Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban Face The Reality of Marriage

Gorgeous Aussie super star, Nicole Kidman fulfilled her dreams of a fairytale wedding and is besotted with spunky new husband, Keith Urban. All Australians took delight in their love story and wished them lifelong happiness on their Big Day in Sydney in June 2006.

But the question back then was: What will happen when the euphoria of the wedding and romantic honeymoon is over and the newlyweds face a barrage of real-life challenges?

The first challenge was initiating Keith into the role of step dad to her two children, Isabella and Connor, then aged 13 and 11.

The idolised country singer was 38 when he finally got hitched and previously had little to do with children and instant fatherhood came as a shock.

When the couple had baby Sunday Rose in July 2008, their parenting challenges were compounded. Adjusting to the demands of a baby as well as older children could easily have sent the freewheeling star into a tailspin.

However it seemed the former wild lad was committed to changing his habits and had checked himself into the Betty Ford Centre in California in October 2006, just months after his marriage, and in January 2007 publicly declared that he had completed rehabilitation.

It must have been tough for the newlyweds to confront the demon of his drug addiction and clearly it was his priority to get clean before he embarked on the responsibility of fathering a baby.

Just as other famous dads such as Brad Pitt are revelling in fatherhood, the country crooner’s heart has been melted by the irresistible charms of a newborn. He has defied the cynics and shown he was ready to settle down into family life. However no doubt it has been a steep learning curve.

A radiant Nicole Kidman, now 42, is clearly devoted to her baby daughter, who’s just turned one. After a spectacular movie career, the acclaimed actor is enjoying her happiest role and making fellow Australians proud.

The couple continue to face the delicate business of dealing with her ex, the legendary Tom Cruise and his partner, Katie Holmes in juggling access visits of the two teenagers. As all divorced parents know, this requires flexibility and the ability to negotiate. It can take years to learn these skills.

Like all of us, the couple lugged their emotional baggage into their marriage. Nicole has some deep emotional wounds from her painful divorce and, depending on how much healing she did in the years between, she brought a high degree of vulnerability into her second marriage. Keith is no doubt required to offer lashings of understanding, consolation and reassurance.

Nicole was also insecure about his past sexual experiences as much as he was rattled by her former love life with Tom. In the three years since their wedding, they needed to cut all psychological ties with past partners and not succumb to curiosity or comparisons. Instead they needed to focus totally on each other while they strengthen their sacred bond of intimacy.

Perhaps the most serious challenge the couple will continue to face is Keith’s past drug addiction to cocaine and alcohol. As addicts know, it is never really past. Staying clean and sober is a daily battle. Does Keith possess the motivation and support to kick his destructive habits? If not, the sweet and fragile Nic is in for a rocky ride.

When cravings take over, addicts are self-centred and obsessive. The desire for the drug obliterates all other priorities, even devotion to a new wife and baby.

Former girlfriend, Laura Sigler has told media that Urban has an addict’s personality; an insatiable desire for the next high. With intoxication comes other irresponsible action. She claims he was unfaithful several times during their eight-year relationship.

This will be Nicole’s nerve racking challenge; having a monogamous marriage with the scruffy Bad Boy of country music.

By all accounts, while growing up, she was role-modelled a functional, faithful marriage by her parents Antony and Janelle.

Nicole has often expressed her strong moral values and would be devastated by adultery. Sadly, she is on shaky ground here. However Keith appears to be genuine in his commitment to reform.

Next challenge. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are bankable business brands under immense pressure to maintain their status through public visibility. For her, it means churning out movies and for him, it means a punishing touring schedule of concerts and festivals across the States and turning out quality albums and hit singles. The award-winning singer-songwriter has produced several solo albums, which have sold more than five million copies.

How will they juggle their demanding schedules and egos? Will they graciously play the support role when the other one is in the spotlight, the way Keith did at the 2006 Shanghai Film Festival (when Nicole was feted as a mega star and the locals didn’t know him from a Four X stubby!)

Nicole would be smart to keep close to her volatile man by emulating fellow Hollywood star, Gwyneth Paltrow, wife of Coldplay rocker, Chris Martin, who is happy to put aside her ego and follow the band with her two children in tow.

Girlfriend, Renee Zellweger has warned Nicole about the strain of touring commitments, after her marriage to country singer Kenny Chesney crashed and burned after just four months.

Lastly, what about the compatibility of these two Aussie icons? Granted they share the common ground of growing up in Australia however Nicole’s upbringing was prim and proper while Keith was a cheeky kid who dragged his guitar around the humble township of Caboolture, with a burning ambition in his young heart to move to Nashville and become a country star. It is a dream he has fulfilled since lobbing in the States at 25 and getting his breaks with country greats such as the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks.

It is a dream he is not about to give up, even for the most beautiful, successful, famous and wealthy actress the Land Down Under has ever produced.

And what about Nicole? Like many actors, when she is not playing a role, our Nic is not sure who she is. She is frail and insecure under the fa├žade and maybe Keith, a headstrong larrikin, battling his own demons, will be the ultimate challenge. But, like all Australians, I hope that their powerful love will conquer all.

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