After meeting during casting of the racing drama Days of Thunder, he proposed as soon as his divorce from Mimi Rogers was finalized, and the Australian actress married Cruise on Christmas Eve in 1990.
"He basically swept me off my feet," Kidman recalled to Vanity Fair in 2002. "I fell madly, passionately in love. And as happens when you fall in love, my whole plan in terms of what I wanted for my life—I was like, 'Forget it. This is it.' I was consumed by it, willingly. And I was desperate to have a baby with him. I didn't care if we were married. That's what I wish I'd done."
They adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, and starred in two more films together, the period epic Far and Away and the erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut, which they admitted later was an extremely intense shoot, made all the more devastating by director Stanley Kubrick's death before the film was finished. They also weathered the dooziest of rumors, from one that they were both gay and the marriage was a cover to a report that they needed a coach for the sex scenes in Eyes Wide Shut (the couple successfully sued over both stories).
"Our marriage is stronger because of it. And our friendship is deeper," Cruise said about their final film experience together.
"All I can say is that I hope we are together when we are 80," Kidman told Talk in 2000. "I can't say we will be, but I will be so devastated if we are not."
So consider her blindsided by the timing when Cruise filed for divorce months later. "Citing the difficulties inherent in diverging careers which constantly kept them apart, they concluded that an amicable separation seemed best for both of them at this time," their longtime rep said on Feb. 5, 2001, in announcing the split.
Even then, Kidman's lack of attachment to Scientology and her reluctance to raise their kids that way was named as a major factor in their split (her rep told People religion had "nothing to do with this"). Connor and Isabella were still Scientologists as of at least 2013.
Asked why their marriage ended, Cruise told Vanity Fair in October 2001, "She knows why, and I know why. She's the mother of my children, and I wish her well. And I think that you just move on. And I don't say that lightly. I don't say that with anything. Things happen in life, and you do everything you can, and in every possible way, and there's a point at which you just sometimes have to face the brutal reality."