Family

Nicole Kidman opens up about the pain of having her eldest children choose Scientology over her

When Nicole divorced first husband, Tom Cruise, the personal cost to her was great.

As any parent who has been through a separation will know, the most painful aspect of a split does not come from knowing you'll no longer wake up with your partner every morning, it comes from knowing you'll no longer wake up to your kids every day.
Family life is never the same again and the daily interactions you once enjoyed with your children give way to shared custody arrangements, alternate weekends and negotiations over Christmas Day.
But for Nicole Kidman, who separated from first husband Tom Cruise in 2001, her separation came at an even greater cost. She was lucky if she got to see her children at all.
The Australian actress, whose new film The Goldfinch is out this week, adopted children Isabella, now 26, and Connor, now 24, with devout Scientologist Tom Cruise during their first few years of marriage but when Nicole moved back to Australia the two children chose to stay with Tom. They've been immersed in the Church of Scientology ever since.
In an incredibly raw interview with The Sun Nicole revealed that she was unable to stop crying during that time in her life and relied heavily on the support of her girlfriends.
Keith and Nicole with their daughters Sunday Rose, 11, and Faith Margaret, 8.
"My girlfriends' saving my life is true," she said. "Like, picking me up off the ground and just being there...
"I can't even think, I can't even operate, and I can't stop crying, and they're like, 'Don't worry. We've got it covered'. It makes me cry with gratitude."
Nicole went on to rebuild her life and now lives in Nashville with her husband of 13 years, country singer Keith Urban, 51, and their daughters Sunday Rose, 11, and Faith Margaret, eight.
The Hollywood icon has come a long way since those darkest of days and even revealed to the publication that she now has an amicable relationship with Tom and is trying to heal rifts with Connor and Bella.
She philosophised, "Motherhood is about the journey. There are going to be incredible peaks and valleys, whether you are an adopting mother or a birth mother...
"They have made choices to be Scientologists. It's our job as a parent to always offer unconditional love."
In a previous interview she revealed how she'd come to understand that a big part of parenting is accepting the choices your children make.
She said, "Parenting is about learning who they are, not making them what you want them to be - letting them find their way then supporting them..."
She admitted to The Sun that at 23 she had been very young when she married Tom Cruise but also said that at that time she was "madly, passionately in love".
"He swept me off my feet. I fell madly, passionately in love. And as happens, 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.
"That's how we are raising our children," Nicole explained. "Keith has his own beliefs but he comes, too. I had a very Catholic grandmother, and I was raised praying, so that had massive impact. I wouldn't say it's absolutism, there's constant questioning - I'm a willful, feisty girl. For me it's very important that I don't have judgment. My dad would always say, 'Tolerance is the most important thing.'"