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Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman | Source: Getty Images
Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman’s Wife ‘Tried to Break up’ with Him -—27 Years Married, They Became Parents after Losing Hope

Taitirwa Sehliselwe Murape
Apr 23, 2023
02:00 A.M.
  • "The Wolverine" star Hugh Jackman, 54, met his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, 67, in 1995 when the two were co-stars on an Australian drama TV series.
  • The couple has experienced issues with fertility that ultimately prevented them from having children of their own, and there was a time when Furness nearly ended the relationship.
  • Despite past difficulties and rumors, the couple shares two adopted kids and celebrates 27 years of marriage this year.
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"The Greatest Showman" actor Hugh Jackman met his wife, "Shame" star Deborra-Lee Furness as co-stars on the set of an Australian drama series "Corelli" in 1995. The show was Jackman's first significant role fresh out of drama school. Furness, however, had already made a name for herself in the industry and was considered a "big star" at the time.

Even though Jackman knew he would make Furness his wife someday from the moment he met her, the "Logan" star still took six weeks to work up the courage to ask her out on a date. After admitting their feelings for one another over a dinner party Jackman had hosted, the pair began to date in "secret" — or so they thought. The following year, Furness and Jackman married at a church just outside of Melbourne, Australia.

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at Hollywood premiere of "The Prestige" in 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at Hollywood premiere of "The Prestige" in 2006 | Source: Getty Images

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Despite the 13-year age gap between the two, Jackman knew Furness was "the one" for him. In a sit-down interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jackman recalled the time he met Furness at 26 years old.

The "Australia" star was a student living off of $120 a week at the time. Prior to meeting Furness, Jackman had just ended what he described as a "difficult" relationship which he was involved in during his time at drama school. At 26 years old, he met the Australian beauty and described their relationship as "ten times better" than being single. In Jackman's words:

"She was [gorgeous and]..unbelievably fun - this energy, this spirit - irrepressible. And she had confidence in herself. I had a massive crush on her [right away]."

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the "Someone Like You" premiere in New York City, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the "Someone Like You" premiere in New York City, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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The happy couple had an instantaneous connection and continued to solidify their close bond. Though at one point, Jackman recounted being slightly "terrified" about how serious their relationship was getting and how deep his feelings were for Furness.

Jackman described himself as somewhat of an "even Steven," whilst Furness had the opposite personality - she was more "thrilling." The "Pan" actor found Furness' adventurous spirit "attractive.

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Furness and Jackman's relationship appeared to be "written in the stars." The duo has been very open and forthcoming about the ins and outs of their relationship and how they came to be.

In a 2018 "Aussies in Hollywood" podcast episode, Jackman and Furness sat down to discuss their marriage, life, and careers. Jackman doubled down on his claim that he knew Furness was "the one":

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"I knew [extremely] early [on]. I'm a very indecisive person, [and] Deb really knows this about me. I can count on my hand the [number] of times in my life anything has felt that clear to me."

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness photographed by paparazzi in New York City, 2018 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness photographed by paparazzi in New York City, 2018 | Source: Getty Images

Although it was love at first sight for Furness and Jackman, the couple's relationship was in jeopardy of being over at one point. Jackman remembered a time when Furness nearly called it quits despite him reinforcing she was the only one for him:

"I knew before [she] knew, [I had known] even when she tried to break up with me. I managed to talk her out of [her decision]."

During the time Furness was having doubts about continuing her relationship with Jackman, the "Waiting" starlet had made a New Year's resolution not to date any actors, especially those under 30. When she had first met Jackman, Furness was not looking to date anyone, least of all a "co-star." However, Jackman became an exception to her rule, and one year later (in 1996), the couple wed.

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Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness spotted in New York City, 2018 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness spotted in New York City, 2018 | Source: Getty Images

The Couple's Struggle To Have Kids

The journey to parenthood and starting a family took a lot of work for Jackman and Furness. The couple planned to try for children pretty soon after they wed. According to Jackman, the sense of urgency to start a family was brought on by the fact that at Furness' age, they already knew that it would be more than likely tricky.

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the Deauville Festival in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the Deauville Festival in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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Despite numerous attempts to produce kids biologically, Furness and Jackman proved unsuccessful. Jackman disclosed that their efforts with IVF were unsuccessful, and Furness' pregnancies never made it to full-term:

"We struggled [with] a couple [of] miscarriages, [in vitro fertilization, and] it was not easy. It was difficult, obviously, [especially] on Deb."

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Jackman was very candid and spoke about their difficulties with miscarriages quite matter-of-factly. The couple went through a series of hard times throughout this period, and Jackman noted how little conversation there was in society about couples who go through such unfortunate hard times when trying to start families:

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"It is a difficult time. The miscarriage thing - apparently, it happens to one in three pregnancies - but it's [hardly ever] talked about."

