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She was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Nicole's Australian father Anthony was a biochemist and clinical psychologist while her mother Janelle was a nursing instructor.
The family moved to Washington, D.C., where Nicole's father pursued his research on breast cancer, and then, three years later, made the pilgrimage to her parents' native Sydney.
Young Nicole's first love was ballet, but she eventually took up mime and drama as well.
Her first stage role was a bleating sheep in an elementary school Christmas pageant.
In her adolescent years, acting edged out the other arts and became a kind of refuge.
As her classmates sought out fun in the sun, the fair-skinned Kidman retreated to dark rehearsal halls to practice her craft.
She worked regularly at the Philip Street Theater, where she once received a personal letter of praise and encouragement from audience member Jane Campion (then a film student).
Kidman eventually dropped out of high school to pursue acting full-time.
She broke into movies at age 16, landing a role in the Australian holiday favorite Bush Christmas (1983).
That appearance touched off a flurry of film and television offers, including a lead in BMX Bandits (1983).
She also got a role of a schoolgirl-turned-protester in the miniseries "Vietnam" (1987) for which she won her first Australian Film Institute Award.
With the help of an American agent, she eventually made her US debut opposite Sam Neill in the at-sea thriller Dead Calm (1989).
Kidman's next casting coup scored her more than exposure.
While starring as Tom Cruise's doctor/love interest in the racetrack romance 'Days of Thunder' (1990), she won over the Hollywood hunk.
After a whirlwind courtship, the couple wed on December 24, 1990.
Determined not to let her new marital status overshadow her fledgling career, the actress pressed on.
She appeared as a catty high school senior in the Australian film Flirting (1991), then as Dustin Hoffman's moll in the gangster flick Billy Bathgate (1991).
She reunited with Cruise for Far and Away (1992), the story of young Irish lovers who flee to America in the late 1800s, and starred opposite Michael Keaton in the tear-tugger My Life (1993).