The New Nicole Kidman
Eyes Wide Open
Take a quick tour of downtown Nashville and there's no sign that Nicole Kidman lives here: no swarms of paparazzi, no posters for her upcoming film. The face of her husband, country music megastar Keith Urban, is all over -- on radio station billboards, on collages of country crooners painted on the sides of buildings. A sign in front of the American Red Cross office reads "Donate blood, win Keith Urban tickets!" But Kidman is practically invisible, and happy about it.
"I love living here," Kidman says, kicking off her sandals and settling into an armchair in a local hotel. She's dressed in a floaty white skirt and a cotton print camisole. "It's a long way from New York and Los Angeles, but that's part of the attraction. I feel protected here, especially now that I have the baby." That baby is 1-year-old Sunday Rose, to whom she gave birth at age 41. "There are certain limitations to my career because I'm based here. And that's cool. Keith has enormous ambitions, which I support. His tours and albums are much bigger than what I'm doing right now."
Don't be misled -- Kidman is doing plenty. She spends a lot of time on the couple's 36-acre farm, about 45 minutes outside Nashville. "If I was unhappy I wouldn't be able to live on a farm. I'd feel too lonely," she says. "But when you're happy I think you can live anywhere." She loves their thickets of trees, her vegetable garden. Most mornings Urban plays the piano for her and Sunday. "I hum a little," she says. "When your husband's a huge singer, the last thing you do is sing with him." Every week she hosts a 10 a.m. baby group, moms and dads eating muffins and sharing intel. "This is my way of having 10 kids," says Kidman, who confides that she would like to have another. (Her two older children, Isabella, 16, and Connor, 14, live mostly with their father, Tom Cruise, in Los Angeles.)
Because Kidman and Urban have a rule -- they don't spend more than four days apart -- she often accompanies him to gigs. They also have a place in Los Angeles with rooms for Isabella and Connor, and they own a 110-acre cattle ranch in Australia that has four alpacas. "Sunday's third word was 'wow,' and I say that word a lot," says Kidman. "I hope when I'm 80 I'll still be saying it. I've been given extraordinary opportunities, with huge dreams fulfilled. I'm 42, and my eyes are still wide open."
Between 2001 and 2008 Kidman made 17 movies, one of which, The Hours, won her a best-actress Oscar. But it seems Kidman's days of zooming from one film set to the next are over. "I was running from my life, in a way," she says. "My imaginary life was better than my flesh-and-blood life. That's a sad thing to say, but it was. Now I love my real life so much it requires an enormous belief in a film to want to take it on." She pauses, then says, "I think that we're in the world to connect. Because that's what you're left with. You're not left with your houses or awards or money, you're left with the people that you built relationships with."