Money can buy you many things and fame can get you a decent table in exclusive restaurants, but neither will shield you from a broken heart. When it comes to the emotional pains and strains of divorce and separation, the rich and famous are just as vulnerable as the rest of us.
In a recently published interview with DuJour magazine, actress Nicole Kidman recalls her split from film star Tom Cruise in terms that will sound only too familiar to the many non-celebrities who have had to deal with the pain of their significant other one day announcing that it’s all over.
Kidman, the star of Dead Calm, Moulin Rouge and many other films, met Cruise in 1989 and the couple married the following year. By December 2000 they had been together for ten years. She told the magazine: “I thought our life together was perfect.”. But just two months later, Cruise announced that he was leaving her. No explanation was given for the breakup – at least publically – and Kidman says she felt she had lost her identity and that no one would want to speak to her now that Cruise had gone.
When she appeared on US TV show Good Morning America she offered a guarded but optimistic: “I’m a person who carries everything that happens to me in the past into the future. But I refuse to let it make me bitter. I still completely believe in love, and I remain open to anything that will happen to me.”
It is now of course, more than ten years later and Kidman seems ready to fill in a few of the details, telling DuJour: “It took me a very long time to heal. It was a shock to my system.”
And just last month she described her life after the split to Australian magazine Who as “the loneliest, loneliest existence” and frankly admits that she had to “I had to really dig deep and find my way through depression”.
As a divorce lawyer I have heard similar sentiments expressed by the clients who come through my doors on many an occasion. Depression is a very common reaction amongst those who have had divorce inflicted upon them by their partners. They may still have been in love with their former husband or wife only to wake up one morning and discover that this feeling is no longer mutual – that their partners do not love them any more or, even worse, have deceived them.
This can be a quite shattering revelation – certainly worse than that other familiar 21st Century trauma, losing one’s job. Divorce can cut more deeply because it is more personal. We may spend huge chunks of our lives at work but it is still something we do and not who we are that is at stake. It is no wonder some people take years to recover their equilibrium.
Since 2001, of course, Tom Cruise has gone through a whole other marriage – his third – to actress Katie Holmes. They married in 2006 and divorced earlier this year, this time reportedly at Holmes’ instigation.
Kidman meanwhile, has been happily married to Australian musician Keith Urban since 2006. The couple have had two children together, the second via a surrogate mother.
Talking to DuJour, she said “We have a wonderful home life”, adding:
“And it’s my life. Before, I was running away from life. Now I embrace it. You never know how long you have. So I cherish every minute.”
I think that is a great message to everyone who bears the scars of a painful divorce.