Why a new baby won't end Nicole Kidman's family heartache

Mail, UK/January 27, 2011

There is nothing ­ commonplace about the house that baby Faith Margaret ­ Kidman Urban will call home. It is a seven-­bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion in Nashville that is fit for a pair of princesses.

The gigantic, grey stone pile has a tennis court, swimming pool and home theatre and is known locally as the Queen of Northumberland, such is its magnificence.

Mummy Nicole Kidman has for some time hosted weekly 10am baby groups there for Faith's big ­sister ­Sunday Rose and you can imagine the place must knock the socks off the other yummy mummies.

But creating this young family - a couple of freshly married parents with a newborn and a two-and-a-half-year-old - has come at an extraordinary cost which the gilded exterior will never disguise. For it has taken Kidman two decades to fulfil her hopes of motherhood.

And there is a further sadness, which her young daughters are ­helping to heal. Her two children whom she adopted with Tom Cruise haven't called her Mom for years. Her efforts to share more in their lives come to almost nothing. They live with Tom Cruise and his family, and rarely mix with anyone outside it.

She suspects that Scientology may be involved, as the ­religion frowns upon close relationships between its members and non-­Scientologists, and since their divorce she has returned to her Catholic faith.

People who know her say that Nicole sighs and worries in private, particularly over daughter Bella, who has turned 18, because she seems to be enmeshed in the Cruise machine to such an extent that she spends much of her time acting as a ­companion for little Suri.

It's not what Nicole, a feminist and a great reader, would have wanted for her adored little girl.

So how has Nicole ­managed to ­create her much-loved new family against such a ­painful backdrop?

That her youngest child has been born to a 'gestational carrier' using Kidman's eggs and Urban's sperm tells its own tale of their struggle to ­conceive. Nicole is now, after all, 43 years old.

While her sister Antonia has had five ­children, Nicole struggled to ­conceive with Tom Cruise. The story did not change after her 2006 wedding to Keith Urban. She spent weeks with him on tour so that they could try for a baby, but it took more than a year before they were successful.

The arrival of Sunday Rose, whose ­reddish hair recalls her mother, has brought the actress the purest joy. Nicole concedes that having a baby has been a healing experience.

'It took me so long to get ­pregnant and have a baby, so I feel enormous gratitude,' she said last year. 'Sunday has healed an enormous amount in me. It's a very private thing, but she just has.'

She has longed to hold her own baby ever since she was 23. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were ­married in 1990 and tried to start a family, but had little success. Nicole told Vanity Fair nearly two decades later: 'We lost a baby early on, so that was really very traumatic.'

Finally, the adoption option was pursued - apparently with the help of the Scientologists, who found a married Scientologist mother of two, who said that she could not afford to look after a third child, and offered the infant up for private adoption.

On December 22, 1992, the ­couple became parents to a 9lb girl they named ­Isabella Jane ­Kidman Cruise, who was born in a hospital in Miami.

They completed their family in 1995 by adopting Connor, then four months old.

However, their marriage began to run out of steam and was declared over in ­February 2001 when Bella was eight and ­Connor six. Cruise asked for joint custody. A few weeks after they separated, Kidman had a miscarriage.

In the aftermath, the deal was that they would share Bella and Connor. For a time they lived in New York with Nicole. But around 2004, with Nicole at her professional peak, they started to live with Tom.

The arrangement had always been that they would see Nicole when she wasn't working, but that ­summer, despite long separations, they went to Scientology camp instead.

Nicole, thin and nervy, with an Oscar thanks to her role in The Hours, appeared to be heartbroken.

The children now live in a new home in Los Angeles which cost in the region of $30?million. The joke is that the house is so huge that you need a GPS to find the ­children.

Bella has had a rebellious period - in 2007 she put blue streaks in her hair, and around this time she was noted for ­borrowing clothes from Katie's wardrobe. Since then, she has settled down and has ambitions to be a screen writer.

Connor, meanwhile, is more in Tom's image. He loves fast cars like his father - they visited the ­Daytona racetrack together this year. They also love to watch ­basketball and are fans of the LA Lakers.

The arrival of 26-year-old Katie ­Holmes in 2005 changed little in the lives of the Cruise children. However, they grew to like their father's sweet-natured, young girlfriend.

Both Bella and Connor were invited to ­witness Katie delivering baby Suri in April 2006. And from this time onwards, Katie was referred to as Mom by them both.

A source says: 'Nicole talks to the kids all the time, but doesn't see a lot of them. She and Keith spend a lot of time in Nashville and ­Australia, and the kids don't want to be away from their lives and LA home. Nicole understands - she lets it go.'

It's intriguing that Nicole should choose this moment, when the ­children are nearly grown and her own new family is complete, to say: 'I'd love them to live with us, but what can you do?'

But, despite the arrival of her two younger daughters, who could blame Nicole Kidman for indulging in a bit of wishful thinking?

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