For roughly a decade, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were Hollywood’s “it” couple. Having met on the set of Days of Thunder in 1990, the two would go on to wed soon after but would later divorce a little more than a decade later. But following their onset chemistry, the two were quickly in the honeymoon phase of their relationship.
“He basically swept me off my feet,” Nicole told Vanity Fair in 2002 of their romance that quickly began after working together, while Tom admitted to the same publication in 1994 that meeting her “was that special connection when you recognize your soul mate.”
“I fell madly, passionately in love,” Nicole added. “And as happens when you fall in love, my whole plan in terms of what I wanted for my life — I was like, ‘Forget it. This is it.’ I was consumed by it, willingly. And I was desperate to have a baby with him. I didn’t care if we were married.”
“Seeing Nicole with Isabella, I see a whole other side to her,” Tom told Vanity Fair of Nicole as a mother in his 1994 interview. “Sometimes, I just stand back and watch. Or I’ll walk up the stairs and just stand there and listen to them play. Sometimes, Nic will forget to turn that little baby-speaker thing off, and I’ll just sit there and listen to them. Those are the little moments in life when you stop and think, ‘I want to make sure I’ll remember this forever.’”
Days of Thunder wasn’t the only set on which the two worked together. The then-pair later teamed up to star in late director Stanley Kubrick’s erotic thriller and his final film Eyes Wide Shut, with filming beginning in 1996.
Despite portraying a couple experiencing marital issues on a production that lasted for a record-breaking 15 months, Nicole said that the two were still as happy as ever during the filming process.
Discussing their marriage in 2020 with The New York Times Magazine, Nicole said that during the filming of Eyes Wide Shut, they “were happily married through that. We would go go-kart racing after those scenes. We’d rent out a place and go racing at three in the morning. I don’t know what else to say. Maybe I don’t have the ability to look back and dissect it. Or I’m not willing to.”
Eventually, in 2001, the pair split, and Tom filed for divorce. Nicole told Vanity Fair in 2002, “My life collapsed. People ran from me because suddenly it was ‘Oh, my God! It’s over for her now!’”
She added that she thought “had to choose” between work and family.
“I think [the marriage] would have come down to it,” she added. “I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. What I see now is a 9-year-old little girl who [the divorce] affected, and I see a 7-year-old boy and see my duty as a mother. It means for the rest of my life I have to do things to protect and help them and make it up to them. That sounds so old-fashioned and strange. I don’t know why that’s in me, but it is.”
Scroll through the photos to relive Tom and Nicole’s relationship.
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