass, and Australia, but her next big project, Grace of Monaco, may have finally ended her reign as an A-lister after it suffered a bad Troubled Production, and ended up skipping theaters altogether and being dumped straight to Lifetime. Her following projects have been lower profile, with the exception arguably being Big Little Lies, an HBO miniseries.


      • Is her Hollywood career over?

        Is it my idea, or this once upon a time popular actress is unwanted in Hollywood? All of the films she has done the last few years, are either small films or non-American. And even if she plays in “bigger” films, with more potential for commercial or critical success, it’s a failure (“Trespass”, “Grace of Monaco”).

        Looking at her career, the last big success she had as a leading actress was “The Others”, back in 2001. That was the last time that (many) people said “I’m gonna go to the movies and see a film with Nicole Kidman”. OK, and 2 years later she won the Oscar for “The Hours”, but that was more like an ensemble film, she wasn’t THE star of it. But ok, she won the Oscar, she was still popular.

        2003 was the last big year of her career. She played in “Dogville”, and the Oscar nominated epic “Cold Mountain”. Next year, she gave her last really good performance in “Birth”, and that was it. The failure of “Bewitched” in 2005 was the beginning of the downhill. “Invasion”, “Golden Compass”, “Australia”. Disasters, back to back.

        I watch a lot of movies, and I don’t even know what’s she has been doing the last 5 years. I recognize only a couple of titles, and the rest say nothing to me, I never heard of them. Only “Paddington” did somewhat OK, but not only she wasn’t the star of it, but who even remembers she was in it?

        And to consolidate that her movie career is over…she’s doing a TV series… And whenever a once famous movie actor is doing TV, you know what it means. I mean, can you imagine DiCaprio or Matt Damon or Ben Affleck playing in a TV show? TV is two things for a successful movie actor: the beginning of their career, and their pension.

        Well, it’s a pity, she’s a good actress, and her (big) career stopped in her mid-40s. It’s really true what they say, that there aren’t many roles for 40 years old women in Hollywood anymore. Hollywood is so cruel to age.



    She looked great in Eyes Wide Shut — it’s been all downhill since with the fillers and refusal to grow old naturally.


    reply 30 7/15/2016


  7. Nicole Kidman Blind Item Reveals

    September 12, 2016

    Judging by how chummy she was being with a blonde haired man on the way to the elevator bank at her hotel in Toronto, the marriage of this former A+ list mostly movie actress who is an Academy Award winner/nominee could be in one of its frequent valleys. Nicole Kidman

    March 31, 2016

    This female director is very talented. One of my favorite directors and favorite people. She is very loyal so when starting her new project picked out all her regulars to act. Because of her recent bombs though, the studio also made her choose this seems like foreign born Academy Award winner/nominee. The pair can’t stand each other and even though it is the director’s project, the Academy Award winner/nominee is trying to get the director and the actresses she brought with her, fired.
    Sofia Coppola/Nicole Kidman

    December 29, 2014

    This actress is A list. She is married. She is an Academy Award winner/nominee. She also wanted a part very badly and was not being considered for it so she did the casting couch routine. Her husband has no idea. Nicole Kidman

    May 14, 2014

    Apparently the surrogate used by this A list mostly movie actress is out of money and is asking for more money from the actress. If the actress doesn’t pay, then she will have some explaining to do to the world because she said she was pregnant and didn’t use a surrogate. Nicole Kidman

    December 1, 2014

    This A list mostly movie actress and her A list singer might have been acting romantic while in public but then why the separate hotel rooms while out of the country on a trip? Not even the same suite. Barely the same floor. They only got together when they emerged in public. She just loves those cold and sterile relationships.
    Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban

    August 10, 2014

    This A list mostly movie actress who is an Academy Award winner/nominee had to have a page in a script rewritten while shooting because she was unable to smile as the script called for. Too much botox. She can frown though and do a grimace. Nicole Kidman

    January 6, 2014

    This still barely hanging on to A list Academy Award winner/nominee actress had her breasts enlarged from a small B to almost a D while she was out of the country. Apparently this has caused all types of issues for wardrobe for her new movie.
    Nicole Kidman

    January 3, 2014

    This A list mostly movie actress who used to be A+ and unfortunately by rule is not allowed to drop beneath B list was her usual miserable self the other day. While at the airport she had a group of staffers and her own bodyguards herd people out of the way so the photographer she hired could get clear shots of her family. The process took 15 minutes because she had to check the photos after every ten or twenty shots until she was satisfied. Nicole Kidman

    May 1, 2014

    This barely hanging on to A list mostly movie actress who is also an Academy Award winner recently shot a spread for a magazine. Her people made it very clear that our actress would leave if anyone smoked near her or even if they smelled like smoke. Our actress then spent the entire time in between photos chain smoking. She went through two packs in about three hours. Nicole Kidman

    January 26, 2012

    In honor of Australia Day, I thought I would make this blind item Australian. This actress is formerly A list, but now a good solid B. Back in the day when she got her role that made her internationally famous she got the role by sleeping with not just the casting director, but also this rounadabout Australian who was a friend of the director and was already bored with his wife. A further clue is this actress got naked in the movie for which she was cast. Nicole Kidman

