Nicole Kidman struggled with depression while playing Virginia Woolf after Tom Cruise divorce

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·2-min read
Nicole Kidman struggled with depression while playing Virginia Woolf after Tom Cruise divorce
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  • Nicole Kidman
    Nicole Kidman
    American-Australian actress
  • Virginia Woolf
    English modernist writer known for use of stream of consciousness
  • Tom Cruise
    Tom Cruise
    American actor and producer

Nicole Kidman has said that she suffered with depression while playing Virginia Woolf in the wake of her divorce from Tom Cruise.

The Australian actor won an Oscar for her portrayal of the author – who died by suicide – in the 2002 film The Hours, which also starred Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.

Woolf’s mental health problems while writing Mrs Dalloway and her death were both shown on screen, with Kidman admitting that she became an “open vessel” for the writer’s struggles after insisting on filming the suicide scene without the use of a stunt double.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life on New Year’s Day, Kidman said: “I don’t know if I ever thought of the danger, I think I was so in her.”

The Hours was shot one year after Kidman announced her divorce from Cruise, who she had met in 1989.

“I think I was in a place myself at that time that was removed, depressed, not in my own body,” Kidman said.

Kidman played Virginia Woolf in ‘The Hours' (Clive Coote/Paramount/Miramax/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Kidman played Virginia Woolf in ‘The Hours' (Clive Coote/Paramount/Miramax/Kobal/Shutterstock)

“So the idea of Virginia coming through me, I was pretty much an open vessel for it to happen. And I think [director Stephen Daldry] 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.”

Kidman, who is currently starring as Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos, also discussed her mental health in another recent interview, where she said that she often feels “melancholy”.

When questioned about the last thing that made her cry, Kidman responded: “That’s too personal. But yeah, I cry. I try to keep a lid on that, but everything is deeply sad.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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