Nicole Kidman admits she cried when husband Keith Urban spoke his first words after throat surgery.

The country singer had to stay silent for three weeks after having a polyp removed from his vocal chords, and Nicole - who has daughters Sunday Rose, three, and Faith Margaret, 16 months, with Keith - says the experience further strengthened their Bond.

She said: ''Three weeks of no sound--no laughing, no coughing, no sneezing, nothing.

''All of those things make you closer. It was sort of profound: to go without his voice, and then to finally hear his voice. What if he sounded different?

''I was there for his first words, and then we cried. How many people experience their husband's first words? If that doesn't bring you closer, you're not breathing.''

But the 44-year-old 'Hemingway and Gellhorn' actress admits his condition did not stop them from arguing.

She told W magazine: ''He could write things down, and he would scribble away. You can still fight when someone can't talk. When he disagreed with me, he would write, 'This is unacceptable'.''

But despite their bickering, Nicole - who also has adopted children Isabella and Connor from her previous marriage to Tom Cruise - reveals Keith has made it his mission in life to protect her.

She explained: ''He says I'm raw. He thinks the world is not a great place for me because he fears that I'll be hurt. He says, 'That's my job: I'll protect you'.''