    May 28, 2013

    “I would love to have another marriage where it is just about friendship and not always having to try and fend off a horny man. Sex is completely overrated. I have done my greatest acting when coming up with excuses.” A list mostly movie actress talking to her makeup artist last week. Nicole Kidman

    May 27, 2013

    This couple was at Cannes together for several days. She is an A list mostly movie actress. He is a celebrity. They not only slept in separate rooms, they slept in separate hotel rooms, and not even on the same floor. That is a very strange marriage.
    Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban

    February 1, 2013

    This A+ list all movie actress was asked to appear at an event. For charity. A well established charity. The actress said she would be happy to but wanted $250K for her appearance plus another $50K worth of stuff and only promised to be there for 30 minutes. She said her time is valuable and that no matter the cause, her time was more important. The charity declined and then found five other actors and actresses who were huge hits at the event and did it all for free. Nicole Kidman

    January 22, 2013

    Apparently this foreign born almost A list celebrity has talked to his A list actress wife about getting a divorce. Her response? It would be very inconvenient and that she is promoting a movie and would like to focus on that and her other movie coming out later this year and they can talk about it down the road. When this split does happen, it is going to be nasty despite how hard she will try to make it appear civilized. The things he wants to say. Keith Urban/Nicole Kidman

    September 20. 2012

    This A list actress broke up with one celebrity boyfriend because he wanted sex other than in just the missionary position. She says that is the only position she does except in a movie. Her celebrity husband must be thrilled
    Nicole Kidman/Lenny Kravitz

    July 15, 2011

    How would you like to be married to someone for a few years and have sex only a handful of times. Well, that is exactly the type of marriage a former A list movie actress and Academy Award winner/nominee has with her celebrity husband. They do always seem a little strained. Maybe a quickie would help. Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban

    January 26, 2010

    This married A list actress knows she is losing her popularity quickly. So, she has informed her managers to get her in the next Twilight movie. When they told her there were no parts for her, she said, “Well have them make up one or I will find new managers. Who wouldn’t want me in their movie?” Nicole Kidman

    September 7, 2007

    This A list actress was paid a substantial sum of money and got the rights to produce a movie which had been previously unavailable all for making some comments in a magazine interview.
    Nicole Kidman making some very positive comments about Tom Cruise and how he was a stud during their marriage.

    31 March, 2004

    Nicole Kidman : Acted the beard for Tom Cruise. Lesbian. Not a $cientologist–no, really! Temperamental; difficult to work with.

    Regular at certain L.A. girl bars. Forces her gay lovers to sign lengthy non-disclosure contracts before she gets involved with them. Is generally seen to have been the victim in the break-up of her marriage with Tom Cruise.

    The divorce reportedly was caused partially by Cruise’s insistence on raising the kids $cientologist (she wanted them raised Catholic) and partially because of her pregnancy, which may have been his and may have been Ewan McGregor’s. Recently rumors have begun to circulate in my direction that the relationship with Cruise broke up because of Kidman’s serial infidelity.

    Ate up the entire promotional budget at Cannes for Dogville by staying at the Hotel du Cap, so no party, no promotional items, nothing, all because Nicole had to stay at the best suite (one correspondent insisted that this was the fault of the studio & that Kidman gave better PR than a party would have). Bulemic.

    Linked with Ben Affleck, Jim Carrey, Russell Crowe, Vin Diesel, Iain Glen, Lenny Kravitz, Jude Law, Tobey Maguire, Ewan McGregor, Q-Tip, Naomi Watts (any chance you’ve got room in there for another girl? Please?) and Robbie Williams.


  8. I noticed with every kidman movie coming out it stirs up oscar buzz then she gets snubbed. She currently has oscar buzz for lion but lets wait and see


  9. Looks like has oscar buzz for lion. Its too early to tell but it would be good for her career


  10. How does Nicole Kidman keep working?

    I don’t find her in he least interesting. Surely the abysmal Grace of Monaco (she suggested nothing of Grace) should have sunk her career, but she keeps piling them up – Queen of the Desert has not even opened here in the UK. She amused a bit in Paddington, but anyone could have done that. She even had a respected theater run in London recently. She seems to do anything, from The Paperboy to her latest projects. Do people really go to see Nicole Kidman movies?
    —Anonymous (40 views)

    3 replies an hour ago


    • Renee Zellweger’s Oscar

      Kidman’s “career slippage” has to do with her choices of films (mostly flops) and her insatiable need to constantly work. If her career had slipped due to her Oscar win, she wouldn’t have been onscreen as often as she has.

