May 20, 1998 12:00 AM

The divorce of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman after 10 years of marriage “is going to get so ugly,” a friend of the actress’ tells PEOPLE in its new cover story. As more comes to light about the breakup, the magazine reports, it seems clear that Cruise, 38, is calling the shots. His decision to file for divorce on Feb. 7, just two days after the couple announced their separation, left Kidman, 33, “high and dry” and humiliated, says a friend. What’s more, the pair had only begun talking seriously about a separation a couple of weeks before they split, when tensions over differences — as abstract as religion and as concrete as where to vacation — came to a head. Cruise “is playing hardball,” family-law attorney Lynn Soodik told PEOPLE, citing his plea, in which Cruise, who did not have a prenuptial agreement with Kidman, states that the marriage ended in December and lasted precisely nine years and 11 months. (California judges look differently upon marriages that last at least a decade when it comes time to divvy up the estate.) The fact that the pair seemed to be together after their 10th anniversary on Dec. 24 — even taking in a thrill ride in Las Vegas on Dec. 28 — may come into consideration, should Kidman decide to challenge Cruise. (At press time she had yet to file a response.) Meanwhile, Cruise has gone so far as to ask the court something stunning, reveals PEOPLE: not to even consider his paying any alimony.

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