Good Weekend (colour supplement with The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald), Sat 01 Feb 1997

Nicole Kidman

by Anne Summers



Antony and Janelle Kidman still live in the modest house on Sydney's Lower North Shore where Nicole and her sister Antonia grew up. Dr Antony Kidman is an academic clinical psychologist who also writes popular self-help books which are edited by his wife, a former nurse educator. Meeting them, you can see that Nicole Kidman has her mother's face and her father's complexion and hair and that she got her height from both of them. The family photographs in the sitting room reflect the famous marriage and its spin-offs - there's one of Antony and Antonia with Cruise and Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger, snapped during a Vanity Fair photo-shoot while Nicole and her mother were elsewhere - but otherwise everything seems pretty normal. The main difference, they say, is that when they go to visit their daughter, due to her generosity they now fly first-class.

Nicole's parents think Cruise is terrific - "Tom likes us and we like him" - but when they first heard of their daughter's plan to marry a Hollywood screen idol they were, Janelle now admits, rather "disconcerted". Not that they knew much about him. "I did a crash course on Tom Cruise," she says. In February 1990, when she visited them in Florida during the filming of Days of Thunder, she took herself off one afternoon to a local cinema to watch Born on the Fourth of July. Janelle remembers crying at the scene when the young Ron Kovic runs through the rain to see his girlfriend at the prom just before he leaves for Vietnam. It's still her favourite Tom Cruise movie.


In the past, Kidman has said she is a Scientologist but now she seems to have left that behind her: "I wouldn't classify myself as a Scientologist, but my husband is." She is, she says, her own woman: "I am who I am and I don't credit anyone except my parents with helping me." Janelle Kidman observes that it's a bit like when she first married Antony and tried to become Catholic like him; she took it very seriously "in the first blush of everything" but her heart was never in it. She's now an agnostic.

Nicole says she has been exploring Buddhism recently but that "there are still things that will stay with me for the rest of my life in relation to my being raised a Catholic." She loves "the tradition and the ritual" of Catholicism and often takes her children to church. Unlike her husband, whose experience of growing up Catholic was unpleasant and repressive, Kidman's memories of the nuns are benign ones.

[Press articles on Scientology]