Keith Urban Sweetly Recalls Meeting 'Real-Life Princess' Nicole Kidman (Exclusive)

Keith Urban reminisced on the early days of his fairytale romance with his wife of almost 18 years, Nicole Kidman.

At the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, Urban gave a sweet speech to the night's recipient, who he described as his "real-life princess." The prestigious award celebrates an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.

The Australian-American country singer, 56, began his speech by recalling the first time he met Kidman, also 56.

"So, I'm going to speak to a little bit about a particular view I get of Nic for a long time now," he said. "But I'll start with the fact that we met in January 2005. We were being honored at this event called G'Day LA, which sounds a bit like a pick-up line from Crocodile Dundee."

Urban remembered trying to act cool but feeling star struck by the Big Little Liesstar.

"We chatted very briefly," he shared. "I was trying to play it cool, but inside I'd felt like I snuck into the wrong ball simply because Nic had such a truly otherworldly aura about her, and I felt like I was meeting a bit of a real-life princess. I know a lot of you can relate to that."

The actress looked like a princess that evening too, glimmering in the audience wearing a golden, custom Balenciaga gown. Urban opted for a chic, traditional black suit with white button-down and black tie.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala red carpet.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

"And despite all of that, I did manage to get her phone number on a tiny piece of paper," Urban said as the camera panned to a smiling and nodding Kidman. "And I carried that number in my pocket for well over a week. I'd pull it out and look at it, put it back in my pocket. I was scared. I was nervous to call her. And as prone as I might have been at the time to all sorts of delusional thinking, even I couldn't stretch that to think that this extraordinary woman would ever see anything in a guy like me. And that's not me being humble, that's literally how I saw myself and her."

Urban and Kidman got married in June 2006 in a romantic ceremony in Australia.

"I did, as you probably figured out, pluck up the courage to finally call her," Urban continued. "We started talking and we just talked and talked like we'd known each other our whole lives. It turned out, this mystic creature was really just a wide-eyed vivacious giddy girl from the Sydney suburbs. And despite being born in Honolulu, she was utterly Aussie through and through."

The couple were joined by their daughters – Sunday Rose, 15, and Faith Margaret, 13 – for the special evening. Kidman's sister, Antonia Kidman, was also at the star-studded gala, and brought along her daughter, Sybella Hawley, who joined the family for photos on the press line.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman

Keith Urban, Sunday Rose Kidman-Urban, Faith Margaret Kidman-Urban, Sybella Hawley, Nicole Kidman, and Antonia Kidman at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award gala in Hollywood on April 27, 2024.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Kidman spoke with ET at the event's red carpet, and addressed how she felt about the honor, and getting support from her loving family.

"I'm a little nervous, to be honest," Kidman said. "Instead of saying nervous, say you're excited. So I'm excited!"

"I'm just incredibly honored..." she added. "When you look at this list of honorees, I am astounded. And to be the first Australian [honored], I'm very very proud of that."

Kidman said she was happy to be joined by her girls, who "are old enough now to be able to come and know what this is," and mentioned that her mom was watching from the live stream.

"To be able to do this with my family around me gives it such balance... it's very grounding," Kidman shared.

Past AFI Life Achievement Award recipients include Julie Andrews, Denzel Washington and George Clooney.

TNT will air the 49th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Nicole Kidman on Monday, June 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT with an encore performance on TCM on June 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

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