Since the late '80s, Nicole Kidman has been a mainstay on Hollywood's A-list. From winning the hearts of Tom Cruise and Keith Urban to winning Oscars, she's captivated our attention for decades. To celebrate this legendary actress's 54th birthday on June 20, 2021, let's take a look back at her dynamic life in the spotlight in photos…
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Nicole Mary Kidman was born on June 20, 1967, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her parents — biochemist and clinical psychologist Antony Kidman and nursing instructor Janelle Kidman (seen here with a teenaged Nicole) — are both Australian but were spending time in the United States on educational visas when they welcomed their first child. The Kidmans also lived in Washington, D.C., for a few years before moving back to Australia when Nicole was just a few years old. Though she was a shy child, she was a natural when it came to acting…
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In 1983, 16-year-old Nicole Kidman made her film debut in an Australian kids action-comedy, "BMX Bandits." (She's pictured here promoting the movie that December.) A starring role in Aussie holiday flick "Bush Christmas" followed soon after, as did a supporting role on the TV series "Five Mile Creek." When she was 17, she sang in a band called Divine Madness. "Three girls and four guys," Nicole told InStyle. "We did a lot of '70s stuff. I did Kate Bush, I did Blondie, I did Chaka Khan… We played at parties and one pub gig. We never got paid."
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In 1984, Nicole Kidman's family was devastated when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At 17, Nicole temporarily stepped back from acting and reportedly studied massage so she could help her mother with her physical therapy. Once Janelle recovered, however, Nicole (seen here at age 19 or 20) resumed her studies and her burgeoning career.
Nicole Kidman's breakthrough role came in the 1989 psychological thriller "Dead Calm," in which she starred opposite Sam Neill and Billy Zane as a wife trapped on a yacht with a murderer.
After Tom Cruise spotted her in "Dead Calm," Nicole Kidman scored a role as his love interest in 1990's "Days of Thunder," which became her mainstream American debut. Tom and Nicole fell for each other immediately, and Tom ended up leaving his then wife, Mimi Rogers, to romance the tall redhead. "We have so much in common that it's almost as if we are the same person," Nicole said of their relationship at the time. "We know what it takes to make each other happy."
On Christmas Eve 1990, It couple Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise made it official by tying the knot in Telluride, Colorado. Emilio Estevez served as best man while Nicole's sister, Antonia, was a bridesmaid. A few months after the wedding, Nicole and Tom began working on their second movie together, 1992's "Far and Away" (they're seen here at the premiere). Unlike "Days of Thunder," which was one of the highest grossing films of 1990, this Irish epic didn't have audiences flocking to see the couple, and the movie underperformed at the box office.
In 1996, Nicole Kidman took home her first of what would be many Golden Globes, nabbing the award for best actress in a musical or comedy for her portrayal of a murderous small-town TV weather girl in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For." She's seen here with fellow winner John Travolta at the Globes that January.
Motherhood was next! In 1993, Nicole Kidman and husband Tom Cruise adopted daughter Isabella, and in 1995, Bella's little brother, Connor, joined the family. The Cruises are seen here arriving at Australia's Sydney Kingsford Smith airport in January 1996.
In 1997, Nicole Kidman starred alongside George Clooney in the hit political thriller "The Peacemaker." The movie, which follows a U.S. Army colonel and a nuclear specialist as they track down stolen Russian nuclear weapons, grossed more than $110 million worldwide.
Third time's a charm? Unaffected by the failure of "Far and Away," Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman co-starred together again, this time in 1999's "Eyes Wide Shut." They played a married couple in Stanley Kubrick's sexually charged film about fidelity and betrayal. (Fun fact: At 400 days, the movie holds the Guinness World Record for the longest uninterrupted movie shoot. That's a lot of couple, er, bonding time.) They're seen here at the movie's premiere.
