Nicole Kidman on Keith Urban and on being an adoptive and birth mom | Inquirer Entertainment
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Nicole Kidman on Keith Urban and on being an adoptive and birth mom

By: - Columnist
/ 12:30 AM December 01, 2016

Nicole Kidman           —Ruben V. Nepales

Nicole Kidman —Ruben V. Nepales

LOS ANGELES—Nicole Kidman, being an adoptive mother in real life and playing one in “Lion,” was inspired to talk about motherhood, home and married life with her husband, Keith Urban, and more in our recent encounter.

Lovely in a champagne-colored dress with pink and green accents, Nicole stars in Garth Davis’ drama based on the true story of Saroo, who was 5 years old when he got separated from his family in India and got lost in the streets of Calcutta. He was adopted by Australians. Twenty-five years later, the adult Saroo (Dev Patel) used Google Earth to find his biological family.


The Australian actress has two adopted children with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise: Isabella (23) and Connor (21). With singer Keith, whom Nicole married in 2006, she has two daughters, Sunday (8) and Faith (5).


Excerpts from our chat:

As an adoptive mother, can you talk about how this film is like a love letter to your own children?  Yeah, I wanted to make it for them, because the message of the film is from different perspectives. You see the biological and adoptive mothers. Saroo himself would say he has two mothers. But the message of unconditional love is what I loved. And how everyone assumes the adoptive mother would be threatened by the biological mother.

I thought how beautifully written it was because, in one line, when the adoptive mother Sue, my character, says to Saroo, “I can’t wait for her (biological mother) to see you and see how beautiful you are,” you see the love she has for his birth mother and the way they’re all connected. I thought that was beautifully put in one line, which shows you how (screenwriter) Luke Davies captured something so beautifully.

Because when you are an adoptive mother, of course, you think about the birth parents and what that means, how we all end up sharing our lives and how we are intertwined in some way, whether the child chooses to find the birth parents or not. For me, the child needs to know that he’s always welcome to find his birth parents. And I will love them, because love is unconditional.

What has it been like for you to be married for 10 years? I have always said that I wouldn’t be able to do anything without Keith. Our union is so nourishing, strong and healing. It’s the two of us, and it really is an “us.” Whenever something good happens to me, I go, “Baby, this is ours.” He does the same thing.

I am amazed that amid all of this, we were able to find each other in this world. It’s the same thing in “Lion,” where Sue found her voice—how are people meant to be is the big question. I’m fortunate to have Keith. He’s a rock.


I have such amazing support from my family. But the flipside of that is, I wanted to do a play (“Photograph 51”) on Broadway, which I had done in London. We had a family meeting, and my kids said, “No.” So, I am not doing the play (laughs). Sometimes, they can go, “Yeah, that is OK. Can we bring the cats?” That is always the big question.

They didn’t want to go to New York for four months, and I get it. That’s family-comes-first in action. That was a great play and a great role. I would have had an amazing time, but I’m not a single girl and I am not childless. I need to bow down to that. And I am grateful to be able to make the choice.

How protective are you as a parent? To the point that my daughter will go, “Momma, enough!” So, I’d say I have elements of the “helicopter parent,” which I grapple with, because I try not to put my fear or anything onto them. Even if they are playing on the monkey bars and I see them, I try to not go, “Oh, careful!”

Any parent will attest to this—there’s an element of trying to protect from a distance, so that they can find their way and not feel overparented and controlled. That’s a hard balance.  Sometimes, I am too much, and that’s when both of them go, “Please don’t go, ‘Oh!’” I hear that a lot. And, “Please, don’t burst into tears.”

Nicole Kidman —Ruben V. Nepales

Nicole Kidman —Ruben V. Nepales

So, it’s that tempering of emotions. I’d probably err on the more emotional side.

How has it been living in Nashville? I love it there, I really do. In terms of a home base, it’s good for us. It’s quiet and easy—a really lovely way of life.

Keith has lived there for 25 years. When I met him, he said, “How do you feel about Nashville?” I was like, “Absolutely, I will move.” And I did. I am the kind of person who could move pretty much anywhere. If I love somebody, and he says, “This is where I live.” I would be like, “OK.” I am far more attached to a person than I am to an environment. So that (having to move) would never be a deal-breaker for me.

What comes to your mind when you think about the young girl you were when you went to drama school? It’s wow (laughs)! Because as much as you can imagine things, I don’t think I would have imagined this. But if I think about it, what I do is make movies, so I’m doing what I did when I was 14 … but with the same amount of passion.

I would have thought that this (acting career) would have been dissipated or muted by now. There have been times when it’s certainly been a little less. But doing a scene, being with actors and a committed director still give me the same satisfaction.

Do your girls always travel with you? We always travel together. We never split them up. They don’t fight. I think it’s because they travel so much together that they have had to create their own little bubble together—and it’s a very protective little world.

They’re only two years apart, so they are very close. Keith and I were just discussing it, going, “Oh, maybe one of us should take one of them or the other on a trip …” We looked at each other and were like, “No” (laughs). We were like, “Well, why would we separate them when we don’t have to?”

They sound like twins. Yeah. Antonia (her sister) and I are very similar (to Sunday and Faith).

Aside from your husband and kids, what do you treasure every day? I have to say raising Sunny (Sunday’s nickname) and Faith right now, and watching a 5-year-old (Faith) start to go to school and love it. As you get older, just the simplest things are the treasures, like waking up in the morning. I always wake up in a good mood. Keith will attest to that, because he is like, “How do you always wake up in a good mood?”

What’s it like to be Nicole Kidman right now? I am down on my knees grateful for my life. Truly, I mean that. And in the now. Because I have moments where I jump into the future and part of the thing of being a parent, particularly an older one, is I have got to stay alive!

And stay in a place of deep gratitude for just the here and now. It is hard to say, and it’s the easiest lesson to learn, let alone live.

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TAGS: Adoption, Dev Patel, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman

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