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Keith Urban | Source: Getty Images
Keith Urban | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban Pays Sweet Tribute to Nicole Kidman at AFI Awards – Inside Their Love Story

Dorcus Osongo
Jun 17, 2024
01:55 P.M.
  • At the recent AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony, the spotlight shone brightly on Nicole Kidman.
  • Kidman made history by becoming the first Australian to receive this prestigious honor.
  • The event was marked by a touching tribute from her husband, country music star Keith Urban, whose heartfelt words highlighted their enduring love story.
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Nicole Kidman at the 94th Academy Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, California, on March 27, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman at the 94th Academy Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, California, on March 27, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

On April 27, 2024, Nicole Kidman was honored with the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award at a star-studded gala held at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre. The esteemed award honors an individual whose career in film or television has significantly enriched American culture.

The award, which is also considered one of the highest honors for a career in film, recognized Kidman's significant contributions to the art of cinema. Her exceptional talent and dedication to her craft have earned her accolades from peers and critics alike.

Nicole Kidman attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' "Being The Ricardos" at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California, on December 6, 2021. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman attends the premiere of Amazon Studios' "Being The Ricardos" at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California, on December 6, 2021. | Source: Getty Images

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The event was attended by other incredible actors such as Ava DuVernay, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Cynthia Erivo, Joey King, and Jane Seymour, who celebrated Kidman's award-winning career as well as her lasting impression on the moving arts.

Nicole Kidman and Cynthia Erivo attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Cynthia Erivo attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Speeches and tributes honoring Kidman came from the mouths of her fellow movie stars such as Reese Witherspoon and Zoe Saldana. Streep, who is the 32nd recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, praised Kidman's exceptional talent and impressive body of work.

Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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Afterward, Kidman accepted her prestigious award to a standing ovation. The actress expressed gratitude for the opportunities that enhanced her craft and gave her a sense of belonging, albeit temporary.

Nicole Kidman accepts the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award onstage in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman accepts the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award onstage in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

She thanked those who welcomed her into their movie families and appreciated the realization of her childhood dream. Kidman noted that it is the roles she played as a child in drama school that gave her the courage to pick risky characters, which some didn't believe she would play.

Billy Zane and Nicole Kidman on the set of the Warner Bros movie "Dead Calm" circa 1989. | Source: Getty Images

Billy Zane and Nicole Kidman on the set of the Warner Bros movie "Dead Calm" circa 1989. | Source: Getty Images

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Kidman added, "It is a privilege to make films. And glorious to have made films and television with these storytellers who allowed me to run wild and be free and play all of these unconventional women."

Nicole Kidman as Grace Margaret Mulligan in "Dogville", directed by Lars Von Trier in Trollhättan, Sweden in 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman as Grace Margaret Mulligan in "Dogville", directed by Lars Von Trier in Trollhättan, Sweden in 2002. | Source: Getty Images

As the first Australian to receive the AFI Life Achievement Award, the actress also said she was honored to be on the same list as other great names and at the same time be able to represent her country.

She gushed, "When you look at this list of honorees, I am astounded. And to be the first Australian, I'm very very proud of that."

Nicole Kidman attends the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman attends the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

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The event ended with attendees receiving a special commemorative book celebrating Kidman’s career. Guests were also introduced to a new online tribute site at AFI.com/NicoleKidman, chronicling her life and achievements.

Nicole Kidman is seen on set of her new movie in midtown in New York City, on February 28, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman is seen on set of her new movie in midtown in New York City, on February 28, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Still, a touching part of the event that made it so sweet and memorable was when Kidman's husband, Keith Urban reflected on the early days of his nearly 18-year fairytale romance with his wife.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are seen in Nashvillle, Tennessee, on December 25, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are seen in Nashvillle, Tennessee, on December 25, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

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Urban recalled that they first met in January 2005 at an event called G'Day Los Angeles, where they were both being honored. He admitted feeling star-struck by the presence of the "Big Little Lies" star, despite his attempts to appear composed. The two chatted very briefly at the event.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban perform at the G'Day USA Black Tie gala in Hollywood, California, on January 16, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban perform at the G'Day USA Black Tie gala in Hollywood, California, on January 16, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Urban divulged, "I was trying to play it cool, but inside I'd felt like I snuck into the wrong ball simply because Nic had such a truly otherworldly aura about her, and I felt like I was meeting a bit of a real-life princess. I know a lot of you can relate to that."

Nicole Kidman arrives for the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, on May 1, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman arrives for the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, on May 1, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

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As much as he was smitten and shy, Urban managed to get Kidman's number, which he nervously carried in his pocket for over a week before calling her. He often pulled out the tiny piece of paper to look at it but felt unworthy of her attention.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the Capitol Records Party following the 44th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 10, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the Capitol Records Party following the 44th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 10, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

"As prone as I might have been at the time to all sorts of delusional thinking, even I couldn't stretch that to think that this extraordinary woman would ever see anything in a guy like me. And that's not me being humble, that's literally how I saw myself and her," Urban explained.

Urban recounted how he eventually mustered the courage to call Kidman, leading to conversations that felt as if they had known each other forever.

Nicole Kidman kisses Keith Urban as she celebrates winning the Best Actress award for "Photograph 51" at The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London, England, on November 22, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman kisses Keith Urban as she celebrates winning the Best Actress award for "Photograph 51" at The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London, England, on November 22, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

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He described her as a lively and joyful girl from the Sydney suburbs, despite her Honolulu birthplace, emphasizing her quintessential Australian spirit.

