Kidman was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She lived in the United States until she was four, when her family moved to Australia. Her father, Tony Kidman, was researching breast cancer in Washington, D.C and at one stage, a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. She started taking ballet lessons when she was three and studied at St. Martin's Youth Theater, Australian theater for Young People, and Philip Street Theater. Nicole's father had her and her younger sister do push ups and jumping jacks in the morning, to keep them fit.
She started her career at 14, when she starred in Bush Christmas. The movie is still often played at Christmas time. Nicole dropped out of North Sydney High School when her mother got breast cancer. When her mother recovered, Nicole continued with her acting career. Throughout the 1980s she appeared in many Australian movies and TV series, notably including BMX Bandits, and the miniseries Bangkok Hilton.
Nicole starred in Dead Calm in 1989 and later with Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, a stock-car racing movie. She married Tom Cruise on Christmas Eve of 1990 in Telluride, Colorado. The wedding was a secret at the time. She was in Billy Bathgate with Bruce Willis and Dustin Hoffman and in 1992 she was in Ron Howard's Far and Away. She starred in Batman Forever, and then in The Portrait of a Lady.
She and Tom adopted two children and lived in Los Angeles, California, Australia, Colorado, and New York. She and Tom starred in Eyes Wide Shut in 1999 - the last film by Stanley Kubrick - and in 1998 Nicole was one of the three witches in Practical Magic. In late 2002 Nicole and Tom divorced, though the divorce was amiable. Celebrity gossip commented frequently that the primary cause of the divorce may have been Nicole's refusal to allow their children to be raised in Scientology, which had been heavily promoted by Tom; she wanted them to be raised Catholic instead.
Nicole Kidman's most professionally successful year was 2001, with her Oscar-nominated performance in Moulin Rouge and well-received star turn in a horror film, The Others. However, her personal life received more tabloid interest when she and Cruise divorced. She had a knee injury from Moulin Rouge, so Jodie Foster had to fill in for her in Panic Room. She won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours.
Emma's War, Alexander The Great, The Interpreter, The Stepford Wives and Bewitched are future movies for Kidman.