The pride of Australia, Nicole Kidman has had a career to die for. The Aussie beauty was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 20, 1967, and spent the first few years of her life in Washington, D.C. At the age of three, her family returned to Sydney. Nicole was enamored with ballet and began taking lessons at a young age, eventually signing up for additional classes in pantomime and acting. Eager to start a career in entertainment, Nicole dropped out of high school. It didnâ€™t take long for the porcelain-skinned beauty to find work. At the age of 16, she was cast in A Bush Christmas. Various roles in other Australian films and television series followed and Nicole was gaining popularity and critical acclaim in her native country.
Hoping to bring her career success to the U.S, Nicole took on a role in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm, co-starring Sam Neill and Billy Zane. Her performance was praised by critics, and Nicole quickly found her follow-up project in 1990â€™s Days of Thunder, where she was teamed with Tom Cruise. Sparks flew on the set of the race car drama and, after a whirlwind romance, the couple were wed on Christmas Eve of the same year in Telluride, Colorado. Tom and Nicole would eventually adopt two children, daughter Isabella Jane Kidman-Cruise (born December 22, 1992) and son Connor Anthony Kidman-Cruise (born January 17, 1995.) The Cruises tried to bring their off-screen chemistry to the big screen again in 1992â€™s Far and Away, directed by Ron Howard. The tale of young Irish immigrants trying to adjust to life in 1800s America was a critical and commercial flop.
Nicole moved on, working with Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman in the psychological drama Malice and co-starring with Michael Keaton in the tearjerker My Life. She tried her hand at the superhero genre, wooing Val Kilmer in Batman Returns but she achieved her greatest critical success to date with her role as a ruthless aspiring television journalist in Gus Van Santâ€™s dark comedy To Die For, which was released in 1995. The role earned the best reviews of her career and a Golden Globe. After teaming with George Clooney for The Peacemaker and Sandra Bullock for Practical Magic, Nicole joined her husband Tom for the controversial Eyes Wide Shut, legendary director Stanley Kubrickâ€™s final film. During the shooting of the film, rumors about the coupleâ€™s marriage began to circulate and the couple successfully sued Star magazine for a story that alleged they needed a â€˜coachâ€™ to assist them with their love scenes. Despite the legal victory, the marriage wasnâ€™t working, and Tom filed for divorce in 2001, citing irreconcilable differences.
In 2002, Nicole played the courtesan Satine in Australian director Baz Luhrmanâ€™s musical Moulin Rouge! The role required her to dance and sing, and Nicole stunned audiences with her sexy rendition of â€˜Diamonds Are a Girlâ€™s Best Friendâ€™ as well as the romantic duet â€˜Come What Mayâ€™ sung with co-star Ewan McGregor. The role earned Nicole her second Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award nomination. A nearly unrecognizable Nicole, hidden under prosthetics to play English novelist Virginia Woolf, won her first Oscar for The Hours, becoming the first Australian to take home the prize. The actress also stimulated theater audiences in 2002 with her role in the provocative play The Blue Room, which featured a brief nude scene.
In 2003, Kidman starred in the experimental film Dogville, played a troubled janitor engaged in an affair with college professor Anthony Hopkins in The Human Stain and starred opposite Jude Law and Renee Zellweger in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain, earning her a Golden Globe nomination. The next few years brought more misses than hits, with the poorly received comedies The Stepford Wives with Matthew Broderick and Bette Midler and Bewitched with Will Ferrell and Shirley MacLaine the same year, and the drama Birth, which raised eyebrows with its tale of a husband who dies and comes back to his wife as a ten-year-old boy.
One of Nicoleâ€™s recent successes was the animated film Happy Feet, where she provides the voice of a Marilyn Monroe-esque penguin - and mate to Hugh Jackmanâ€™s Elvis-inspired bird. Hopes were high for the film adaptation of the first chapter of author Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials, 2007â€™s The Golden Compass, but the film failed to generate interest, almost guaranteeing that there will be no sequel. Nicole has a variety of projects in the works, including the Wong Kar-wai film, The Lady from Shanghai and Baz Luhrmann's WWII epic Australia, co-starring Hugh Jackman, but Nicole is most looking forward to her baby with country singer Keith Urban, who she married in 2006.