Nicole Kidman reveals she considered quitting after 40—'giving birth was like the end of a chapter for me'

Nicole Kidman has shared how ageism in Hollywood almost ended her acting career

THE OSCARS(r) - The 90th Oscars(r) broadcasts live on Oscar(r) SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, on the Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Television Network. (Rick Rowell via Getty Images) NICOLE KIDMAN
(Image credit: Rick Rowell via Getty Images)

Nicole Kidman may be at the top of her game now, but it wasn't so long ago that the Australian actress considered quitting the industry altogether. 

The Nine Perfect Strangers cast member has built an impressive repertoire ever since her breakthrough role in the 1990 film, Days of Thunder, churning out several movies and films on a nearly annual basis for almost three decades. Now an esteemed Oscar-winner, Nicole has rightly earned her status as a bonafide tenant of Hollywood's elite upper-tier. 

However, it wasn't too long ago that she was struggling to stay relevant in the youth-obsessed entertainment industry. Nicole has recently opened up about how Tinsel Town's deep-rooted ageism jeopardized her entire career, leaving her disillusioned and questioning her future as an actress altogether.

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 23: Winner for Best Actress for 'The Hours,' Nicole Kidman poses during the 75th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on March 23, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

Nicole Kidman won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2003 for her performance in The Hours 

(Image credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

After enjoying a streak of blockbuster roles and prestigious awards throughout the '90s and '00s, the Big Little Things star was struck by a career drought following her 40th birthday. Despite her lofty resumé, she entered her fourth decade with fewer job offers and a notable drop in attention from Hollywood executives. The slump was so disheartening that Nicole, who welcomed her first biological child with her husband Keith Urban at the age of 41, contemplated giving up acting for good and focusing instead on family life. 

"I was frustrated—as so many women are in different careers—at the idea of being told, ‘Well, that’s it. You’ve passed through that period where it’s all going to be fine and now you’re in your 40s we’re not interested as much in your storytelling or your ideas or in who you are as a woman or a person,’” she told the Mail on Sunday's You magazine. 

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty)

Nicole Kidman says she was offered less acting roles after 40 

(Image credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty)

This loss of interest occurred around the same time that Nicole gave birth to her daughter, Sunday Rose, in 2008, leading the Cold Mountain star to correlate the start of motherhood with the collapse of her career. 

“Giving birth was like the end of the chapter for me. I thought, ‘Oh well, this is where I go now,’” she explained.

Luckily, with the support of her family, Nicole managed to reignite her spark and persevere through this difficult time. She especially credits her mother, Janelle, for lifting her out of her funk and offering some much-needed words of wisdom. 

"She would say, ‘Nicole, you’re an artist and you shouldn’t just leave that behind. You should keep something back because at some point you may want to go back there again,’” she recalled. 

Janelle's advice may sound simple—but it certainly seems to have worked. Nicole's career has continued to flourish into the 2010s and looks it looks like her momentum isn't about to die down any time soon. Just this month, fans went wild to discover that Nicole will play Lucille Ball in the new biopic Being the Ricardos, a highly-anticipated new film about the legendary American actress and her husband Desi Arnaz. 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.