Caren Weiner Campbell
December 18, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

He was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood — and she was a newcomer from down under. At their small, quiet wedding in the Colorado Rockies on Dec. 24, 1990, no one could have foretold that Nicole Kidman’s screen success would rival that of her husband Tom Cruise — or that some day she’d be stripping down for some risque business in the Broadway smash The Blue Room. Eight years ago, life was simpler: Cruise, 28, and Kidman, 23, costarred in a brief sunset ceremony in Telluride, Colo., directed by a civil officiant and attended by a small supporting cast made up almost entirely of family members.

Roughly a year earlier, romance began on the set of Days of Thunder, in which Cruise was playing a hot-tempered race-car driver and Kidman his love interest. ”There was just a connection,” recalled Kidman of their meeting. ”Something like ‘God, I feel like I know you.”’ (Cruise was at the time married to actress Mimi Rogers; their three-year marriage would officially end less than a year before his wedding to Kidman.) Days was panned by critics but raked in $166 million worldwide, while tabloid writers, upon learning of the match, revved their engines.

Indeed, the apparent haste of the nuptials sparked rumors — hotly denied — that Kidman was pregnant; since then, gossipmongers have hinted that Cruise is gay, that both actors’ business decisions are overseen by the Church of Scientology (to which the couple belong), and that Kidman’s career has flourished because of their union. All have been denied by the couple, who recently adopted tougher tactics: This fall, they settled (for more than $500,000) their libel case against a London newspaper that reported their marriage was a ploy to cover up his alleged homosexuality.

For the last three years, the couple (along with children Isabella, 5, and Connor, 3) was in London, where they worked on Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, among other films. This fall Kidman wowed Brit critics with her stage turn in The Blue Room; her performance, Room director Sam Mendes says, ”reveals a lot of bravery. Nicole has no need to…put herself in a position of vulnerability, physically or critically.” The raves followed her to the Great White Way when previews began Nov. 27. Cruise, meanwhile, has been working behind the scenes: He was a producer of this year’s Without Limits, and one project rumored to be on the horizon is Criminal Conversation — possibly starring his wife.

Time Capsule
Dec. 24, 1990
At the movies, director Brian De Palma brings Tom Wolfe’s ’80s epic The Bonfire of the Vanities to screens, which goes up in smoke at the box office despite stars like Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis. This fall, Wolfe’s hotly anticipated A Man in Full was published. On TV, family matters matter, with 7 of the week’s top 20 shows taking place in wacky households, and the Olsen twins’ Full House leading the bunch. In bookstores, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is a monster hit. In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s film version will gross $914 million worldwide. And in the news, as Bob Hope prepares to leave for Saudi Arabia to entertain American troops awaiting war in the Gulf, Pentagon officials say they’re worried that even the 87-year-old comic’s tamest jokes may offend Saudi censors.

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