Nicole Kidman reveals she suffered depression: 'Not in my own body'

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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Nicole Kidman has revealed she was suffering with depression while starring as Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a role that would go on to win her an Oscar.

The 54-year-old has admitted she became an "open vessel" to the suicidal character's thoughts after taking on the role following her 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman has revealed she suffered with depression while playing suicidal Virginia Woolf after her divorce from Tom Cruise. Photo: Getty

The film follows the author's struggle with mental health while writing Mrs Dalloway and also showed her taking her own life in 1941, with Nicole refusing to allow her stunt double to shoot the scene.

"I don't know if I ever thought of the danger, I think I was so in her," the star told This Cultural Life on BBC Radio 4

She added that she shot the scene 'over and over again', saying, "I probably don't consider danger enough."

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Speaking of her own emotions at the time, she said, "I think I was in a place myself at that time that was removed, depressed, not in my own body. So the idea of Virginia coming through me, I was pretty much an open vessel for it to happen. And I think Stephen [Daldry, the film's director] was very delicate with me because he knew that.

"I was open to understand it, which I think is probably the beauty of life as an actor."

Nicole also spoke of her mental health experiences, saying, "There's a point where you're like, oh, I have so many experiences now.

Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf
The Hours follows Virginia Woolf's struggle with mental health while writing Mrs Dalloway and also showed her taking her own life in 1941. Photo: Paramount Pictures

"I've delved and traversed many different landscapes of mental health and loss and ideas and joy and raised birth and you know, life is what it is.

"It's far more examined for me now than when I was 14. I'm definitely in it. I'm definitely feeling it and definitely aware of the preciousness of it and the time. The other extraordinary thing I'm very aware of is I'm around and exposed to some of the greatest minds in the world. I'm the recipient of their focus."

She continued, "I'm grown by them, I'm taught by them, I'm shaped by them, and I'm seen by them, and that is, that is a beautiful, beautiful journey to be on. I hope it still continues, but I value it. I don't take any of that for granted and I know what it is. I try to stay in that place.

"I definitely don't want to shut down as I get older. I want to become rawer, and more open, more available and freer."

Nicole shot The Hours in 2002, right after her divorce with Tom after 11 years of marriage and adopting two children, daughter Isabella, 29, and son Connor, 26.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
Nicole shot The Hours in 2002, right after her divorce with Tom after 11 years of marriage. Photo: Getty

Speaking of the divorce in a 2012 interview with Who magazine, Nicole said, "When it didn’t work out I had to really dig deep and find my way through depression. I have no regrets about all of it. It was all part of growing up."

Nicole is now married to singer Keith Urban, and explained her depression stemmed from her inability to conceive with Tom. 

She welcomed her first biological daughter Sunday Rose in 2008, and then in 2010, the pair welcomed their second daughter Faith Margaret, via a surrogate. 

"I had tried and failed and failed and failed. Not to be too detailed, but I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages and I’ve had fertility treatments. I’ve done all the stuff you can possibly do to try get pregnant," she told the publication.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Nicole has been happily married to Keith Urban since 2006. Photo: Getty

"Every woman who has been through all those ups and downs knows the depression that comes with it."

She added that her children are the "miracle in my life".

Nicole recently opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle at the premiere of her new film Being the Ricardos, in which she stars as another real-life icon, Lucille Ball, revealing she found the process "terrifying".

"To play her, but also Aaron Sorkin having written and directed it and to work opposite Javier Bardem and then all of the actors that he had handpicked for each role, I think that's the intoxicating mix,” she said.

"It's also daunting and terrifying, but at the same time, that's what we do as actors,” she continued.

"We jump in and we forge hopefully into new territory, not always doing what we know we can do. I did not know I’d be able to do it, as [Keith] will attest, but I certainly was going to give it my best try."

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

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