Skip to content

Nicole Kidman Sued a Tabloid for Claiming She Ended Jude Law's Marriage

British tabloids spread rumors that the two had an affair on the set of Cold Mountain.

Ever since her divorce from Tom Cruise in 2001, Nicole Kidman has been a woman demonstrably in charge of her own career. Her production company, Blossom Films, has been behind projects including Hulu's Nine Perfect Strangers and HBO Max's upcoming Love and Death, and she also co-produced Big Little Lies, which garnered her an Emmy. But even as she won her first Academy Award in 2003 for The Hours and the accolades came pouring in, the actor refused to let tabloids get away with their own big little lies. When rumors surfaced in The Daily Mail insinuating that Kidman was responsible for breaking up the marriage of her co-star of the moment, Jude Law, she sued and won. Read on to find out what actually happened between the Cold Mountain castmates and how the Moulin Rouge! star got her way in court.

READ THIS NEXT: This Co-Star Was Shocked Michelle Pfeiffer "Said Hello," Let Alone Had an Affair With Him.

Kidman and Law starred opposite each other in Cold Mountain.

Cold Mountain was Mirimax's big gamble for the 2004 Oscars. A blockbuster film starring Kidman, Law, and Renée Zellweger, the 2003 movie is based on the bestselling 1997 novel of the same name by Charles Frazier. In the Civil War-era romance, Law plays wounded soldier William Inman and Kidman plays the love he's fighting to get home to, Ada Monroe. Cold Mountain was nominated for multiple Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs, but only Zellweger took home the hardware for Best Supporting Actress. Law lost on on Best Actor to Sean Penn, who won for his performance in Mystic River.

Law's marriage to Sadie Frost was crumbling.

Sadie Frost and Jude Law in 2000
David Mcnew/Getty Images

Law initially broke out in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley. At the time, he was married to English actor and fashion designer Sadie Frost, and the two were part of what the U.K. tabloids nicknamed the "Primrose Hill set," a group of up-and-coming artists living on the outskirts of Camden Town. They met in 1994 and married in 1997 (his first marriage, her second). However, the marriage fell apart as Law's fast-rising career sent him away for long stretches not long after the birth of their third child in five years. They divorced in October 2003.

Rumors flew that Kidman and Law were having an on-set affair.

Jude Law and Nicole Kidman in 2003
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

As part of the Primrose Hill set, Law and Frost were favorite subjects of U.K. tabloids like The Daily Mail, and their marriage hitting the rocks was the kind of gossip those celebrity pages thrive on. With Law filming Cold Mountain on location in Romania and in the U.S., including in North and South Carolina and Virginia, while Frost was at home (and visibly pregnant), the stories easily slid into suggestions Law was cheating with Kidman, his leading lady. Her divorce from Cruise had been its own tabloid frenzy, and with her Oscar win for her last drama making headlines, she was an easy target to paint as "the other woman."

For more celebrity drama sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Law and their director spoke out.

Jude Law in 2003
KW/Getty Images

The Daily Mail itself reported that Cold Mountain director Anthony Minghella spoke out against the rumors of an untoward relationship between Law and Kidman, insisting that the cast behaved professionally and pointing out that the gossip could hurt her Oscar chances. (Kidman did not end up with an Academy Award nomination for Cold Mountain, though she was up for the Golden Globe.)

"Nobody seems to care about the facts getting in the way of the story," the filmmaker said. "There have been so many poisonous things written about Nicole recently."

Law, as reported by People, also struck back with a statement, saying that there was
"absolutely no third party involved" in the dissolution of his marriage and promising to "follow all legal action necessary to ensure that these kind of vicious lies are put to a stop."

Kidman sued for libel and defamation.

Nicole Kidman in 2004
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

But it was Kidman who actually took legal action, suing The Daily Mail, as reported by CNN. Her lawsuit also named editor Paul Dacre and journalist Nicole Lampert, the latter of whom wrote the piece alleging the affair and characterizing Kidman's denials as lies. It claimed that the actor suffered emotional damages as a result of the coverage.

For a high-profile case that went to court without parties settling, it didn't take long to get a ruling. Reuters (via People) reported that, under oath, both Dacre and Lampert confirmed the story was untrue. In August 2003, five months after the story was published, the High Court found in Kidman's favor against The Daily Mail's parent company, Associated Newspapers. According to The Los Angeles Times, they were ordered to pay an undisclosed amount in damages and issued a public apology to the actor.

A couple of months later, as reported by The Guardian, the actor sued another British tabloid paper, The Sun, with the same successful result.

Ani Bundel
Ani Bundel is an entertainment writer covering everything from celebrities to movies to peak TV. Read more
Filed Under