Nicole Kidman's Post-Divorce Style Transformation Is A Glow-Up For The Ages

Very few can do a glow-up like Nicole Kidman has. Although she made a name for herself in films outside her home country of Australia, it was her performances in "Days of Thunder," "Far and Away," and of course the Kubrick film that left many of us scratching our heads, "Eyes Wide Shut," that thrust her into the Hollywood limelight. It's also worth acknowledging that all these films co-starred her leading man in real life, Tom Cruise. While these movies were great and definitely memorable, it's the work that Kidman did after she and Cruise separated in 2001 that really stands out.


It was only after Kidman shook Cruise from her life — who can forget the photo of her enraptured in pure joy while leaving her attorney's office, knowing that it was all finally over — that we got to see her flourish as an artist. In fact, she's the perfect example of how an unhealthy relationship and a toxic man (especially one so deep in Scientology), can stand in the way of a woman's ambition, growth, and artistic vision.

Whether you're currently going through a divorce or are just on the other side of one, first of all, know that there are anthems for that. Secondly, even if you can't see it now, this experience is going to transform you in ways you couldn't have possibly imagined.

June 2001: Already a household name, Nicole Kidman is about to be a star thanks to her performance in Moulin Rouge

While some people might stay in bed after the announcement of separation, others glow the heck up and get themselves out there — especially when they have a film like "Moulin Rouge" to promote. Although Cruise and Kidman had announced their separation in February 2001, that didn't stop Kidman from showing up to the Cannes Film Festival just a few months later with director Baz Luhrmann and co-star Ewan McGregor. Not only was Kidman glowing, but she was sporting a look that said she was a free agent in more ways than one. She appeared strong, confident, totally together, and ready to slay. 


CNN film reviewer Paul Clinton called Kidman's performance in "Moulin Rouge" the best since 1995's "To Die For," a film that was loosely based on the Pamela Smart case in which Smart, a high school teacher, seduced her students into killing her husband. Said Clinton of Kidman's character Satine, she's "smoldering and stunning ... moves with total confidence throughout the film. With her willowy figure and perfect posture, she also manages to wear Martin's stunning costumes instead of letting the clothes wear her — no mean feat. Kidman seems to specialize in 'ice queen' characters, but with Satine she allows herself to thaw, just a bit."

March 2003: Kidman wins her first Oscar for The Hours

In 2003, Kidman hit (one of many) career highs by winning the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of writer Virginia Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's "The Hours." Although on the outside Kidman looked cool, calm, and collected, she would later admit that internally she was suffering.


"I was struggling with things in my personal life, yet my professional life was going so well," Kidman told author Dave Karger for his book "50 Oscar Nights," per People. As someone who doesn't consider herself a party girl, she forced herself to go to the Vanity Fair party, saying that she was "completely overwhelmed, emotional, [and] shaking ... I was almost apologetic, which is so stupid. I wish I could have enjoyed it more." She ended up going home early and spent the night in a hotel eating burgers and fries with her friends and family.

2006: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban get married

While a glow-up doesn't have to involve a man, if it happens to be the right man, it can really make a difference. When Kidman told author Dave Karger for his book "50 Oscar Nights" about the night she won the Oscar in 2003, she also said, "I sat on the floor of the hotel eating French fries and a burger with my family and went to bed. That's when it hit me. I went, I need to find my love; I need a love in my life. Because this is supposed to be when you go, 'This is ours.'"


Less than two years later, Kidman met singer and songwriter Keith Urban in 2005 at G'Day LA, and they were married the following year. In September 2021, Kidman sat down with Harper's Bazaar to talk about various projects and when she first met Urban. "Maybe I've gotten a bit more trepidatious, but I'm always trying to be as open as possible. I just prefer to live in the world that way ... My husband, Keith, says that when he met me, he said, 'How's your heart?' And I apparently responded, 'Open.'"

2017: Kidman returns to television with Big Little Lies

In 2017, Kidman returned to television with "Big Little Lies." Based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, the HBO series immediately became an immediate hit thanks, in part, to the standout cast that included Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, and Adam Scott in the first season. And, of course, having Kidman and Witherspoon as executive producers helped. The same year, she starred in Yorgos Lanthimos's "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" alongside Colin Farrell and soon-to-be hot rodent man Barry Keoghan. In 2020, she returned to HBO to star in "The Undoing" with Hugh Grant, a psychological thriller that became HBO's most-watched show of that year.


In 2021, Kidman turned another one of Moriarty's books, "Nine Perfect Strangers," into a series for Hulu. Again, Kidman was an executive producer, as well as the star.

2024: Nicole Kidman is a powerhouse — and that's an understatement

Now here we are in 2024 and what have we learned? After you drop someone from your life who's not making it any better and isn't bringing out the best in you, you don't just survive — you thrive, just as Nicole Kidman has done. Most recently, Kidman has starred in and was executive producer of the series "Expats" on Amazon Prime, and she's currently starring in Netflix's "A Family Affair" alongside Kathy Bates, Joey King, and Zac Efron. 


In March 2024, Kidman sat down with Elle to talk about the third installment of "Big Little Lies," after having confirmed in 2023 it was indeed happening. "There's the richness of the storylines, which we'd always discussed, but it needed time because there's actual unbelievable depth to the next chapter of these women's lives and their children's lives — because children grow up, and that's kind of fascinating," Kidman said.

Kidman doesn't just have one glow-up under her belt, but multiple and many more to come. She's an inspiration as not just an artist, but an ambitious woman who didn't let something like a little divorce hold her back from becoming the person she is today.