We can all agree that the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards were all about Nicole Kidman. From her loved-up display with Keith Urban, that kiss with her Big Little Lies co-star Alexander Skarsgård, and, of course, her moving acceptance speech for the Best Actress award, Nicole's Emmys night was picture-perfect.
And while the 50-year-old was praised for shining a light on domestic abuse thanks to her powerful portrayal of Celeste in Big Little Lies, it’s what she didn’t say in her tearful speech that’s making headlines. As she took to the mic, Nicole thanked her two daughters, Sunday Rose, 9, and Faith Margaret, 6, with husband Keith, but she failed to acknowledge her two other children — Bella Cruise, 24, and Connor Cruise, 22 — whom she adopted with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise.
Naturally, the oversight sent social media into a frenzy as viewers noticed the omission with Google sleuths suggesting it was because of Bella and Connor's ongoing connection with the Church of Scientology. It's also important to note that Nicole was talking about tucking her young daughters into bed during her now-controversial thank you speech — an act that Bella and Connor have well and truly outgrown. But the damage was already done. So, how often does Nicole see the Cruise kids? And what kind of dynamic do they have? Here, we answer all your burning questions about Nicole's relationship with Bella and Connor...
Nicole, Connor, Bella, and Tom. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Those "Suppressive Person" allegations
After her marriage to Tom in 1990, Nicole became a Scientologist. When they divorced in 2001, Nicole left the church and it was widely reported she had been labeled a "Suppressive Person" by the organization and therefore not allowed to maintain a relationship with her two eldest children, Bella and Connor, who are practicing Scientologists. Nicole has never addressed these claims and instead maintains a dignified silence, explaining, "I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about Scientology. I have two children who are Scientologists — Connor and Isabella — and I utterly respect their beliefs."
However, in actress Leah Remini’s biography, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, the King of Queen actress — who left the church in 2013 — claimed she bumped into Isabella and Connor at Tom’s ill-fated wedding to Katie Holmes in 2006 and was left "shocked" when Bella revealed she doesn’t stay in touch with her mom. "I had always wondered why they didn't have a relationship with their mom," Leah explained, before asking them, "Hey, guys. How's your mom? Do you see her a lot?"
"When I asked if she talked to her mom, Bella scoffed and said, 'Not if I can help it, she's a f--king [Suppressed Person].' Connor just looked out the window. There was something human about his silence and the sadness I felt in it," Leah alleged. Meanwhile, former Scientologist John Brousseau told Vanity Fair that the kids told him, "Nic is an [Suppressive Person]! We hate seeing her."
When were they last seen in public together?
While it’s very likely Nicole could catch up with Bella and Connor in private, the last known photos of the actress and her two older children were taken around June 2006 during her wedding celebrations with Keith. In the lead up to the big day — which was held on the sprawling grounds of St Patrick's Estate in Australia on June 25 — Keith was pictured bonding with stepson Connor on a cruise around Sydney Harbor. The siblings attended the Sydney nuptials with Bella playing the role of bridesmaid.
Nicole was also pictured with Bella and Connor during filming of Australia in 2007. It’s believed they haven’t been photographed in public together since. As far as we know, Bella and Connor haven’t been pictured in public with Nicole's younger daughters, Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret, however during Tom’s marriage to Katie, they were often seen with their sister Suri Cruise.
Connor and Bella. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Nicole did thank Bella in her Oscars speech
For all the flack Nic’s copped over this year’s Emmys speech, we’d like to remind you of her 2003 Oscars acceptance speech for Best Actress in The Hours — where Bella not only cheered on her mother from the audience but received a very special shout-out from an overwhelmed Nicole. “I am standing here in front of my mother and my daughter and my whole life I've wanted to make my mother proud. And now I want to make my daughter proud. So thank you,” Nicole proclaimed through tears as a beaming Bella watched on.
At the time, Nicole said she wanted her oldest daughter at the A-list event "in case I lost, although of course she's now saying she knew that I would win." It’s important to note, this heartfelt speech came two years after Tom had filed for divorce so for a period of time, the star did indeed have access to her kids.
