Nicole Kidman's performance as domestic violence victim Celeste Wright on Big Little Lies was one of the most impressive of her career. Kidman was often covered in bruises throughout filming, but playing Celeste also took a major emotional toll. Luckily, the actress' husband Keith Urban provided a strong support system for her when she went home each day.
"Because we were shooting for so long, I think the duration of [the production] slowly started to seep in," Kidman told Entertainment Tonight. "Normally, I can step back into my family life in a very easy way. Not always, but you know, usually. I’ve been working a long time now. But it was hard."
The actress says coming home to Urban helped her cope with the emotions evoked by playing an abuse victim. "Luckily, I have a partner who is artistic so he understands what it takes to support that," Kidman continued. "I came home to loving arms, someone who would hold me, and I was really upset at times. Really damaged, really upset, and physically and emotionally drained and in pain — my neck, particularly."
Kidman has consistently been candid about what it was like to play Celeste. She says some scenes left her feeling "deeply humiliated" and credits the cast and crew with supporting her during those times.
"I remember lying on the floor in the bathroom … and I just wouldn’t get up in between takes," the actress recently told W magazine, referencing a particularly violent scene from the series finale. "I was just lying there, sort of broken and crying. And I remember at one point [director Jean-Marc Vallée] coming over and just sort of placing a towel over me because I was just lying there in half-torn underwear and just basically on the ground with nothing on and I was just, like [gasps]."
Kidman says she did her best to put on a brave face at work, but her emotions surfaced when she went home for the day. "I didn’t realize how much it had penetrated me — it affected me in a deep way," she said. "When I would go home, I would feel ashamed, and that’s the same emotions and the same feelings that Celeste was having."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.