This initial connection revealed a deeper, more relatable side of Kidman, contrasting with his initial perception of her as an unattainable figure.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman in Hollywood, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban's sweet speech about the start of his relationship with Kidman touched many fans. One fan remarked, "Every husband should talk this way about his wife."

Nicole Kidman leaves her Darling Point home with her father on her way to her wedding to Keith Urban, on June 25, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman leaves her Darling Point home with her father on her way to her wedding to Keith Urban, on June 25, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

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Another fan, who saw how Kidman reacted to the speech in a video shared online, noted, "She had tears in her eyes…. So precious."

Nicole Kidman is moved to tears as Keith Urban gives a sweet speech at the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute, on a TikTok video dated June 14, 2024. | Source: Tiktok/@entertainmenttonight

Nicole Kidman is moved to tears as Keith Urban gives a sweet speech at the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute, on a TikTok video dated June 14, 2024. | Source: Tiktok/@entertainmenttonight

Another fan commented, "I love how they look at each other! Real love!" A different fan highlighted Urban's role in Kidman's life, saying, "He rescued her after Tom Cruise tried to destroy her. Keith is her champion."

One more fan added, "These two were meant for each other ❤️❤️." Finally, another fan said, "They rescued each other 🥰."

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Aside from Urban's nostalgic trip down memory lane, which fans loved, the event was special to Kidman because her daughters with her husband, Sunday Rose, 15, and Faith Margaret, 13, joined them.

Keith Urban, Faith Margaret Urban, Sunday Rose Kidman-Urban, Sybella Hawley, and Nicole Kidman at the AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Nicole Kidman held in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban, Faith Margaret Urban, Sunday Rose Kidman-Urban, Sybella Hawley, and Nicole Kidman at the AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Nicole Kidman held in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

The two girls graced the red carpet alongside their parents as they took photos on the press line. Kidman mentioned her happiness in having her daughters accompany her to the event, noting that they were now old enough to understand and appreciate the significance of the occasion.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban with their daughters Faith Margaret and Sunday Rose in Sydney, Australia, on March 28, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban with their daughters Faith Margaret and Sunday Rose in Sydney, Australia, on March 28, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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"My mom is not here, but she's watching the live stream. And so to be able to do this with my family around me gives it such balance... it's very grounding," Kidman expressed.

Janelle Ann Kidman and Nicole Kidman as they attend the AACTA Awards Presented by Foxtel in Sydney, Australia, on December 5, 2018. | Source: Getty Images

Janelle Ann Kidman and Nicole Kidman as they attend the AACTA Awards Presented by Foxtel in Sydney, Australia, on December 5, 2018. | Source: Getty Images

Kidman and Urban have built a family where they support each other through good and hard times. When Urban was battling alcoholism, the actress staged an intervention just before her husband's 40th birthday in 2006.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban during UNIFEM's 30th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Kidman in New York City on May 13, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban during UNIFEM's 30th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Kidman in New York City on May 13, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

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The two, who tied the knot in June 2006, had only been married for four months by then. Additionally, Urban had not been able to recognize his alcoholism for a long time.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on the day following their wedding ceremony in Sydney, Australia, on June 26, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on the day following their wedding ceremony in Sydney, Australia, on June 26, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

He expounded, "I didn't drink like my dad, so I compared everything to him. So it just took a long time for me. But I was able to finally make the right choice in my life, that I wish my dad would have made."

Keith Urban seen at BBC Radio 2 in London, England, on May 18, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban seen at BBC Radio 2 in London, England, on May 18, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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So, before Nicole Kidman's intervention, Urban balanced a tightrope between being a disciplined workaholic, never performing or recording while impaired, and a person struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Keith Urban during Rock n The Rally - Day 1 in Sturgis, South Dakota, on August 6, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban during Rock n The Rally - Day 1 in Sturgis, South Dakota, on August 6, 2006. | Source: Getty Images

During periods of intense work, his career thrived, with opportunities pouring in. However, when his addiction took over, his music would be sidelined for days until he managed to regain control. "I was a real binge drinker," admitted Urban.

Keith Urban at the Billboard Music Awards red carpet in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 8, 2004 | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban at the Billboard Music Awards red carpet in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 8, 2004 | Source: Getty Images

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Before getting out of the pits, things got worse for Urban when he moved in with a roommate who freebased cocaine in Nashville. This move blurred the line between his professional and personal struggles.

In Australia, he had only been around pot smokers, but in Nashville, he was suddenly exposed to someone freebasing cocaine, a completely different and quickly entrancing world.

Keith Urban performs during day 1 of Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival in Indio, California, on April 24, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban performs during day 1 of Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival in Indio, California, on April 24, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

It took Kidman's intervention and a very personal moment that Urban did not divulge, for him to eventually check into Betty Ford Clinic.

Since then, Urban has been committed to his recovery program for over 15 years, a decision he's grateful for as it saved him from losing everything.

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Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the CMT Music Awards at Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 14, 2008. | Source: Getty Images

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend the CMT Music Awards at Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 14, 2008. | Source: Getty Images

Kidman and Urban have overcome significant personal challenges to build a strong and happy family. With their gorgeous daughters, they continue to support each other through all of life's ups and downs.

Their careers are flourishing, and their bond remains a testament to their resilience and dedication, both to each other and their craft.

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