It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of her life. But in the new book 50 Oscar Nights, Nicole Kidman recalls how she spent the hours following her first Oscar win in 2003 heartbroken and alone. “I went home and ended up ordering takeout and eating it on the floor of the Beverly Hills Hotel,” the 56-year-old, still recovering from her 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise at the time, told author Dave Karger. “That’s when it hit me. I went, I need to find my love; I need a love in my life. Because this is supposed to be when you go, ‘This is ours.’”

Two years later, she found the man of her dreams in country music star Keith Urban, also 56. “Nicole believes Keith essentially saved her from a life of loneliness,” a source exclusively tells Closer, noting that the Big Little Lies actress was “broken” by her split from Tom after 10 years of marriage. “By the time she got out of that relationship, she was miserable.” Keith (with whom Nicole shares Sunday, 15, and Faith, 13; she’s also mom to Isabella, 31, and Connor, 29, with Tom) “gave her a reason to believe in love again.”

Ups & Downs

Nicole was terrified to get back into the dating scene when she was introduced to her fellow Aussie at a Hollywood gala in 2005. She’s admitted she was “very wary and damaged” at the time — so, it turns out, was he. The “Once in a Lifetime” singer had been dealing with addiction issues for years, entering rehab for the first time in 1998. Despite their fears, neither could deny their connection. “Two very lonely people managed to meet at a time when they could open themselves to each other,” she’s recalled, adding, “We were a mixture of frightened and brave.”

Their 2006 marriage hit a rough patch early on when Keith checked himself into rehab for drug and alcohol addiction just four months after they tied the knot. “I deeply regret the hurt this has caused Nicole and the ones that love and support me,” Keith said. While he was getting help for his substance abuse issues, model Amanda Wyatt claimed the Grammy winner had cheated on Nicole multiple times with her before their wedding. “We were in a very, very, very bad, painful place,” Nicole later reflected. The marriage almost didn’t make it. “That period was a living hell for Nicole,” says the source. “She was knocked sideways by the affair accusations and thought seriously about walking away.” (Neither Nicole nor Keith has ever commented.)

They weathered the storm and came out stronger for it. “Real love happens not when everything is going well but when things are going badly,” Nicole said in 2019. Per the source, the actress had to “dig deep” to find forgiveness. “Keith faced up to his addictions and admitted his mistakes.” She hasn’t looked back since. “I’m married to a really good man,” she gushed on the Today show in 2020.

The Simple Life

They’re more in love than ever. The pair spend much of their time in Australia but consider Nashville their home. “Nicole has really embraced the community in Tennessee and she loves everything about their life down there,” says the source. “The kids can roam free and enjoy the outdoors, and they have a wonderful local church they go to and friends they adore.” Adds the source, “Nicole is living her happily ever — and so is Keith.”