But their cross-continental bliss has come to a screeching halt.
Spotted getting cosy with director pal Garth Davis at the Sydney premiere of her show Top Of The Lake, Nicole, 50, effectively ended the commitment she and Keith, 49, made to make their marriage work while their careers kept them apart.
‘When Nicole and Garth said hello and goodbye, they shared a very lingering embrace,’ an onlooker tells New Idea.
‘They’re obviously close friends who have a lot of affection and respect for each other.’
Exclusive images obtained by New Idea show the pair sharing several embraces and flirting openly, with Garth barely able to tear his eyes away from Nic as they dined at exclusive Sydney restaurant Bennelong.
It’s the latest in a friendship that’s already attracted headlines – and concern from country singer Keith.
While the dad-of-two – who’s currently on tour – knows there’s nothing going on between his wife and married Garth, sources tell New Idea he’s sure to be furious over the photos.
‘Nicole and Garth have a long history and have been close friends for years,’ an insider says.
‘He knows there’s nothing going on between them. Their relationship is purely professional. But I’m sure he’ll still be furious over these new pics, especially given that Keith and Nicole had words after the last time she was caught flirting in public with Garth. He thinks it’s not a good look, and only attracts scandal.’
Having ditched their ‘no more than seven days apart’ rule last year when Nicole’s filming clashed with Keith’s tour, the pair managed to forge a new normal – keeping their love strong despite extended periods apart. But the latest photos have the pair questioning if their relationship can withstand the strain.
‘What makes it annoying for Keith is that when he’s on tour, he’s always careful not to pose for photos with gorgeous women or pretty fans, which might upset Nicole or be misconstrued.
‘He is careful not to be seen flirting because he doesn’t want to embarrass his wife, but Nicole isn’t as careful. It’s disrespectful.’
You can see the pics in this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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