Mon, Jan 31, 2011
The New Paper
Nicole Kidman's sister lives in Orchard road

By Sylvia Toh Paik Choo

THE black wheelie bin outside the gate beckoned. Drat, where are the kitchen gloves when you need them? Should I lift the lid anyway and prod the chucked contents?

Arnotts' biscuits wrapping, Foster's beer cans, Jones the Grocer shopping bags, empties of Vegemite, Big Sister cake boxes, even an old vuvuzela, ah, it can only be people from Oz.

Of course we didn't probe the trash. It's just my imagination working overtime.

It started when someone in the office exclaimed: "Eh, Nicole Kidman's sister lives in Singapore!"

(As does Jet Li, and Jackie Chan has a place here, Michelle Yeoh's sister has her home here, and maybe not any more but Gong Li did commute from Singapore.)

We're talking Oscar-winning actress and Hollywood red carpet luminary Nicole Kidman, whose younger sister Antonia has relocated to Singapore with her financier husband.

Someone else around the newsroom chirped: "And I've got the address, why don't you go check it out?"

Okay, so I've met the more famous Kidman a few times at film festivals.

At your hairdresser's, you're likely to have read all about how 44-year-old Kidman's younger sister Antonia, 41, an Australian TV presenter, met and married Craig Marran last April and have now settled on our shores.

The media-shy couple met through mutual friends in January 2009, tied the knot the following year in South Africa (now you get the vuvuzela reference) and had a baby son, Nicholas, early last month.

Coincidentally, Kidman and country singer hubby Keith Urban welcomed their second daughter Faith - who was conceived via surrogate - at the end of last month. The cousins can share a birthday party, cool.

Surprise guests are not high on anyone's favourite people list. I was contemplating this very thought as I stood by the gate of their address near Orchard Road.

I wrote the couple a little note. Excuse the intrusion, but would you consent to an interview for our paper?

Just as I popped it down their mailbox, I spied an Asian nanny cradling a baby on the verandah. Oh, it must be the right house! There's a baby.

She then handed the baby over to another woman. It is a beautiful house, two-storeyed, with a small swimming pool after the gate, and al fresco areas before you enter the home proper.

The vegetation is tropical lush, verdant glossy trees and leafy plants, obviously the work of a landscape artist, and a good jungly guard against prying eyes.

Neighbouring houses may be bigger and more expensive, but not anywhere as lovely as this one. Next door, some serious construction is going down for probably the grandest of homes in that residential area. Think of the noise, poor baby.

The figure of $3 million was bandied about. Three girls walked along the street and I stopped to ask if they knew who lived here.

They grinned, sure, and you're Paik Choo, right?

And you know who she is?

Yeah, we've seen some articles in magazines. Ever see her? Yes, sometimes she walks around.

How does she look?

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Tall and slim, and you can see the family resemblance. Antonia and Nicole share excellent genes from their good-looking parents.

In fact, said one of the girls, in the morning, at 8.30am, you can see her walking her kids to school, just down the road.

Antonia has four children from her previous marriage which ended in divorce three years ago.

A week later in the morning, my colleague parked herself by the gate and spotted a tall slim figure walk away down the hill, little girl in tow (possibly four-year-old daughter Sybella).

Minutes later, the tall slim figure slung into view, alone, up the hill, towards the gate. Oh, it is her, she does look like Kidman.

"Hi Antonia, we...", Antonia, nonplussed, looking quite the expat wife - plainly dressed and without a stitch of makeup - responded only with:

"Please don't take my picture."

Hand shielding her face, she went into her home. So don't even think about whipping round to sight the couple, both husband and wife are runners, they take part in marathons.

-Additional reporting by Belle Charlene Kwan

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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