      Moore’s career already mostly indie films by the time she won, but she continues to work.


      reply 10 an hour ago

      Kidman made the mistake of doing the horrible remakes of Stepford Wives and Bewitched right after her win. Can’t blame an actor for wanting to cash in on their win but the film has to be good. She’s gone the indie route last few years to her benefit and it looks like she will be getting her 4th nomination for Oscar shortly.


      reply 14 39 minutes ago


  11. Episode Thirteen: The Invasion

    In our least-edited show yet, we discover that big stars, glossy production values, and a classic story can’t save you from being snatch’d by the Flop House, as we discuss The Invasion. Meanwhile, Elliott tries to sell us on his medical humor, Stuart imagines the


  12. Nicole Kidman is encouraging everyone to support Donald Trump


    • Blind Items Revealed #4

      January 13, 2017

      What do you do when you have given a million interviews over what seems like decades and no one cares anymore about what you have to say? You do what this A- list thetan level PR master of an actress does and that is toss in a few explosive names and ideas as well as some subjects that everyone wants to hear about from her but never will because she doesn’t know anything about them. But hey, at least she got the spotlight turned in her direction.

      Nicole Kidman (supporting Trump)


  13. looks like kidman is almost shoe in for Oscar nom


  14. kidman scored Oscar nom for lion this helps her career


  15. Drugs, sex, and Scientology: Nicole Kidman to ‘write a tell-all autobiography’ as insider confirms she could receive up to ‘$11million in sales’


  16. Blind Items Revealed #7

    January 25, 2017

    Apparently winning an Oscar nomination has not stopped the bizarre behavior of this actress who is out of the country and besides acting entitled has seemed wasted on something pretty much the entire time.

    Nicole Kidman/Paris Fashion Week


  17. What went wrong with The Golden Compass?

    The movie was handed a staggering $180m budget – the studio’s biggest ever – and Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman was cast as the scheming Mrs Coulter. Daniel Craig, the future James Bond, signed on to play the enigmatic Lord Asriel, and unknown 12-year-old Dakota Blue Richards agreed to play main character Lyra Belaqua, the Oxford orphan who finds herself on a Blakean odyssey through a sublime world of swooping witches, brave Gyptians and cruel clerics. After at one point walking away from the project for fear he did not have the experience to pull off Jackson-style feats of CGI genius, ‘About a Boy’s Chris Weitz agreed to return as director and main screenwriter. And that’s where it all began to go wrong.


  18. Gossip no one in Hollywood will say out loud ~~ Part 4–gossip-no-one-in-hollywood-will-say-out-loud-part-4

    Nicole Kidman wins for most deluded. In her mind she thinks she is a major star. The bangs on HBO are to hide her lack of expression. She uses a glare now as her only acting tool!


    reply 498 19 hours ago

    Nicole Kidman wins for most deluded. In her mind she thinks she is a major star.
    I’ve been watching Nicole Kidman movies since BMX Bandits first appeared on HBO and that woman has never made choices like she thinks she’s a major star. She’s always been cautious about over-extending her perceived stardom.

    —I will ice skate over your corpse

    reply 501 18 hours ago


  19. How Many Times Does Nicole Kidman Have To Prove Herself?

    Taking female actors seriously is hard work.


  20. ‘You really resemble a young Nicole’: Isabel Lucas is Kidman’s double as she sports curly red hair while filming Errol Flynn biopic in Australia


  21. How Nicole Kidman Hit the Peak of Her Career—Again

    She may be at yet another peak in her storied 30-plus-year career, but the greatest character Nicole Kidman has ever built is her own.


  22. The least believable accents in movie history

    Nicole Kidman really is distractedly bad. She’s lived and worked in the USA for 30 odd years and still to this day can’t do a convincing accent? It was as bad in ‘Big Little Lies’ as ever, and when she tries other kinds of American accents (the old fashioned Gertrude Bell one in ‘Queen of the Desert’, the cringe-worthy attempt at Southern in ‘The Paperboy’) the results are even worse. Did she never have a coach? It’s odd because she doesn’t even naturally speak with a totally Australian accent these days anyway (I’m Australian and several of her vowel sounds are Americanized).

    What’s strange is that she seemed more consistent with it when she was younger, in movies like ‘Malice’ and ‘To Die For’ she maintains the accent for a bigger percentage of the movie. I like her movies but it makes her line deliveries sound even more forced when they come out in an uneven mixture of accents and pulls you out of the suspension of disbelief.


    reply 124 Last Wednesday at 10:31 AM


  23. The Troubled Production of DreamWorks’ First Film

    DreamWorks launched in a blaze of publicity – but its first film, The Peacemaker, was beset by problems…


  24. Kidman and Sofia Coppola spoke to AP about their new film and the reinvigorated support of women in Hollywood


  25. The real reason Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise broke up

    It was supposed to be a perfect match. Tom and Nicole, two young celebrities at the height of international fame, capturing our attention all throughout their marriage, which spanned the 1990s. They weren’t just well-known in their own right — they became a star couple, their union itself a lightning rod for media attention. They acted opposite each other in Stanley Kubrick’s erotic final film, Eyes Wide Shut in 1999, and were touted as a pair of sex symbols worthy of envy. They had children, they had fame. Seemingly, they had it all — and it all fell apart. Why?


  26. Nicole Kidman: I would “absolutely” do more television


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