On Dec. 24, 2000, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise — seen here at the premiere of "Mission Impossible 2" in May 2000 — celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary. Six weeks later, on Feb. 7, 2001, Tom shocked the world — and Nicole — when he filed for divorce. The reason? It's unclear, but according to a People magazine report that was widely picked up, Tom told a source on the set of "Minority Report" that "Nic knows exactly why we are getting the divorce." The following month, Nicole suffered a miscarriage. It was later claimed that the actor's controversial religion, Scientology — of which Catholic Nicole was not a follower — was behind the breakup.
When Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise's divorce was finalized in August 2001, Nicole — seen here at the April 2001 premiere of "Moulin Rouge!" — retained the couple's $4.3 million mansion in Los Angeles's Pacific Palisades neighborhood and a $4 million home in Sydney, Australia, while Tom kept their 280-acre estate in Telluride, Colorado, as well as his airplanes, including a $100,000 Pitts S-2B, a $1.2 million Beech F90 and a $28 million-plus Gulfstream IV jet. The couple shared custody of their two adopted kids, at least early on, but ultimately, the children chose to be Scientologists like Tom and lived solely with him, reports later revealed.
Nicole Kidman spent 2001 promoting two wildly popular movies, "The Others" and "Moulin Rouge!" — the latter of which earned her a best actress Oscar nomination. She lost out to Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball" but in 2002 ended up winning her fifth Golden Globe, for her performance as Satine.
Through it all, Nicole Kidman has had one of her best friends, Naomi Watts, by her side. The two actresses met in Australia in the '80s at an open call for a bikini ad and attended the same school, North Sydney Girls' High School. They later appeared together in 1990's "Flirting" alongside Thandie Newton. They're seen here together at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2002.
Nicole Kidman drew raves for her performance as author Virginia Woolf in 2002's "The Hours." She famously wore a prosthetic nose for the role.
On Jan. 13, 2003, Nicole Kidman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — the 2,211th star, to be exact. It's located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.
Nicole Kidman wowed audiences and critics alike with her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in 2002's "The Hours." Her performance was so outstanding that she took home an Oscar for best actress on March 23, 2003. Still, success felt empty without someone to share it with. "It felt lonely and big," Nicole told Vanity Fair in 2007. "You're in a hotel and you're like, 'OK, well, I'm sitting in this big suite with an Oscar, and I still don't have a life. What is wrong with me?' It hit home that I needed to get a life. Who do I jump on the bed with, and celebrate with, and order pancakes with?"
Nicole Kidman found a new special someone soon enough. In July 2003, she started quietly dating Lenny Kravitz (that's him on her left, keeping his distance when they attended illusionist David Copperfield's 47th birthday party in New York City that September). They quietly got engaged, but the relationship didn't last, and they split the following December.
Don't mess with Nicole Kidman! In late 2003, the actress won big against two British tabloids that alleged that she'd caused the dissolution of Jude Law's marriage to Sadie Frost by having an affair with the actor while they were filming "Cold Mountain." Both newspapers were forced to apologize as well as pay Nicole substantial monetary damages. Nicole donated the money, minus her legal fees, to Fara, a charity that aids Romania's abandoned children. She went on to receive her sixth Golden Globe nomination for "Cold Mountain" — she's seen here with Jude at the period drama's New York City premiere in December 2003.
Nicole Kidman brought her only sibling, little sister Antonia Kidman — a journalist, TV presenter and author — as her date to the Miramax post-Golden Globe Awards party in January 2005. Nic had been nominated for a best actress Globe for her work in "Birth" but didn't seem too upset to have lost out to "Million Dollar Baby" star Hilary Swank earlier that night.
