Hugh Jackman Is Opening Up About The Secret To His Marriage

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Hugh Jackman may be a superstar thanks to his long-term role as Wolverine, but his marriage has been a mystery his fans have been trying to understand for decades. Now, Hugh Jackman is finally letting them in on the secret.

A Lasting Vow

Jackman may be an internationally recognized star, but questions often arise as to the woman on his arm at every important moment. Jackman has been happy to share that he brings his wife with him everywhere, but there’s more to their marriage than meets the eye.

Never Tell Me The Odds

Given the machinations of the Hollywood systems, it would seem that most relationships between actors are almost doomed to fail. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness have proven, however, that even in the midst of all of the glitz and artifice, true love can bloom. The pair has been married since 1996, shortly after they fell for one another on the set of the short-lived drama, Correlli, but fans have increasingly questioned the viability of their union.

Not Minding The Gap

One of the biggest reasons that rumors have abounded about the state of Jackman’s marriage with Furness is due to their large age gap. While it’s quite common for men to be significantly older than the women they partner up with, Furness is a full 13 years older than Jackman. With his dashing looks, it’s hard to for others to understand what has drawn him to his much older wife, who is currently 62 years old, but Jackman is finally telling all.

Switching Sides

The rumors that the couple has had to put up with over the years don’t stop at pitying Jackman for ‘settling.’ While some can’t see what he sees in his wife, others believe the relationship is just a cover for Jackman’s true sexuality. Given his frequent appearances in musical productions, some have wrongly conflated his talent for an interest in men; however, both Jackman and his wife have vehemently denied these allegations, saying that others can believe what they want, but it wasn’t true.

Meeting A Star

When Jackman and Furness first met, he was an unknown actor who had just received his first major role, minutes after he finished acting school. Furness, on the other hand, was already a huge star in their native Australia, who would be the lead actress in Correlli. Hugh has recently revealed the details behind the moment the pair first met when he was picked up by the car taking him to his first day on set. It was a moment that would make a lasting impression.

Breaking The Ice

He divulged to People magazine, “Deb, she was a big star. I get picked up, and Deb is in the front seat of the car. I’ll never forget. She took off her seatbelt and she turned around and put out her hand and took off her sunglasses and said, ‘Hi, I’m Deborra-Lee Furness, nice to meet you.’” Jackman had been nervous on the first day of his real job, but there was something about Deborra that put him at ease.

An Instant Connection

Though the pair may not have fallen in love at first sight, sparks certainly flew.  “I remember thinking, ‘I like this girl,’” Jackman recalled. However, it gave him pause that he was taking a liking to his coworker, especially one so much older than his 26 years. Jackman found the two becoming fast friends, but was embarrassed that he felt more for his costar than platonic companionship. The only problem was that Jackman wasn’t sure how to handle his crush.

Chilling His Shoulder

Jackman explains how his attraction for Deb began to grow stronger the longer they worked together, to the point that he thought it prudent to cut off contact with her, a difficult task considering they were coworkers. He shared that he “didn’t talk to Deb for a week” before realized that it was “not a good plan.” Even through his timidity, he wasn’t sure how to go about letting his feelings shine through. As it turned out, asking Deb out wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.

Devising A Plan

Jackman decided to concoct a plan in order to try and spend some time with the object of his affection outside of work. Though Hugh considered being direct and just asking Deb out on a date, he figured there was no way she was interested in him being anything more than a friend. Instead of facing almost certain rejection, he decided to hide his agenda in a dinner party thrown at his apartment with the rest of the cast.

Admitting To Himself

Jackman explained, “Deb and I were already best friends, and I realized, I’ve got a crush on my leading lady. This is the thing you do not do. It’s unprofessional and embarrassing.” Even so, he decided to move forward with his plan, inviting the cast, but especially Deb over for an evening of food and wine. The evening seemed to be going off without a hitch, but Jackman still needed to find a moment to speak to Deb alone.

The Sweet Surprise

As he concocted his half-baked plan to ask out Deb, the main element hinged on dessert. “I invited 20 people [over for dinner],” Jackman revealed. “She came over and I said, ‘Deb, give me a hand with the dessert.’ My dad was a great cook, and he taught me how to make crêpes suzette. It’s a good hour to make crêpes suzette.” Jackman figured the dessert would give them time to talk things over, whether or not she liked him back.

Thawing Out

Deb had noticed that Jackman’s behavior had changed lately, and she wasn’t going to be shy about asking him what was going on. Jackman was candid with People about how Deb approached him in the kitchen that night, “She said, ‘I noticed you haven’t talked to me in like a week, what’s going on?’” Jackman hadn’t realized how obvious it would be, but he knew that his opportunity to explain conflict going on in his mind was now or never.

Confession Of The Heart

Jackman reminisced about the moment he finally confessed to Deborra, sharing,  “I said, ‘I got a crush on you. I’ll get over it, I’m sorry.’ She goes, ‘Oh? Because I’ve got a crush on you too.’ I never in a million years thought she reciprocated.” Jackman was amazed by this turn of events, and despite their better judgment, the two began a clandestine relationship that they hoped would go unnoticed by the rest of their cast mates.

Caught Red Handed

Despite their discretion, it seemed that Jackman and Furman weren’t quite as sneaky about their relationship as they thought they were. He said that they kept their romance under wraps “for about three weeks” but quickly realized that the rest of the cast was already on to them. Once they’d realized they’d been found out, there was no reason to keep pretending they were still only friends, which seemed to deepen their relationship even further.

Flipping The Board

At the time, Hugh Jackman was entirely unknown to most audiences, and those who did know them were fans from his own country. It was Deborra-lee who was the well-known star, though she wasn’t as well known internationally as Jackson would eventually be. After Correlli wrapped with only one season on the air, Jackman began gaining acclaim for his work on the stage, rather than on the screen, but Furman knew there was more in store for the young heartthrob.

