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Hugh Jackman's Mom Abandoned Him at 8 via a Telegram — He Understood Her Actions after Adopting His Kids

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jun 20, 2022
02:00 P.M.
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Hugh Jackman is a calm, loving husband and dad who was raised by a single father. He only became more sympathetic to his mother years after she abandoned him and his siblings.


While Hugh was close to his father throughout his upbringing, his relationship with his mother was far more complicated as she left her family without an announcement when Hugh and his siblings were still young boys.

Hugh was born in Sydney to Christopher John Jackman and Grace McNeil. He was the youngest of five siblings. Before his birth, the family migrated from the UK to Australia.

Actor Hugh Jackman attends "The Front Runner" Photo Call at Crosby Street Hotel on September 24, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Following Hugh's birth, everything seemed normal with the family. However, when he was eight, he experienced his mother leaving them alone with their father without so much as a word.

McNeil did not see the need to bid farewell to her family before leaving for the UK. It was not until twenty-four hours later that she reached out to her husband and kids via a telegram announcing her departure.


Years later, the actor revealed that on the day of his mom's departure, he was getting ready for school, as usual. While she brushed her teeth, she said a casual "goodbye," but he did not know it was her last day in their home.


Hugh stayed at home with his dad and four siblings. Despite the tough times, his dad tried to be an excellent single parent.


Sadly, McNeil's exit to her native country not only made her youngest child feel alone, but he was also unruly. At first, Hugh was hopeful, like Christopher, wishing and praying for her return, but it never happened.

At age 13, he realized that his father would be his only parent. As a result, Hugh felt fear, often leading to arguments with his siblings. In his words:

"From the moment Mum left, I was a fearful kid who felt powerless."


The couple later divorced, and his sisters, Zoe and Sonia, left to be with their mother in England while the boys remained with their father.

Hugh admitted that apart from simple arguments, he and his brother who was older than him sometimes got into physical altercations.


Christopher, an ex-army boxer, was conscious of his sons' rivalry and objected to it. He even banned the boys from watching wrestling to curtail the habit.


As a young boy, dealing with his mother's abandonment was hard, but as Hugh matured, he chose to look at the situation as a blessing in disguise.


His childhood experience instilled in him a determination to live differently. Also, as time went on, the feelings of frustration and fear disappeared.

The "X-Men" star confessed that he never felt angry at his mother and could not explain why. He added that earlier in his career, his acting teachers often challenged him to bring out his "demons," but he knew they were "obviously not there."

Hugh Jackman, Deborra Lee Furness and Ava Eliot Jackman are seen in the West Village on September 9, 2013 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Hugh later understood that his mother suffered a mental breakdown and postnatal depression after having her last child.

Hugh shockingly expressed that it might never have been diagnosed and believed that McNeil was going through a "tough time" with their large family.

He later learned that she was in the hospital after his delivery and didn't have a support network in Sydney to get her through the hard times.


The Australian-born actor was content with the excuse and chose to love his mother irrespective of her flaws or lack of communication. As a result, the pair are now extremely close, sharing a sweet bond.


to Hugh:

"I was always quite connected with my mom. I have a good relationship with her."

Hugh maintained that his top priority was cementing their bond and being at peace with his mother. He consistently tries to spend time with her and even shares photos of his mother online.



Being the product of a broken home, Hugh made an effort to ensure his marriage was happy and became a doting husband to his partner.

The actor has been married to his wife, Deborah-Lee Furness, for twenty-six years. Even though she is thirteen years his senior, they have made it work throughout the years.


The couple looks genuinely happy and in love. From time to time, Hugh blesses fans with snaps of his heavenly romance, showing the couple having fun as they bask in each other's company.

Annually, the actor never fails to share a tribute to his wife for their anniversary. Last year, he shared a montage of their wedding photos, adding a heart-melting message, describing their seamless romance.

Hugh Jackman, Deborra Lee Furness and Ava Eliot Jackman are seen in the West Village on September 9, 2013 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


This year, it was a photo of the lovers enjoying the serene atmosphere and cool breeze at a beach. The accompanying caption read:

"Today I celebrate 26 years of marriage to my extraordinary wife. Every single day is filled with so much laughter, joy and backgammon!!!! Deb you light up my life. I love you with all my heart!"


Fans would remember that this fantastic love tale began when the pair met on the set of an Australian show "Correlli." They got married in 1996 and became obsessed with expanding their family.

Unfortunately, Furness suffered two miscarriages, and in 2000, the couple decided to adopt their first child, Oscar Jackman. Five years later, they adopted a daughter named Ava Jackman.

The mother-of-two is famous for her adoption advocacy and founded the National Adoption Awareness Week in Australia. She has since aimed to make adoption faster and fairer.


Furness also runs a group called "Adopt Change" that aims to "pave the way for every child to grow up in a permanent, loving family."

Back at home, Furness is all about protecting her family and admitted that "family to me means you feel safe." This has also been her mantra for helping adoptees.

November 15: Hugh Jackman and Ava Jackman with his mother, Grace McNeil are seen on November 15, 2013 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Thankfully, Hugh is on board and has shown immense support to his wife. The actor mentioned that becoming a father changed his outlook on parenting, making him even more sympathetic to his mother. It also helped him understand her actions.

The father-of-two explained that he never blamed his mum. Instead, his childhood experience made him vow to become a better person. He added:

"And there comes a certain point in life when you have to stop blaming other people for how you feel or the misfortunes in your life."

Deborra-Lee Furness, son Maximillian Jackman, daughter Ava Eliot Jackman and Hugh Jackman are seen arriving at Laughing Man Marketplace in Manhattan on October 23, 2011 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Indeed, Hugh is a real-life superhero who, through his helplessness as a child, became of fantastic adult, showing maturity, empathy, and love to his mother and family.