Nicole Kidman is reprising her role as former high-powered attorney Celeste Wright on HBO’s hit drama series Little Big Lies this Sunday at 9/8c. Kidman’s portrayal of the beautiful, battered and abused Celeste won her an Emmy in 2017 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series.
For those who have not yet seen the series, which is based on Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel, Big Little Lies is a visually stunning drama about four mothers living in an affluent Monterey, California, community. Kidman’s character Celeste Wright, the envy of the town, appears to have it all: two beautiful boys, a lavish, luxurious lifestyle, and a husband who loves and adores her.
However, Celeste spent the entire first season hiding a dark and volatile secret — her husband Perry was mentally, physically and emotionally abusive to his wife, and after his dangerous outbursts, he and Celeste would engage in humiliating, hateful and aggressive sex as a way to “apologize” to one another.
Her seemingly “perfect” husband (who is played by Alexander Skarsgård) attempts to keep his beatings private, although his explosive temper and violent treatment of his wife eventually wears off on their young children, who start attacking their friends and classmates at school. Throughout the series, Celeste attempts to hide the truth about her husband; she covers her bruises and scars, lies to her children, and even keeps the details of her private life from her closest friend, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon).
Celeste and Perry eventually seek out the help of marriage counselor Dr. Amanda Reisman (Robin Weigert), but Celeste starts secretly seeing Reisman on her own. Reisman eventually helps Celeste see that her husband makes her fearful for her life and that he won’t change, and Celeste begins planning a way to leave Perry. She rents an apartment and waits for the right time to leave him, but Perry finds out and confronts her. (We don’t want to spoil the ending, so you can click here if you want to know what happens).
Speaking about the show’s season 1 finale, which aired in 2017, Kidman revealed how much Celeste’s painful life story affected her in real life.
“I didn’t realize how much of it penetrated me,” Kidman told Vogue of her character’s experience with physical abuse. “I would go home at night sometimes and be in a lot of pain, and I had to take things like Advil, because I was being thrown around physically. I was really bruised.”
She also revealed to Vulture how emotionally drained she felt when filming finally wrapped up each day, and how she would leave the set in complete silence while she absorbed the impact of the scenes she shot.
“Afterward, I would just be quiet,” Kidman said. “I would go home and be quiet. After we shot some of the really, really violent scenes, I was in a lot of pain myself . . . It was very strange . . . It wasn’t a good feeling, I have to say. But women go through this, so I wanted to tap into the truth of it, and I wanted to be real in those scenes, so that’s what it required—an element of violence.”
Season 2 of Little Big Lies premieres Sunday, June 9 at 9/8c on HBO.