Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kidman bewitches Australian Urban

Dressed in an ivory Balenciaga gown and carrying a posy of white roses, actress Nicole Kidman married country music singer and fellow Australian Keith Urban in a Sydney cliff-top chapel on Sunday.
The ceremony was strong on tradition but also paid homage to the glamour couple's A-list status. It was a second marriage for Kidman, 39, who split with fellow Hollywood actor Tom Cruise in 2001 after 10 years of marriage and the adoption of two children, 13-year-old Isabella and 11-year-old Connor. For New Zealand-born Urban, 38, who left Australia in 1992 to pursue a singing career in the United States that brought him fame and fortune, it was a first...
Kidman and Urban, both Australian citizens, met 18 months ago and recently set up home together in Nashville, Tennessee, the world capital of country music. Father Paul Coleman, the Kidman family friend who conducted the 35-minute Roman Catholic ceremony, said the pair had been inspired by the longevity of the marriages of both sets of parents - 40 years and still going strong.
"They are totally focused on their commitment, it's the priority in their lives," Coleman told reporters. "It's an uplifting occasion for the community to see people of this profile making this commitment in Australia."

Such is the celebrity of Kidman and Urban that their simple and traditional wedding drew some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Among the 230 guests invited to witness the ceremony at the gothic Cardinal Cerretti Chapel were Kidman's best friend and King Kong actress Naomi Watts, fellow Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Murdoch's son Lachlan, who lives in Sydney with wife and former model Sarah O'Hare. The wedding video was shot by Baz Luhrmann, who directed Kidman in the feature film Moulin Rouge and in a money-spinning commercial for Chanel No 5 perfume.

The first guest to arrive was X-Men actor Hugh Jackman. Jackman, one of the hottest names in Hollywood, will star alongside Kidman in Luhrmann's next feature film, an as-yet-untitled love story to be shot in Australia later this year. He sang at the wedding, accompanied by a Sydney Symphony Orchestra string quartet. "It's a very special love story," Luhrmann said of the Kidman- Urban nuptials. "They're feeling great."

The star-struck turned out in their thousands on a chilly southern hemisphere winter day, hoping for a glimpse of the Oscar-winner or her Grammy-award-winning beau. They were not disappointed.

Kidman rolled down the window of her Rolls Royce to wave at well-wishers lining the route to the picturesque sandstone chapel set in a walled estate that used to house a seminary but now encloses a hotel school. Hobbling along was Felomena Illingworth, whose broken leg proved not to be an impediment to star-gazing.

"I love celebrities, especially Nicole," Illingworth told Australia's AAP news agency. "Coming to their wedding today is a perfect opportunity to see her and I would love to get my cast signed." Somewhat dampening the romance of the occasion, the Miami Herald newspaper reported that the couple have concluded a pre-nuptial agreement that cuts Urban out of Kidman's estimated 150-million- Australian-dollar (112-million-US-dollar) fortune if he lapses into the drug addiction and alcoholism that almost derailed his career in the 1990s. Urban, recently voted the sexiest country music artist, has sworn off alcohol and drugs and is also a born-again Christian.

Kidman grew up in Sydney, where her father is an eminent psychologist. She moved to the United States in 1991 when she married Cruise. Antonia Kidman, Nicole's younger sister, was maid of honour. Kidman's daughter, Isabella, was a bridesmaid at a ceremony blessed with fine weather and timed to coincide with the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Kidman's children arrived in a private jet from Japan, where they had been spending time with Cruise, who is there promoting a Mission Impossible film. The bride and groom are tipped to spend their wedding night in the 4-million-Australian-dollar ((3-million-US-dollar) harbourside apartment they bought together last month.

It's less than a kilometre from the famous bridge and has commanding views of the harbour.

A honeymoon on an island in Fiji is expected.


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