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Some of Australia's biggest stars participated in a telethon yesterday to aid victims of this week's deadly bushfires ravaging the state of Victoria, among them Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban, who personally donated more than $300,000 in relief funds.
"As Australians, I think the biggest thing is that, no matter where you are in the world, we support each other and we rally," the 41-year-old Australia actress said in a message delivered live via satellite. "That's why we wanted to show our support and we would like to donate 500,000 Australian dollars [$327,000 U.S.] on behalf of our family to the families that need it now."
Joining the A-list couple in rallying public support were Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Rachel Griffiths, Orlando Bloom and his model-girlfriend Miranda Kerr, Ellen DeGeneres and a host of musicians like k.d. lang, politicians and sports legends, all of whom sent appeals asking for money on behalf of the Nine Network's Australia Unites telethon.
So far, the broadcast has raised over $50 million in donations to help those devastated by the inferno, which has so far killed 181 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and left 5,000 people homeless.
For his part, Urban added that watching the disaster unfold on television was "gut-wrenching."
"Our hearts go out tonight to all the families that are dealing with the loss of loved ones and having to rebuild their lives again," the country singer said.
Other notable pledges came from Without a Trace star Anthony LaPaglia. He and his wife ponied up $37,000, a sum matched by Canadian crooner Michael Bublé.
Those wanting to make a donation can visit the Australian Red Cross website.