In January 2005 — shortly after she was romantically linked to producer and playboy Steve Bing — Nicole Kidman met Keith Urban at an award dinner held by the Australian government to honor famous Australians. She and the country music star quietly began dating and in February 2006, they went public at the Grammy Awards then attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party as well as UNIFEM's 30th Anniversary Celebration that May (seen here). Days later, they formally announced their engagement, though Nicole had been spotted wearing an engagement ring since November 2005.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban tied the knot on June 25, 2006, in North Sydney, Australia, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Sydney Harbor. The bride wore a gorgeous Balenciaga gown and veil. In attendance were celebs like Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger. A few months after the wedding, Keith checked into rehab, and Nicole stood by his side.
Nicole Kidman voiced a character in "Happy Feet" in 2006. She's seen here at the animated film's London premiere that November.
My, how he's grown! Connor Cruise accompanied mom Nicole Kidman to the 2007 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Nicole Kidman struggled to have a baby for years, so it was thrilling when, in January 2008, she and Keith Urban announced that they were expecting their first child together. The couple are seen here showing off her baby bump on the red carpet at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Sunday Rose Urban was born on July 7, 2008. "We feel immensely blessed and grateful to be given this beautiful baby girl," Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban told People magazine. "She's an absolute delight." Nicole's seen here with Sunday in Paris in December 2008.
On Dec. 28, 2010, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban welcomed their second daughter, Faith Margaret, via surrogate. "Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret," the couple said. "No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier." The Urban family is seen here all together in Los Angeles in January 2014.
Just a few months after the birth of her second daughter, Nicole Kidman received Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for best actress for her performance in 2010's "Rabbit Hole." The tragedy film follows a couple struggling to heal after the death of their young son. Nicole is seen here at the movie's Toronto Film festival premiere in September 2010.
In 2012, Nicole Kidman starred in Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" alongside Matthew McConaughey. The film was a box office bomb but earned Nicole her 10th Golden Globe nomination. She's seen here at its Cannes Film Festival premiere in May 2002.
Two years later, Nicole Kidman played Grace Kelly in "Grace of Monaco," a biopic that follows the star as she contemplates a return to Hollywood to star in Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie." Unfortunately, the film was critically panned, marking a rare miss for Nicole, who's seen here promoting it at China's Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2014.
Nicole Kidman bounced back in 2016 when she played Sue, an adoptive mother, in "Lion." The biopic earned more than $140 million worldwide on a $12 million budget as well as a fourth Academy Award nomination for Nicole, who's seen here with co-star Dev Patel at the movie's London premiere in October 2016.
Nicole Kidman landed the role of a lifetime in 2017 when she began starring as Celeste Wright, an abused mother and former lawyer, on HBO's "Big Little Lies." She received universal acclaim for her performance on the series, earning a SAG Award, a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice Award and two Emmys. She's seen here with on-screen husband Alexander Skarsgard at the 2017 Emmys.
Nicole Kidman returned to reprise her role as Celeste for the second season of "Big Little Lies," which debuted in June 2019. This time around, the cast — seen here at the series' May 2019 premiere — was joined by Oscar winner and Hollywood legend Meryl Streep, who played Celeste's mother-in-law.
Nicole Kidman's next big project saw her working alongside fellow talented beauties Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron in "Bombshell." Nicole took on the role of Fox News host Gretchen Carlson in the film, which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role.
Nicole Kidman attended the 2020 Golden Globe Awards as a nominee! She earned a best actress nod — her 13th Globe nomination to date — for her work on season 2 of "Big Little Lies." As always, Keith Urban was by her side.
Nicole Kidman starred in the most-watched HBO series of 2020 — "The Undoing." The twisty psychological thriller scored Nicole and her co-star Hugh Grant nominations at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards the following year, and she also served as executive producer on the popular series.
Starring in "The Undoing" earned Nicole Kidman another Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic award season looked a little different, but Nicole appeared on the Golden Globes telecast that February virtually alongside daughter Faith and husband Keith Urban.
Up next for Nicole Kidman? The Hulu series "Nine Perfect Strangers," set for an August release, and the Amazon Prime series "Pretty Things." She'll also be playing the iconic Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin's upcoming "Being the Ricardos."