By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 05, 2002 12:00 PM

It was love that brought Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise together, the actress tells Vanity Fair magazine in its December issue.

As for what tore them apart last year, after nearly 10 years of marriage, Kidman, 35, says she is only now beginning to comprehend the causes for their split — yet she confirms for the disbelievers that they had a “real marriage.”

“They’ve said I’m gay, they’ve said everyone’s gay,” Kidman said in response to rumors about her and his sexuality. “I personally don’t believe in doing huge lawsuits about that stuff. Tom does. That’s what he wants to do, that’s what he’s going to do. You do not tell Tom what to do. That’s it. Simple. He is a force to be reckoned with.”

As she explains in the magazine profile: “I have a different approach. I don’t file lawsuits because I really don’t care … I just want to do my work, raise my kids, and hopefully find somebody who I can share my life with again.”

As for what it was like at the start of her relationship with Cruise, now, 40: “He basically swept me off my feet. I fell madly, passionately in love.”

All that changed drastically when he suddenly announced he was divorcing her. “My life collapsed,” admits Kidman, who said she was reduced to crying in a fetal position until her parents helped her snap out of it.

“People ran from me, because it was ‘Oh my God! It’s over for her now!'”

Asked if she knew why Tom pulled the plug on the marriage, Kidman replied, “I’m starting to understand now. At the time I didn’t.”