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"It was protection.” Nicole Kidman on the reality of her 11-year marriage to Tom Cruise.

Nicole Kidman was just 22 years old when she married Tom Cruise in 1990.

The couple remained together for 11 years before divorcing in 2001.

They have always remained tight-lipped about their relationship. But now Kidman has spoken candidly about her time with Cruise in a new essay.

In the essay, which was published in the latest issue of New York Magazine, Kidman said her marriage to Cruise gave her a certain level of protection in Hollywood.

“Being married to Tom Cruise at 22 is something I’m always reluctant to talk about, because I’m married now to the man who is my great love [Keith Urban], and it almost feels disrespectful,” she wrote. “That said, I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me – it was protection.”

According to Kidman, being married to Cruise kept her “cocooned” from the darker side of Hollywood, and protected her from sexual harassment.

“I married for love, but being married to an extremely powerful man kept me from being sexually harassed,” she explained. “I would work, but I was still very much cocooned. So when I came out of it at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”

Despite her years being “protected” by Cruise, Kidman says she still experienced her own #MeToo moments over the span of her 30 year career.

“But do I want to expose them in an article? No. Do they come out in my work? Absolutely. I’m open and raw. I want to have my well of experience and emotion tapped into — used, and I’m not just talking about sexual harassment. I’m talking about loss, death, the full array of life. But it has to be by the right people so it’s not abused again.”

Kidman and Cruise met on the set of Days of Thunder in 1989. During their 11-year marriage they adopted two children together – Isabella, 25, and Connor, 23.

After they split, Kidman went on to marry Keith Urban. The couple have two children together – Sunday Rose Kidman, 10, and Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, seven.

Cruise married Katie Holmes and together they had a daughter, Suri. The couple later divorced and Holmes became the primary carer for Suri who is now 12 years old.

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