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November 11, 2007

Nicole Kidman Tells It Like It Is

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Kidman had to go to New York City to dub some dialogue for another movie, and the producers sent a helicopter to fetch her in the Hamptons. Liz Himelstein, Kidman's dialect coach and pal, recalls, "We got into the helicopter and got up into the sky, and Nicole took my hand and said, 'Can you believe this life? Let's savor this moment!'" Indeed, she's taken none of it for granted. Says the director of The Golden Compass, Chris Weitz, "I never had the sense that she was slumming, that she was doing a silly science-fiction movie. Nicole was taking a character"-which he describes as "the Darth Vader of our trilogy"-"very seriously and treating her like a person." Similarly, says Nora Ephron, who directed Kidman in Bewitched, "She kills herself for you. All the obvious things that you might think about her-that she's an ice princess and unapproachable-are just not true. She's extremely funny, extremely giggly, a fantastic girlfriend to her girlfriends."

And yet for all the blessings of her career, Kidman says she realizes she has used her work as a crutch-"an escape," as she puts it. "I'm not willing to do that now. I have to face up to my own life rather than hiding in somebody else's and expressing myself through somebody else." Although there are critics who question whether she can, well, express herself these days. Ever since her appearance at the Academy Awards this past year, there has been persistent buzz over whether Kidman is overly Botoxed. Up close, Kidman's face is quite expressive, her laugh lines evident when she smiles.

I ask whether the stories upset her. "I actually don't read them," she says. "To be honest, I am completely natural. I have nothing in my face or anything. I wear sunscreen, and I don't smoke. I take care of myself. And I'm very proud to say that."

So she hasn't used Botox? "No," she replies, exasperated. "Anybody can do anything to themselves, their bodies. I have no judgment on it. I personally believe in physical health because of the way I was raised. I can't go in the sun; I'm fair-skinned. That was a nightmare when I was a kid, but it has some benefits now. It's that simple. I still had one skin cancer on my leg, because I put my legs in the sun." Rather than obsess about wrinkles, she stresses that she is more concerned about people with real problems. "I've got a friend who has very bad rheumatoid arthritis; I've got a friend battling throat cancer; my sister has just gone through a divorce."

To read the rest of this article check out the December issue of Marie Claire - on newsstands now!

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