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EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Kidman gets candid about the importance of "trust" in her marriage

''That would be it; my life would be over.''

By Jenny Cooney Carrillo
In her new limited series The Undoing, Nicole Kidman is playing a woman whose life falls apart when she discovers that everything she thought she knew about her husband was a lie.
While the 53-year-old Oscar winner admits her own marriages to both Tom Cruise, which ended in 2001, and Keith Urban who she married in 2006 have never been that fraught, she's candid about how she thinks she'd respond if faced with a similar revelation.
"I'd be devastated, that would be it; my life would be over," Nicole declares when the question is posed to her on a Zoom call to her Sydney home.
"I believe trust is a huge part of our culture. Do you trust when people tell you things? Who do you believe? What is belief in someone anyway? And should you just offer trust unconditionally or should it be conditional? And should someone have to prove they're trustworthy? All those are really interesting questions and a big part of what's on everyone's minds today, because I now have to also trust that you've taken precautions and are social distancing too!"
Nicole says it all comes down to trust. (Getty)
In the six-episode limited series, loosely based on the Jean Hanff Korelitz novel You Should Have Known, Nicole and Hugh Grant play New York couple Grace and Jonathan Fraser.
He's a doctor and she's a psychologist living happily with their son Henry (Noah Jupe). When a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations follow, Grace is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her husband.
"The focus in The Undoing is really on someone who wants to believe something, chooses to believe it and doesn't want to see it differently," Nicole explains.
"We all have that as part of our human nature too – when your life is good, you choose not to see the cracks. Many people will watch the show and think, 'Can't you see it? It's right in front of you!' But then, as an audience member, you're forced to start going, 'Well, actually, maybe I'm wrong.'"
Nicole and Grant in The Undoing. (Supplied)
These days, Nicole has established herself as a major player in television, producing and starring in the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning series Big Little Lies and its acclaimed second season.
Her company, Blossom, is also producing the new limited series, Nine Perfect Strangers (also based on a book by Big Little Lies author Lianne Moriarty), now filming in Byron Bay.
"My calling has always been to act and tell stories through my voice – wherever I can contribute by digging deep and giving my heart, basically," she admits.
"I loved working with Hugh Grant, because he allowed himself to be vulnerable. When I see an actor open their heart and give a deep part of themselves, I go up and hug them and say, 'Thank you', because I know what that takes to give that much."
Nicole also lights up as she talks about Golden Globe-winner Donald Sutherland, who plays Grace's supportive father in The Undoing.
"Donald is my dad's height, and he reminds me of my father," she says, referring to psychologist Antony Kidman, who died in 2014. "So I'd go up to him and want to just snuggle him all the time!"

Nicole's voice is suddenly thick with emotion when asked about how her parents shaped her.
"My sister [Antonia, the journalist and TV presenter] and I were talking recently about how lucky we were, because I would turn to my father for advice all the time, and to my mother [Janelle] too," Nicole reflects. "She's incredibly intelligent and doesn't mince her words, telling it like it is, but also being nurturing," she adds with a smile.
"We can all express our feelings and go on and on, but ultimately you have a choice to move forward or collapse – and my mother always pushed us to move forward. I have a strong sense of self, thanks to her. I hope I can pass that on to my kids too."
Playing a psychologist in The Undoing, Nicole admits much of her insight came from observing her father's work.
"He was a compassionate man, who offered to see people for nothing if they couldn't afford to see him," she says. "I remember calling him before I went on the [Broadway] stage to do The Blue Room [1998], having a complete meltdown in terms of stage fright, and he just talked me through it on the phone," she recalls.
"He gave me the ability to handle this industry, because it's really tough."
Nicole is busy as ever, now filming in Byron Bay. (Supplied)
In December, we will see Nicole singing and dancing alongside Meryl Streep and James Corden in the Netflix movie adaptation of Broadway musical Prom.
Nicole has been singing professionally since her Golden Globe-winning role in the 2001 musical Moulin Rouge, but she's humble about how she wound up singing the classic song "Dream A Little Dream" featured over the opening credits in The Undoing.
"Susanne Bier [the director] asked me to sing the credits because she thought it would imbue the series with the soul of Grace," Nicole recalls. "At first, I said, 'No, I don't want to do it.
But it was in the middle of the lockdown and Susanne didn't have a lot of other options.
Luckily, Keith has a small studio at our home in Nashville and he could operate everything. So, he recorded me, told me when I was flat [laughs], pulled it together and sent it off to be mixed."

Being based in Byron Bay in northern NSW at the moment means she's not too far from where the local version of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is being filmed. So would she venture into reality TV?
"There's only one [reality show] I'd do," Nicole says. "It's called Celebrity IOU, where you choose somebody you're close to who really needs help and they [co-hosts and twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott] come in and redo their home. I thought that was a really nice one."
"Brad Pitt and Melissa McCarthy both did segments and said they [Jonathan and Drew] were lovely people, so maybe you'll see me on that one day. I do sometimes watch reality shows, and they can be entertaining, but you definitely won't see an Urban family reality show!"

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