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November 11, 2007

Nicole Kidman Tells It Like It Is

nicole kidman in red

Photo Credit: James White

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Even though Kidman has done hundreds of interviews over the years, talking about her life makes her nervous as she wrestles with what to reveal. When she initially came striding into the hotel bar, it was as if a director had yelled, "Action!" She overcompensated for her shyness by launching headlong into conversation, no small talk, urging me to turn on the tape recorder right away-the equivalent of diving into cold water.

With CNN on in the background featuring a story on Elizabeth Edwards and her metastatic breast cancer, Kidman blurts out that her own mother had breast cancer many years ago. "I was 17. It was a long time ago, but it is still so vivid in my memory, and it formed me," says Kidman, whose mother is now fine. "To be threatened at that age with losing your mother and to see her suffer to such a degree-my heart goes out to Elizabeth Edwards."

Kidman says she feels angry about all the second-guessing and public debate over whether Edwards and her husband are right to continue his campaign for the presidency. "People can tell you what to do, but ultimately, we're all going to die, so how do you want to live?" She then recites a line from her Oscar-winning performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours, saying, "It's my choice, to choose how to live my life." And it's clear that she is talking not just about Edwards.

Among the landmark events of the past year, Kidman turned 40, a dangerous age for an actress. But she sounds positively gung ho about her middle-age status. "Yippee! I can't believe I made it," she says. "It feels like a long haul to get here. I'm so fine with it. People want you to have some sort of breakdown, but I'm relieved to be 40 years old, and I've lived a life."

She and Urban celebrated both her June 20th birthday and their first anniversary in Australia (they first met in 2005 at a gala dinner in L.A.). With Kidman filming Baz Luhrmann's Australia in her home country from this past April into November and Urban on tour in Europe and North America, the couple is enduring a frequent-flier marriage. After wrapping up Australia, Kidman is scheduled to go directly to Germany for five weeks to star in the film version of the book The Reader. "At Christmastime, I get a few weeks off," she says. "And after that, my husband and I have bought a farm in Tennessee, and we'll lie low. He still has some touring, and I'll be out and about with him, but basically I'll be setting up a new home. It's not too big-maybe we'll add to it as we go along-but right now it's enough for two people."

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