16 NOVEMBER 2001
When the apparently fairy-tale marriage of two of Tinseltown’s biggest stars came unstuck, it looked as though things were going to get very nasty indeed. Tom Cruise and estranged wife Nicole Kidman reportedly couldn’t come to an agreement over how their joint assets should be split. The high-profile pair have now reached a private settlement over the estimated £214-300 million fortune.
Just after news broke of the agreement – which according to California law officially dissolves the union – the 39-year-old Top Gun star appeared on US television, in an interview recorded earlier in the week, saying that he still loves his ex-wife. “We had some extraordinary moments together and times I will cherish and never forget.”
He went on to say: “I have learned a lot about myself, that change is not a bad thing and that sometimes you have to confront things for everyone. I feel that you can get through things and you can still love that person and care about people even if you disagreements – and I feel that way about Nic.”
Things were not so amicable earlier in the year, however, when the stars’ marriage was coming to an end, and the two disagreed publicly over when exactly the split had taken place. Tom had said they parted ways three days before their tenth wedding anniversary last Christmas Eve – which would mean he was just shy of the ten-year cut-off point that would, by law, make him financially responsible for the Moulin Rouge actress throughout her life. Nic, on the other hand, insists the actor’s February 7 announcement of divorce took her by surprise.
Details of the final settlement are being kept secret, with both parties signing a confidentiality pact for the sake of their two adopted children, six-year-old Conor and Isabella, eight. It is believed, however, that the The Others star will receive the couple’s luxurious Pacific Palisades home – which she had been keen to hang onto as it was where the children were raised – as well as the couple’s Australian property. The 130-acre ski-resort property of Telluride in Colorado, where the pair were married, goes to Tom, along with homes in Manhattan and London. He also gets to keep his beloved £25 million Gulfstream jet – minus the “Nic” moniker it once bore.
Nicole and Tom have made it clear that their children remain a priority, and they plan for their benefit. “We are going to raise the kids together, Nic and I,” said Tom. “We have always been a family. The parents are no longer together. We still care about each other so it’s not separate. It will be me and Nic all over these two guys together.”
In the same TV interview, the actor, who is currently dating his Vanilla Sky co-star Penelope Cruz, also made it clear that he doesn’t rule out marrying again in the future. In a major hint that he may wed the Spanish beauty, he admitted: “I am very much a romantic. I am an optimist. I think if that time comes again when I am going to get married, I will do it.”