Since marrying in 2006, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have become one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples. But while they make monogamy look easy, things aren’t always as clear-cut as they look on the red carpet. And Kidman, as she explained in a recent interview, knows just how much work a successful marriage needs.
Before meeting her beau-to-be, Kidman was already one of Australia’s biggest film stars. After an early role in 1989’s Dead Calm, moreover, the star came onto Tinseltown’s radar. And after Hollywood took her to its heart, she started to become a household name. In fact, by the early 2000s she was a big enough draw to lead huge films like Moulin Rouge and Cold Mountain.
However, it was while making one early film that Kidman’s personal life became a source of gossip. During production of 1990’s Days of Thunder, Kidman began dating her co-star Tom Cruise; the pair would wed the same year. But, sadly, their love wasn’t one for the ages: after raising two children together, the couple split in 2001.
Despite their separation, Cruise remained a massive part of Kidman’s life. “He was huge; still is,” she explained to Ladies’ Home Journal in 2006. “To me, he was just Tom, but to everybody else, he is huge. But he was lovely to me. And I loved him. I still love him.”
Still, following her much-publicized uncoupling from Cruise, Kidman had a momentous few years. In 2003, for instance, she won her first Academy Award for The Hours, while Forbes magazine ranked her the world’s fourth highest-paid actress in 2006. That same year, she also announced a shock engagement to the latest man in her life – Keith Urban.
Like his future bride, Urban went from modest roots in his native Australasia to worldwide recognition. After winning talent show Star Maker in 1990, the New Zealand-born country artist gained a recording contract with EMI. With this early break came a slew of hits in Australia, before a once-in-a-lifetime move to Nashville.
However, things didn’t go entirely to plan when the singer stepped foot in America. At odds with the era’s crop of country artists, Urban spent many years playing to unenthusiastic audiences. And, most worryingly, he found himself battling addictions to both drink and drugs after being introduced to cocaine in the early ’90s.
Eventually, the musician released his first American-made album Keith Urban in 1999 to phenomenal success. But his substance abuse persisted. “The whole back-end of the nineties were just awful,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “I’d go to sleep, wake up a couple of hours later, go at it again, drinking to take the edge off.”
Meanwhile, when attending a G’Day LA event in 2005, Urban struck up a conversation with future spouse Kidman. And though the attraction was instantaneous, the musician kept his cards close to his chest. In fact, as Kidman revealed on Ellen in 2013, Urban took four months working up the nerve to ask her out.
Still, it was apparently worth the wait, as the two went on to become one of Hollywood’s most unlikely new couples. And things moved fast; after only a year of dating, in fact, Urban popped the question to Kidman in May 2006. Just one month later, moreover, the couple were saying their vows in front of Australia’s biggest and brightest, including Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman, in a ceremony in Sydney. Nevertheless, storm clouds soon began to appear on the horizon, as Urban’s checkered past came back to haunt the relationship.
Despite seemingly having moved on with his life, Urban still relied heavily on narcotics. Indeed, his addictions were so great that Kidman, only his wife for four months at that point, called an intervention on his behavior. And it was only then that the musician realized that, now more than ever, he needed to turn a corner.
Though he’d tried and failed with rehab on two separate occasions, Urban was determined to shed his demons. As a result, the singer checked himself into the Betty Ford Center in October 2006 with high hopes of getting sober. And, three months later, he came out a changed man.
Through it all, Kidman stood by Urban’s side, and her tenacity helped strengthen their marriage. “There were times early on when I wished I would have been sober and in recovery and everything when I met Nic,” he told The Huffington Post in 2015. “But the other way to look at it… is that we’ve been able to build our relationship with that.”
And with Urban’s issues apparently finally laid to rest, he and Kidman settled down into the domestic dream they’d always hoped for. Two years after Urban’s recovery, Kidman gave birth to their first child Sunday Rose. She was shortly followed by the arrival of Faith Margaret, their second child, in 2010.
Furthermore, and despite their early setbacks, the couple have entered their 11th year of marriage stronger than ever. But with homes in Beverly Hills, Nashville and Australia – not to mention Urban’s busy touring schedule – the couple still suffer weeks on end apart. So how do the duo keep things afloat?
In a recent interview with InStyle, Kidman opened up about her relationship. And, like any couple, she admitted to having her own special methods of making things work. Rather than rely on therapy sessions or interventions, the stars have instead enforced a very specific rule for when either one of them has left the house.
As she explained in the magazine’s July 2017 edition, the two have a very particular phone etiquette when they’re away for too long. “Keith and I don’t ever text,” she revealed to the publication. “We call. That’s just what we’ve always done. We’re old school.”
Nonetheless, that’s not to say that Kidman, who admitted to texting her husband “once in a blue moon” to DuJour in 2015, isn’t above using technology. In fact, she and Urban often use FaceTime when the latter’s on the road. In 2016 the singer even used the app to surprise Boston concertgoers with an impromptu appearance from Kidman.
But while the two generally shy away from SMS, there are certain things that they enjoy texting each other. Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres in 2013, an embarrassed Urban sheepishly admitted to sending “those kind of texts” to his wife. “Nice sex texting,” he giggled. “I’m a little red now.”
When they’re not apart, though, Kidman and Urban are just like any normal couple. “On weekends, we just hang – wake up, get the paper,” she told InStyle. “We’re very, very tight.” And, after all their difficulties, it’s admissions like this that makes us love them more. They may be superstars, but deep down they’re just like us.