Kidman Endures: PEOPLE

04/15/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

While her estranged husband, Tom Cruise, took the stage at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium on Oscar night, Nicole Kidman Tom Cruise hunkered down at the home of a friend and, with millions around the world, watched the show on TV with a small group of pals, PEOPLE reveals in its new cover story. Like her family in Sydney, that tight circle of friends has been a primary source of support for Kidman, 33, since Cruise, 38, announced an end to their marriage on Feb. 5 and filed for divorce two days later. Now that it's been revealed that the Hawaiian-born Australian actress suffered a miscarriage in mid-March, she may need them more than ever. Says a close friend of Kidman's: "It's a physical pain, but it's more an emotional loss." And while the public revelation sparked a flurry of tabloid rumors, her friends maintain emphatically that Cruise was the father. Even so, those friends say, Cruise has kept his distance from Kidman. Though they talk occasionally by phone about matters regarding their adopted children -- Isabella, 8, and Connor, 6 -- and share custody, one friend says Cruise greeted Kidman's devastating news coolly. (Through a spokeswoman Cruise declined to comment.) "She is still clueless as to why (Cruise ended the marriage)," says another close friend. "She's over wanting to get back with him, but she still doesn't understand what happened."

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