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Katie Holmes consulted Nicole Kidman about Tom Cruise divorce

NEW YORK NY - DECEMBER 19:  Actress Katie Holmes attends 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' U.S. premiere after party

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: Actress Katie Holmes attends the "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" U.S. premiere after party at the Museum of Modern Art on December 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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Updated: August 14, 2012 6:27AM

While no one is talking openly, I’m hearing that Katie Holmes had many very instructive phone conversations with Tom Cruise’s second wife, Nicole Kidman, before filing those headline-grabbing divorce papers in New York last month.

Kidman apparently was totally supportive of Holmes and understood the issues raised by her ex-husband’s deep devotion — some believe it to be an obsession — with the Church of Scientology. That supposedly was also a “deal breaker” in the Cruise and Kidman marriage.

A key point that Kidman reportedly made, according to a good Holmes source: strike first and strike fast, once the decision is made to go ahead with the divorce. In Kidman’s case, Cruise surprised her by filing for divorce shortly after the couple’s 10th anniversary.

Another aspect to all this involved Holmes’ parents, Martin and Kathy Holmes. Beyond the secret and tough legal advice the actress received from her attorney father, the senior Holmeses apparently are very happy their daughter has left Cruise; they believe the superstar is not as enthusiastic about daughter Suri spending time with the Holmeses, as he is with letting her visit his mother and sisters, who also are active Scientologists.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: As first scooped by this column back on Jan. 17, the famed Asian-themed celebrity friendly Mr. Chow restaurant group will open its first Chicago outpost in the historic Biggs mansion at Dearborn and Elm, owned by Chicago entrepreneur and real estate investor Fred Latsko.

In a chat Thursday with Latsko, he confirmed that Il Molino — the wildly overpriced, New York-centric Italian eatery that has occupied the space the past few years — will close Friday so that “Michael Chow and I can move forward and finalize the deal for a Mr. Chow Chicago.”

Latsko has worked for several years to bring Mr. Chow to Chicago, because he believes Our Town — specifically the Near North Side — has been lacking a high-end Chinese restaurant.

Among Mr. Chow’s best known restaurants are the ones in New York and Beverly Hills, where over the years this columnist has seen a parade of famous faces, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Harvey Weinstein, Anna Wintour, Jim Carrey, Joe Pesci, Mickey Rourke, a slew of Kardashians and Jennifer Lopez.

FASHION FLASH: Congrats to Gold Coast retailer Ashley Zisook (who soon moves her hot Sofia boutique from Oak to Walton) for the launch of her pop-up store that she’s just opened in the Country Mart Center in Malibu, Calif. The project is in partnership with music producer Cisco Adler, son of Chicago native and music industry legend Lou Adler, also owner of a company called Banana Beat. For those heading to the West Coast, Sofia Banana Beat pop-up store will be open through Labor Day.

ON THEIR TOES: There will be auditions for male and female dancers with classical ballet experience for the Lyric Opera’s production next season of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.” The tryouts are scheduled for Aug. 25 at the Civic Opera House, but dancers must call Stephanie Karr at (312) 827-3567 to schedule an audition. Walk-ins will not be seen.

CLASSIC REMAKE: There’s a lot of Hollywood buzz about the proposed re-do of that iconic movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962), starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis — who famously depised each other and made no effort to hide it while filming.

Hollywood gossip pro Janet Charlton suggests Faye Dunaway (who played Crawford in “Mommy Dearest”) or Jessica Lange or Charlotte Rampling for the Crawford role of the wheelchair-bound Blanche. I’m also hearing there’s talk of Sigourney Weaver, Stockard Channing or Susan Sarandon for that part.

As for Davis’ Baby Jane, suggested stars include Kathy Bates, Kirstie Alley, Judith Light and Meg Ryan.

Certainly an eclectic crowd of actresses.

FAMILY SQUABBLES: As the Los Angeles premiere approaches for “Sparkle,” with Whitney Houston’s final big screen performance, there’s a bit of Houston family arguing over who should and should not attend the high-profile screening of the movie, which stars Jordin Sparks.

While it’s assumed that Whitney’s mom, Cissy Houston; daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, and cousin Dionne Warwick will be there, apparently a brouhaha is brewing over whether Whitney’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, or several of her siblings should be present for what is certain to be a very emotional event.

‘IDOL’ MOMENTS: During my chat Thursday at the United Center with “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest at the first round of Chicago auditions for the talent competition’s 12th season, the reality-show mogul said there are two things that almost always happen when he runs into show fans.

“First, they tell me who their favorite contestants were and why they should never have been voted off the show. And I always say, ‘Then you should have voted more often!’

“Then, they put their arms around my shoulders and stick out their smartphone and snap a photo of us — cheek to cheek. It happens every time. No exception,” said Seacrest, who proved his point as he greeted screaming fans who did just that!

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