Actress Nicole Kidman pulled out of a prestigious Australian honours ceremony yesterday (25JAN06), because her country singer boyfriend Keith Urban failed to agree a performance slot at the event.

The Moulin Rouge! star was scheduled to pick up the Companion in the Order of Australia award in Canberra during Australia Day, but cancelled her appearance.

A government official says, "We almost had Keith Urban to come and perform - it was so close. It we had Keith, we would've had Nicole, too."

Organisers had to scramble to find a last minute replacement and were able to convince Russell Crowe to perform in place of the country crooner.