Cruising for Control - 2001-02-26
At first glimpse, it might have seemed a joyous family reunion. On Feb. 9 Nicole Kidman's mother, Janelle, and sister Antonia arrived in L.A. from Sydney and were whisked away to the Pacific Palisades home the actress shared for two years with her husband, Tom Cruise. Friends dropped by to visit and play with the couple's daughter Isabella, 8, and son Connor, 6. Only the man of the house was missing. By the time of the couple's stunning announcement, on Feb. 5, that they had separated after years of marriage, Cruise had moved out. The presence of family and friends did little to boost Kidman's spirits. "Nicole is not upset," says one. "She is devastated."
And not just because a marriage that was the toast of Hollywood for 10 years has ended. As more comes to light about the breakup, it seems clear that Cruise, 38, is calling the shots—and calling them fast. His decision to file for divorce just two days after the couple announced their separation left Kidman, 33, "high and dry" and humiliated, says one friend. What's more, the pair had only begun talking seriously about a separation a couple of weeks before they split, when tensions over differences as abstract as religion and as concrete as where to vacation came to a head. "Even though there were strains," says Kidman's close friend, Australian director John Duigan, "the actual final breach was sudden and jarring."
With so much at stake—custody of the children, at least $250 million in cash, homes and other property, not to mention the images of two of Hollywood's most bankable movie stars—those close to the pair are bracing for what could prove a messy battle. "Just prepare for the cannons," says one Kidman friend. "This is going to get so ugly."