Jackman added that the whole discussion around the unfortunate instance of having a miscarriage is almost non-existent, as people tend to keep that occurrence a secret. The Hollywood actor emphasized the importance of allowing time for grief and mourning as the issue is more common than what is typically thought.

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh and Deborra Now Have A Beautiful Family And Have Been Together For 27 Years

After having gone through a hard time while trying to conceive, Hugh and Furness finally made their dreams of becoming parents a reality. The Hollywood couple became the parents of Oscar Maximilian Jackman, born in May 2000, now 17, and Ava Eliot Jackman, born in July 2005, now 12.

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According to Jackman, adoption was always on the table as an option for him and Furness.

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness share a kiss at the premiere of "The Son" at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness share a kiss at the premiere of "The Son" at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

For Jackman and Furness, being supportive, loving, and motivating spouses is everything. The couple recently celebrated their 27th anniversary, and Jackman has claimed that he would not be where he is today without his "rock"—Furness. When asked about what it is he most loves about his wife, Jackman talked about their incredibly close bond before the height of his fame:

"One of the great pieces of fortune in my career [was that] Deb and I were already set together, [we were] a team, [and] madly in love, [quite] literally before it all happened. Our priority is our family, and we're there for each other no matter what."

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Jackman went on to boast about how intricately connected he and Furness are. The "X-Men" alum reminisced about how the two share Award ceremony rituals; according to Jackman, no one else can enter his room before his wife has been in to see him first. Even when accepting awards or presenting speeches, Jackman always puts his hand over his heart and looks directly at Furness in the audience to reinforce the message of her being his "rock."

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Jackman is ever the loving and dotting husband; his wife means everything to him. On the Ellen DeGeneres Show, he discussed the strength of his marriage and how it just improves over time. The "Real Steel" actor confirmed:

"It gets better and better; I can honestly say that...She's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me."

Jackman went on to describe just how grateful he was that the pair found each other before he became a huge and successful actor. Every significant accomplishment Jackman made happened with his wife at his side. When it comes to the success and longevity of his marriage, Jackman stands by one slogan—"Happy wife, happy life."

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman sighted in New York City, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman sighted in New York City, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

As parents, the couple is also thriving. According to Jackman, adoption was always on the table as an option for him and Furness.

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The decision to adopt had been a part of their long-term plans as a couple, and it was simply a matter of when they would decide to do so. Jackman explained:

"I remember saying to her, 'We were always going to adopt - let's just adopt now.' [When deciding to adopt, we looked at what need was most apparent] and we just knew from talking with people in that space...that the biggest need is in mixed-race kids."

Furness and Jackman were not worried about making sure that their adopted kids resembled them. Instead, they aimed to teach their kids that who they are, goes far beyond the surface level of the color of their skin.

Oscar Maximilian and Ava Eliot Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at Hugh's Star Ceremony in Hollywood, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Oscar Maximilian and Ava Eliot Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at Hugh's Star Ceremony in Hollywood, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Jackman and Furness make it their mission to ensure that Oliver and Ava know about their cultural and ethnic lineage. The parents have incorporated all sorts of cultural rituals and traditions to account for their kids' ethnicities. For example, on one occasion, they cooked Croatian/Bosnian cuisine to account for Oliver's descent and took a trip to Mexico to celebrate Ava's Mexican lineage.

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For both parents, instilling humility and gratitude in their children is extremely important. The family makes no secret about how blessed their lives have been, and Jackman constantly reminds his children of this fact:

"My kids have so many advantages, and I want them to know that they have a responsibility to use those advantages to help others. My kids are constantly reminded about how lucky we are in our family."

Hugh Jackman, Oscar Maximilian Jackman, and Ava Eliot Jackman snapped by paparazzi in New York City, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman, Oscar Maximilian Jackman, and Ava Eliot Jackman snapped by paparazzi in New York City, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Despite years of marital bliss and raising a happy family, Jackman's sexuality has been the subject of rumors throughout the years. Speculations have swirled amongst the public about whether or not the actor is gay. In a podcast episode of "Not an Overnight Success," Furness joked about the rumors circulating about her husband's sexual orientation:

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"Hugh's been gay for whatever. I mean, hello, guys - if he was gay, he could be gay!

Furness then goes further to say that were Jackman really gay, he would most definitely live his life out in the open. The "Blessed" actress joked that he would even be dating another big movie star, like Brad Pitt, for example.

Furness was quick to shut down any rumor or speculation and confirmed that she and Jackman have been happily in love and married for over 20 years at the time. The happy couple continues to enjoy their life together and focuses on raising happy kids and a successful family.

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