By KATE LEAVER
By far the loveliest moment of my chat with Nicole Kidman, was when I asked about her girls, Sunday (6) and Faith (3). A warmth and pride crept into her voice immediately, like it does for any mother besotted with her family.
Of course, Nicole, 47, is one of the most famous women on the planet. But, by the sounds of it, her little girls couldn’t care less — as long as she and their dad, country singer Keith Urban, are around for parties and reading and baking.
“They’re not even a little bit interested in what I do! They know mummy is an actor and daddy sings,” she says. “They’re interested in toys, fairy dresses, parties, school, and reading, which is great. And baking! They love cooking. They’ve watched the trailer for Paddington Bear [Nicole plays the villain, Millicent Clyde, in the movie] so many times they can act out the whole thing, but everything else is a bit “Huh? Eh.” I’m glad I’m in something that they can see, because Before I Go To Sleep is not a kids’ movie.”
Yeah, it’s definitely not a kid’s movie. Nicole‘s latest film (out in cinemas Thursday, 16th October) is a haunting thriller about a woman, Christine Lucas, who loses her memory every night when she goes to sleep, and must rely on the men around her to reconstruct it every morning. Nicole is very good in it – raw, vulnerable, exposed, like the victim of an abusive relationship.
It’s the kind of thing Sunday Rose and Faith will have to wait another 20 years to see.
Having held my breath through most of that movie, I ask Nicole how she could possibly prepare for such a devastating role. Does it make her want to run home and hold her kids after filming every scene?
“Well yes, but life makes me do that. Life itself and the journey, is a roller coaster. I know now more than ever how precious time is, more than anything I just have this desire to be very very tight with my family and my children. I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve managed to find an extraordinary man in Keith.
He has been such a rock for me, through everything, particularly the last few weeks. He’s just been divine; so full of love and support, as have my children, as has my sister and my mum, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve really had to lean on each other and support each other and hold each other close. But having small children and having Keith has been just wonderful. To hold onto Sunny and Faith, I just feel so glad that I was able to have them. It took a long time to get there but I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old and this really, really great guy. I’m lucky.”
Something else creeps into Nicole’s voice at this stage: a sadness, a vulnerability. I draw breath and decide to tell Nicole Kidman how awfully sorry I am to have heard about her father’s death, how even though I don’t know her personally, I’m devastated on her behalf and I’ve been thinking of her and her family. There’s a pause and I worry I’ve overstepped the line; if I’ve gone too personal.
But she’s just gathering her grief into words.
“We loved him,” she says, emphatically. “So much. People have been so nice and so kind, which has meant everything. He was a great, great father and I’ve said over and over, ‘I’m so lucky I have a great father’. And a lot of my friends have not had that, they’ve always said ‘Oh we love your dad!’. And I did have that, he was mine. And I was so close to him, and I think any woman who was a girl who is very close to their father, for them, it’s completely heartbreaking.”
It must be a comfort to know that your girls will grow up with that closeness to their father, I say.
“Yes, I cry. I cry knowing that,” she says.
“It’s amazing because Keith is so much like my dad. Seeing our two little girls climbing all over him and seeing him take care of them and hold them and be there for them, he’s just such a responsible, great man in their life. Hopefully we’ll give them that chance to go and find that themselves, in their relationships, because that is passed down.”
Having Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban as parents might be strange one day, with all the fame and the public scrutiny. But, hearing Nicole speak about her family with such unmistakable love, I actually think Sunday Rose and Faith will grow up beautifully, supported by parents who genuinely appear to value each other more than celebrity itself.
For the time being, Sunday would like to be a party planner and Faith wants to be a vet. I wish them both the very best with that. Cuties.
And because talking about Nicole Kidman usually makes you want to look at photos of Nicole Kidman…
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