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Nicole Kidman: Actress, Mom, Women's Advocate

Off-screen, Kidman fights violence against women on the international stage.
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WebMD Magazine - Feature

Nicole Kidman is the first to admit that she's not likely to replace Padma Lakshmi on Bravo's Top Chef any time soon. Some celebrities like to tout their prowess in the kitchen, but Kidman, the Academy Award-winning star of films like Days of Thunder, Cold Mountain, The Hours, and The Golden Compass, isn't one of them.

"I'm a very basic cook, and it's so not my skill. I'm more than happy to order out or have somebody else cook," says Kidman, whose latest film, a biography of Princess Grace of Monaco, opens the Cannes Film Festival on May 14. And although she says she can manage simple salmon and steamed vegetables, Kidman also says that when she and her husband, country star Keith Urban, travel with their daughters Sunday Rose, 6, and Margaret Faith, 3, healthy meals can be a challenge.

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"It's hit-and-miss a lot of times, and that's the God's honest truth. When we're on the tour bus with Keith, we don't eat so healthily. We'll eat chicken burgers and so on, which we feel is healthier," she says, laughing. "But Keith will go and get a big hamburger or hot dog. But then we do try to get more salads and proteins."

Anyone who has envied Kidman's willowy 5-foot-11-inch figure might feel slightly pleased to learn staying trim is not quite so effortless for her these days. "When I was a teenager, I could eat like a horse and people were shocked. If I'd been shorter I would have had to learn good habits sooner," she says. "But I hit my 40s and I became far more prone to putting on weight, and I had to change the way I've always eaten. No more huge slabs of chocolate cake!"

Nicole Kidman on Being a Mom

Becoming a mother again in her 40s -- she also has two adult children, Isabella, 21, and Connor, 19, with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise -- has given the always athletic Kidman, now 46, a new and more intense focus on staying healthy.

"I want to be around so I can see my younger kids get married and meet their children," she says. "Whether that's in God's plan or not, I don't know, but I certainly would love that. That's why exercise is so important to me, and why I take supplements and combine Western medicine with natural remedies." (She recently signed on as a spokesperson for Australian vitamin brand Swisse Wellness, and says she researched the products extensively before agreeing to film ads and to put her name on the line's packaging.)

Being a mom the second time around, more than 20 years after her first diaper change, "does require extra maintenance," Kidman says. "I had more energy when I was younger, but I have more patience when I'm older. It's exhausting, but there's a selflessness to parenting that I love. I love taking care of a little person: watching their personalities form, hearing the funny things they say."

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