A ballet enthusiast during her teen years, Kidman dropped out of high school at 16 to pursue acting full time. She made her U.S. film debut in the psychological thriller Dead Calm (1986). Her next movie, Days of Thunder (opposite Tom Cruise), was even more portentous: She married her co-star in 1990, but the couple divorced in 2001.
A long string of successful movies culminated for Kidman in 2003 when she won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of tortured writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Kidman's other notable works include To Die For (1995), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), The Others (2001), Moulin Rouge (2001) and Rabbit Hole (2010), which earned her Golden Globe and Oscar nods for Best Actress.