LOS ANGELES—An attack by Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman Monday left four handlers injured and two in intensive care, where they are listed in serious but stable condition.
The attack, which occurred during a photo shoot for Premiere magazine at the landmark Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, serves as a reminder that, despite their beautiful appearance, celebrities are both dangerous and unpredictable.
"Even experienced handlers can't turn their backs on these creatures," said celebrity behaviorist Laurel Fraser, who has conducted extensive field studies on such performers as Madonna, Bruce Willis, and an entire pride of Baldwins. "It's easy for people in the starkeeping profession to get complacent, and when stars sense that, they often lash out."
Stylist Melody Cosgrove was rushed to West Hills Hospital with broken bones, severe blood loss, and deep lacerations to the face, neck, and shoulders, likely inflicted by Kidman's cherry-red, two-inch talons. Personal assistant Barrie Levesque reportedly suffered extensive nerve damage, as well as severely yanked hair. Publicists Kiki Landresky and Martin O'Reilly have been released from West Hills after being treated for cuts and minor contusions. O'Reilly received a puncture wound to the thigh from one of Kidman's stiletto heels.
Celebrity-control officers working with the LAPD cornered the actress outside a sound stage at Hollywood Center Studios late Tuesday and shot her with a tranquilizer dart after failing to coax her into custody with an expensive gift bag.
"She was just calmly feeding at a craft-services table, unaware of all the havoc she raised," celebrity-control officer Rene Bofill said. "After being tranquilized, she began to snort and rave, knocking down tables and chairs before she collapsed near the set of That's So Raven."
As with many celebrity attacks, the victims reported that Kidman gave no warning before striking.
"She's been made up millions of times—I don't know why on this particular occasion she exploded," O'Reilly said. "It was pretty scary. She just coiled up in her makeup chair and pounced on the stylist."
After overpowering Cosgrove, Kidman turned on longtime assistant Levesque, beating him with her powerful, flapping arms, the span of which is reportedly six feet.
“[Levesque] is lucky he wasn’t killed,” Fraser said. “Nicole’s long, sinewy legs contain enough power to decapitate an adult human.”
Former personal assistant Kari Lynn Hable, who was hospitalized with compound leg fractures in 1999 following a violent encounter with actor Chris O'Donnell, said "there is no such thing as a tame star."
"Sometimes, we love our celebrities so much that we want them to experience the same freedoms we enjoy," Hable said. "But if something goes wrong, you'll quickly realize that a lot separates a celebrity from an ordinary human being. And believe me, you never, ever want to find yourself in the powerful jaws of a Chris O'Donnell."
The Kidman attack has raised questions about what motivates some individuals to handle and maintain such volatile creatures.
"The thing is, they're so gorgeous and exotic, it's like having a little piece of glamour with you at all times," Fraser said. "I'm not advocating irresponsible handling of celebrities. I've heard of some celebrity managers keeping two or three celebrities in their offices at one time. That's just cruel. You have to respect their space."
Kidman is currently in captivity in a Brentwood celebrity preserve while authorities debate whether she should be destroyed.