Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise’s kids, Isabella and Connor Cruise, haven’t exactly been very close with their adoptive mother since she divorced from Cruise in 2001. The strained relationship has many people curious about why the children of the Big Little Lies actress have chosen to estrange themselves from her, and what role Scientology, and their father, plays in that decision. Families are always complicated, and when fame is added into the mix, things can become even more dicey.
Kidman and Cruise first met on the set of Days of Thunder in 1989. Their romance was instantaneous and by December of 1990, the two were married. Kidman expressed her desire to immediately become a mother and not long afterward, she discovered she was pregnant. However, the Australian actress suffered an ectopic pregnancy and tragically lost the baby.
The loss of their first child drove the couple to adopt their children. According to Marie Claire, Cruise and Kidman adopted their two children, Isabella and Connor, through the Church of Scientology. Isabella, who also goes by Bella, was born in 1992, and Connor was born in 1995.
Cruise and Kidman’s marriage lasted for 11 years, but in 2001, Cruise filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Bella and Connor chose to stay with their father. The divorce is largely blamed for the seemingly strained relationship between Kidman and her oldest children.
In 2010, the Big Little Lies actress told Hello! Magazine, “They live with Tom, which was their choice. I'd love them to live with us, but what can you do?” A few years earlier, in 2007, Kidman and her kids seemed to have not as much understanding between them. While chatting with the U.K. tv show GMTV, Kidman explained, “My kids don't call me mommy. They don't even call me mom. They call me Nicole, which I hate and tell them off for it.” At the time, the kids were teens, so it might have been simply a form of teenage rebellion.
Naturally, Kidman has been reticent to talk about her relationship with her children, and both Bella and Connor have been similarly tight-lipped. A mother’s relationship with her children, and vice versa, is really no one’s business but the family’s. Regardless, there have been a few times that the famously private family have opened up about their relationship.
In 2014, Connor spoke with Woman’s Day while touring in Australia. The DJ told the tabloid, via eonline, “I love my mum. I don't care what people say, I know that me and Mum are solid. I love her a lot. My family means everything.” In 2012, Bella said something similar, telling New Idea, “I love mom. She's my mom. She's great. I see her sometimes and I speak to her.”
Leah Remini, a vocal former member of the Church of Scientology who has been outspoken about her negative experience with the religion, claimed in her book Troublemaker that Bella once referred to her mother as an “SP,” or subversive person. According to Scientology, a “suppressive person” sows discord and strife, and is about as negative a characteristic as can be.
Nicole Kidman is much clearer on how she feels about her children and has been very consistent over the years. Kidman spoke about her reluctance to speak publicly about her two oldest children, telling Who Magazine, “I’m very private about all that. I have to protect all those relationships. I know 150 per cent that I would give up my life for my children because it’s what my purpose is.”
Though some have blamed Scientology for the apparent schism between mother and children, Kidman baldly stated, “They are adults. They are able to make their own decisions. They have made choices to be Scientologists and as a mother, it’s my job to love them.”
Part of Kidman’s support for her children comes from the fact that she refuses to speak about their religion in public. The actress told eonline, “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.”
After filming Lion, a tale about a boy, played by Dev Patel, adopted from India searching for his birth family, Kidman realized just why her casting as his adoptive mother was the perfect role for her. Speaking with Town And Country, Kidman explained, “I can see now, for Lion, that it was important to me because I'm a mother with adopted children,” adding, “This movie is a love letter to my children.” She later said, “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.”
Clearly, Kidman loves her children very much. She respects them as adults to make decisions for themselves, which speaks a lot to the depth of feeling she has towards them. The tabloids, of course, have published multiple stories that convey a much more negative relationship between mother and children than Gossip Cop believes exist. These outlets will do absolutely anything to make a buck, so it makes sense that Kidman’s private relationships with Bella and Connor Cruise are considered fair game.
Since these are torrid tabloid tales, of course, the narrative becomes melodramatic right from the beginning. Most of the stories surrounding Kidman and her adoptive children revolve around the same premise: the Australian actress is determinedly trying to “save” Isabella and Connor from Scientology. The religion is often heralded as controversial, but the accusations flung by the tabloids were utterly absurd to the point of being ridiculous.
Connor Cruise is often at the center of these rumors, with Star reporting in 2018 that Kidman was fighting Tom Cruise in order to free their adopted son from Scientology. Gossip Cop already had a quote from Kidman’s spokesperson from an earlier, eerily similar piece out of New Idea that totally dismissed the narrative.
The National Enquirer published an article last fall that claimed Connor was cutting ties with his action-flick father and leaving the religion for good. The often debunked outlet tried to make it seem as if Connor was frustrated with all the rules in Scientology and branching out on his own, exploring hobbies and romantic relationships outside of the religion. None of this was true. Much more reliable reports showed that Connor was dating someone who’d also been raised in the church. As for his outside hobbies and jobs, it was a ridiculous overreach by the outlet. Scientologists don’t have specific jobs they can do, and it seemed from our research that Connor’s father supported his passions.
Last year, NW also reported that Nicole Kidman had a “breakdown” over her older children’s increasing involvement in Scientology. Having seen what the actress has previously said about her children’s involvement in the religion, it’s clear that this article was completely made up. Kidman has said nothing to indicate that her adult children have upset her at all with their choice in religion.
It’s not clear whether or not Kidman approves, but since she’s dedicated to respecting their decision, it’s highly unlikely that she’d suddenly have a “breakdown” over it, especially since Bella and Connor were born in the religion in the first place. But tabloids are interested in reporting the truth, anyway. These sorts of publications will only print salacious “news,” whether or not it’s based on facts or not.