Nicole Kidman has opened up about the emotional aftermath of her divorce from Tom Cruise, and how that turbulent phase in her life coincided with an Oscar win.

The 56-year-old actor won her first Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours opposite Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Kidman now says the career triumph was bittersweet.

“I was struggling with things in my personal life, yet my professional life was going so well. That’s what happens, right?” Kidman told author Dave Karger in his new book 50 Oscar Nights, via People.

Top Gun star Cruise filed for divorce from Kidman in February 2001, citing “irreconcilable differences”. The pair married in 1990, and they adopted children Connor, now 28, and Isabella, now 31.

While up on stage to accept her Best Actress award, Kidman briefly broke down, before composing herself and saying, “Russell Crowe said ‘don’t cry when you get up there’ and now I’m crying.”

After her emotional speech, Kidman said she wanted to go home.

“I’m not a big party girl, so I was going to skip the Vanity Fair party, and everyone was like, ‘You’ve got to go. You’ve got to walk through the party carrying your Academy Award,'” Kidman recalled.

“I said, ‘That just feels like gloating, and it doesn’t feel humble.’ Like, what? You can’t walk through carrying the award! That feels really inappropriate. They’re like, ‘That’s what you do.'”

Kidman did attend the bash, with her Oscar in hand.

“So I literally walked in, carried it around, was completely overwhelmed, emotional, shaking, and I didn’t enjoy it. I was almost apologetic, which is so stupid. I wish I could have enjoyed it more,” she said.

‘I need to find my love’

Once back in her hotel room, Kidman realised she needed to find love again.

“I went home and ended up ordering takeout and eating it on the floor of the Beverly Hills Hotel,” she said.

“I sat on the floor of the hotel eating French fries and a burger with my family and went to bed. That’s when it hit me. I went, I need to find my love; I need a love in my life. Because this is supposed to be when you go, ‘This is ours.'”

Two years later, Kidman started dating Keith Urban after they met at a gala in Los Angeles.

After six months together, Kidman said she realised Urban was the one when the singer surprised her with a bouquet of gardenias on her birthday.

“That is when I went, ‘This is the man I hope I get to marry,'” she told People. “I believed by that point he was the love of my life.”

The couple married in 2006 in Manly, Australia.