When the custody agreement reportedly soured
For the first few years after she split with Tom, things were seemingly going well for Nic and the children. In 2003, she revealed she’d take her "great kids" to Starbucks and spoke lovingly about spending time with them — she even let them have donuts twice a week! According to a report from the Daily Mail, her custody agreement with Tom hit a snag in 2004. "Nicole was absent for a lot of 2004, making the film Cold Mountain in Romania, and returned hoping to spend time with the children — but instead they went to Scientology summer camp," the report claimed. "By 2005, the children were with Tom full-time and being home schooled by his sister Cass."
Nicole with daughters Sunday and Faith. (Photo Credit: Splash)
Co-parenting with Tom
Over the years, Nicole has admitted that she missed her kids after they chose to live with Tom in LA. "When children are teenagers, they have a say in where they want to be. LA is a big draw, and I’m looking to get a place there so we can share more," the Nashville-based star explained to Marie Claire in 2007. In 2010, she told Hello! magazine, "They live with Tom, which was their choice. I'd love [for] them to live with us, but what can you do?" Despite the geographical distance, she praised Tom for helping raise the duo and said she was proud of who they had become. "They are healthy and sane, and together and are great, great people. So I'm not one of those people that needs to be reminded of what I have."
In a 2008 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tom didn’t divulge much when the star quizzed him about their set-up. "I read that [Nicole] had been pushed out of the children's lives," Oprah probed. But Tom insisted his ex-wife could see the children whenever she wanted. "No, that's ridiculous. We share custody. Whenever. Whenever," he clarified.
How does Nicole keep in touch with them?
With Connor working as a DJ all over the world and Bella based in London with her husband, Max Parker, the actress has said she uses technology to stay in touch. "I have four children, so to stay in touch with them is very important. I'm definitely engaged in [texting] but I don't let it rule my life,” Nicole once told DuJour magazine.
Nicole and ex-husband Tom. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
In 2016, Bella dismissed claims she had lost touch with her parents. "Of course we talk, they’re my parents," Bella said, adding that anyone who questions their bond is "full of sh-t." Nicole has also said that she's proud of Bella and Connor for forging their own careers as a DJ and a hairdresser. "Everybody has their own path and when they find their path it’s such a relief as a parent you know," she admitted to Extra in 2013.
In 2014, Connor insisted that he was "solid" with Nicole, despite reports of an estrangement. In an interview with Woman’s Day, Connor’s face lit up when he talked about how much he loved his mom during a quick visit to his "second home" while touring Australia. "I love my mom. I don’t care what people say, I know that me and mom are solid. I love her a lot. My family means everything. Yeah, I love my music, but the family comes before everything else," he said.
Meanwhile, it’s believed Nicole had an "emotional" reunion with Bella last year after her wedding to Max. Although Tom and Nicole were absent from Bella’s actual wedding in 2015, the mother and daughter met up in private a year after the nuptials. "It was a very emotional moment for all of them, especially Nicole. It didn’t take long for her to burst into tears, and Bella soon followed," an insider told Woman’s Day. "Nic has been trying to build bridges with Bella since the start of the year. Nicole took an instant liking to Max and could see that he and Bella get on really well."
Bella and Connor. (Photo Credit: Splash)
For Nicole’s part, she most recently dedicated her stirring performance in Lion — in which she played an mother who adopts two boys from India — to Bella and Connor. "This movie is a love letter to my children. [My character] Sue is deeply maternal and full of unconditional love, which is beautiful,” she told Town and Country in January. "That's why I wanted to do it. I relate to that. I feel that for my own children who are adopted. It's not about anything else other than 'I wanted you.' It's that deep and personal, and whatever your journey is, I'm here to love and support you. That's what I connected to."
The mother-of-four also insisted the love she feels for her adoptive kids is no different to that of her biological daughters. "I wanted to [adopt], I felt the need. I had a vision of a child that would be my child. That to me is the true sense of being a mother — that unconditional love just exists." While her relationship with Connor and Bella might not be conventional or traditional — as she so eloquently puts it, love is love and it's very clear Connor and Bella are getting a lot of it from Nicole. Families and divorce are complex, ever-changing issues and we shouldn't be so quick to judge how one unit operates compared to the other. There's so much going on behind the scenes we'll never know about.
This post was written by Bella Brennan. It originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.