For years, Nicole Kidman maintained a dignified silence over her ill-fated marriage to Tom Cruise.
But the actress has finally spilled on life as Mrs Cruise, revealing she lived in her husband’s shadow and sensed it was her job ‘to be seen and not heard’.
The former Hollywood golden couple, who are parents to Isabella, 15, and Connor, 13, separated just after their 10th wedding anniversary in 2001.
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She told Glamour magazine she felt stifled during the high-profile marriage: ‘I felt I became a star only by association. I didn’t think [my early movies] were very good, which is why I would always cower in the background.’
‘I thought, I don’t deserve to be here. We would go to the Oscars and I would think, I’m here to support him.
‘I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and to be seen and not heard.’
Kidman and Cruise first met while making the film Days of Thunder when she was just 22, and subsequently starred together in Far and Away and the sexually explicit Eyes Wide Shut.
But it was after the split that her career really soared with an acclaimed role in Moulin Rouge and a 2003 best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours.
Her next movie, the highly-anticipated Baz Luhrmann directed drama Australia, is due to be released later this year.
The 41-year-old is now married to country singer and fellow Australian Keith Urban, with whom she has a 4-month-old daughter, Sunday Rose.
Kidman says she is now happier than ever: ‘I’m in a place of gratitude and humility. I touch wood every day. The journey of life – we all go through it.
‘You have love, you lose love, you find new love. To have love again is a beautiful thing.’
Cruise, 46, now has a two-year-old daughter Suri with new wife Katie Holmes, who is 17 years his junior.
The devout Scientologist has been accused of being a controlling husband in his current marriage, with his detractors maintaining an an unofficial ‘Free Katie’ campaign throughout their relationship.