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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 22:50 GMT
Hollywood surprised at Cruise break-up
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
The couple's announcement took Hollywood by surprise
By the BBC's Peter Bowes in LA

Hollywood was stunned by the unexpected announcement that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were splitting up after 11 years of marriage.

The golden couple were seen as having one of the strongest marriages in Tinsel Town.

According to a statement issued by their publicist, the couple blamed the "difficulties inherent in divergent careers," for the break-up.

For all intents and purposes they've really tried to make a go out of it

US celebrity journalist Gayl Murphy
New York Daily News columnist Mitchell Fink said: "Their marriage seemed to be a storybook kind of relationship.

"There were no tell-tale signs that I could see that they were having problems."

The most common reaction in Hollywood was one of regret.

Celebrity journalist Gayl Murphy, who writes for Ultimate DVD Magazine, told the BBC: "It's a sad thing.

"They have two kids - for all intents and purposes they've really tried to make a go out of it. He has a busy schedule, she has a busy schedule."

Cruise and Kidman worked together for two years on Stanley Kubrick's last epic, Eyes Wide Shut. The couple set up home in Britain during filming.

Rumour mill

The movie explored issues of jealousy and temptation as a successful married couple sought other sexual partners.

"Maybe they're separating because they spent too much time together," said Murphy.

The rumour mill in Hollywood is working overtime. Most entertainment industry insiders are at a loss to suggest what went wrong.

There's speculation that he had entered into a romance with another woman - another theory is that she was jealous of her husband's superstar career.

More people are prepared to dismiss the rumours than support them.

The couple managed to balance their superstar lives with a private existence away for the prying eyes of the media.

Tabloid attention

Publicists working for the couple kept a tight rein on the press whenever they appeared at glitzy Tinsel Town events.

"They had respect from the press," said Murphy.

"They drew a line in the sand and most people respected it - unlike a lot of other celebrities that pander to the press and they play that game of 'I don't want you to watch me - but watch me'."

The couple have been plagued by tabloid attention ever since they got together in 1990.

Publications deemed to have over-stepped the mark were put in their place with a lawsuit.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
The couple starred in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut together
Now that the relationship is officially over, many expect America's so-called supermarket tabloids to go into overdrive.

"It will be a total field day, I think they'll be all over them," said Murphy.

"They're Scientologists which puts them in the cult genre. He's been married before, they're beautiful people."

Gossip writer Tanya Hart told LA television's Eye Witness News: "Tom is very much into Scientology.

"She's been going to Scientology as well for a very long time - but I was told by some of my sources that she wasn't as happy with it as he was."

On the streets of Hollywood, the public has been expressing its thoughts.

One fan said: "It's sad. I liked him and I liked her. I thought they made a real sweet couple."

Others were more matter-of-fact about the latest failed celebrity relationship. "There's nothing special about it. People break up, people meet - it's the way of life," said another.

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See also:

06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
All over for Cruise and Kidman
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cruise and Kidman: In pictures
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cruise and Kidman: Broken dream
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