Nicole Kidman has ‘chosen love’ throughout her life and career, says husband

Musician Keith Urban said his wife Nicole Kidman has stuck to her mantra to “choose love” throughout her life and career, as she was awarded the AFI life achievement award.

After collecting the award from Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, Australian actress Kidman said “big love” had been the consistent theme throughout her life.

Pointing out Urban and her daughters Sunday and Faith, Kidman, 56, said: “Right there is the love of my life and the loves of my life.

“My daughters have never been anywhere publicly with me on a red carpet, tonight was their first night.”

49th AFI Life Achievement Award – Show
Keith Urban addressed the AFI life achievement award ceremony to pay tribute to his wife Nicole Kidman (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Taking to the stage to honour his wife, Urban said Kidman “has a little bit of a mantra and that is ‘choose love'”.

He added: “She always chooses that phrase she lives by – choose love. She has the capacity to love like no other I’ve met, and I know tonight’s all about her body of work so far, but next year will be 20 years that I’ve been madly in love with you.”

Four-time Grammy winner Urban recalled meeting Kidman at an event titled G’Day LA in January 2005, saying he tried to “play it cool” but felt he was “meeting a real life princess” who had a “truly otherworldly aura”.

Urban, 56, added: “I did manage to get her phone number on a tiny piece of paper, and I carried that number in my pocket for well over a week, I’d pull it out and look at it (and) put it back in my pocket. I was just scared, I was nervous to call her.

“As prone as I was at the time to all sorts of delusional thinking, even I couldn’t stretch to think that this extraordinary woman would ever see anything in a guy like me.

“That’s not me being humble, that’s literally how I saw myself and her.”

49th AFI Life Achievement Award – Arrivals
The couple arrived at the ceremony together (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Urban recalled “finally” plucking up the courage to call Kidman and the pair talked “like we’d known each other our whole lives”.

He said: “We got married in June 2006, and barely four months into our marriage, my addictions that I had done really nothing about, blew our marriage to smithereens and I went into the Betty Ford Centre for three months.

“Four months into a marriage (and) I’m in rehab for three months, with no idea what’s going to happen to us. If you want to see what love in action really looks like, give that a whirl.

“Nic pushed through every negative voice, I’m sure even some of her own, and she chose love and here we are tonight, 18 years later.”

Urban said Kidman has a “passion for being alive”, is “endlessly curious”, dives in headfirst “with little to no thinking at all of the consequences”, and is not jaded or cynical.

Urban recalled the first time he was on set with Kidman, who had to watch a child get hit by a car in the scene.

49th AFI Life Achievement Award – Show
Kidman is seen on a video monitor as her husband addresses the ceremony (Chris Pizzello/AP)

He said: “I hear this primal maternal wail, and I go rushing after her before I realised it’s not actually happening.

“That every fibre of my body, every part of me believed that it was real. It was eerie and I still feel a little bit disturbed about it right now.

“I’ve always said this about her, she doesn’t act, she accesses – she portals emotionally, mentally, physically, and those eyes on camera, she can tell the whole story and never utter a word.”

Urban also described the highs and lows which come with having a long career as having “some really dark energy and those dreaded 3am feelings of complete failure”.

He added: “I heard a saying years ago, that we’re all spiritual beings having a human experience, that’s Nic to a T.

“A Gemini with the duality to prove it, she’s raw and she’s resilient. She’s serious, and a complete goofball. Crazy, fun to be around. She’s an excellent organiser and she’s super chill.”

Kidman said she felt the presence of her late father during the ceremony, while her mother was watching the event live from Australia, and her sister was in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

“There’s no place like home as they say,” she added.