Taking The Good

Correlli might have been a flop as far as TV shows are concerned, given that it only lasted for one season, however, Jackman is eternally grateful that it not only helped launch his career when he was fresh out of drama school, but that it was also instrumental in introducing him to Furness. In fact, Jackman thinks meeting his wife was even better than getting an acting job, saying that she’s the best thing to come out of the show.

Ripped At The Seams

It didn’t necessarily seem likely for Jackman to meet his sole wife so quickly, given that his parents ripped the family apart when he was a child. Though he was born into a religious Christian family, his parents still made the decision to split up. As traumatic as a divorce can be for a child, Jackman’s parents took it one step further by diving up the care of him and his four siblings between the two of them.

A World Apart

At only 8 years old, Jackman didn’t realize that his parents split meant he would find half of his siblings removed from his life in the blink of an eye. Both of his parents had come to Australia from England shortly before his birth, but it seemed Jackman’s mother never got over her nostalgia for her home country. Overnight, she packed up her and her two daughters, and flew back to the UK, only notifying the three boys she left behind by telegram.

Filling The Hole

Jackman recollected about the time of his mother’s departure when he was still a youngster. “At the time,” he told Perth Now, “I was miserable and angry, and my brothers and I used to fight all the time.” Though he shared that his mother said goodbye to him as he left for school, he didn’t realize the significance until he returned home later in the day to find the house empty. No one thought that she had departed for good.

A Waterfall Confession

On an interview with 60 Minutes during his press tour for Les Miserables, Jackman very suddenly found himself spilling all of the details of his heart-wrenching childhood. With tears in his eyes, he confessed, “For many years, I thought it was not going to be forever, so I clung on to that. Up until that age of about 12 or 13, I thought Mum and Dad would get back together. Finally realizing it wasn’t going to happen was probably the roughest time to be honest.”

The Hardest Lessons

While Jackman certainly did not want to emulate his parents split when he came of age, he continued to share that despite the trouble they found themselves embroiled in, he was able to learn a lot from his father, who just as fervently hoped his wife would return as much as his children did. “My father is my rock. It’s where I learned everything about loyalty, dependability, being there day in, day out, no matter what,” he effused.

Equality For All

Jackman’s explains how his parents have influenced the way he treats his costars, even today. “My parents always treated people with great respect. My father never yelled, and I admired that. I also genuinely love the family aspect of what we do, and I feel more comfortable being relaxed and myself with everybody, rather than a feeling of ‘Oh, I’m a big actor; you can’t talk to me.’ My way of connecting — maybe people attribute it as being nice, but it’s just being a normal person.”

Breaking The Cycle

It was important to Hugh that he didn’t repeat the mistakes of his parents as he embarked on his own relationship in his adult years. Through his father’s urgings, he was conscious of balancing his work life with his budding relationship with Deb. The pair decided to tie the knot in April 1996, after Jackman proposed to Deb with a ring he’d designed himself. For their wedding bands, they chose to inscribe each with a Sanskrit phrase meaning,  “we dedicate our union to a greater source.”

Time For Forgiveness

After nearly two decades of marriage, Jackman finally found it in himself to forgive his mother for her abandonment, just in time for her to help the young family. He said of their reunification, “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. You can’t go through life obsessing about what might have been.” At the very least, it seems he was better prepared for the trials to come.

Hoping To Expand

In the years following their marriage, Jackman and Furman found that their bliss would only go so far, as their hopes for starting a family of their own began to diminish. Furman was already in her 40s when she married Jackman, and the pair quickly found themselves struggling with fertility issues. Furman suffered two miscarriages and many rounds of IVF before the pair decided to go with an alternate route in order to build their family.

Another Way

Hugh and Deb decided that the best way for them to have a family if they were unable to have biological children was via adoption. They’ve adopted two kids, daughter Ava, who is now 12, and their son Oscar. Jackman was open about the moment his son was born, explaining that both he and Deborra were in the birth room. Minutes before the baby’s arrival, Jackman asked if he could take a front row seat, which the laboring mother could hardly refuse.

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Though the couple’s struggle with infertility was a tough burden to bear, their decision to adopt brought them far more than just the joy of raising a child. At the time, Jackman had been concentrating on building his stage career, but while he was in LA in order to sign the adoption papers, he happened to go to an audition for a little movie known as X-Men. The movie had already started shooting, so they were delighted to find a last minute replacement for Wolverine.

The Skin Strikes Back

Deborrah’s infertility was not the only health difficulty the couple had to confront over the years. As Jackman was in the early stages of getting his most recent hit film off the ground, he discovered he had a cancerous patch on his nose that needed to be removed immediately. While doctors were able to treat him right away, it would take a toll on his career, as he was required to sing for a movie pitch mere hours after the procedure.

Pushed Aside

As Jackman quickly became a rising star in the early 2000s, following the release of the first X-Men movie, Deborra found that her career began waning. They contemplated the realities of raising children as actors, as well as the best way to try to beat the curse of Hollywood, which allowed Deborra to be  more supportive of her husband’s rise to stardom. One of the downsides of this is that she frequently finds herself shoved aside by fans trying to get a piece of her husband.

Restricting His Costars

In an interview with the Australian iteration of Today in 2015, Furness revealed that there’s one costar she’s told her husband he’s not allowed to work with. That actress would happen to be Angelina Jolie, who notoriously began a relationship with the still-married Brad Pitt. In response, Jackman kidded in a separate interview with Entertainment Tonight that if he’s banned from working with Angelina, than he’ll forbid Deborra from working with Brad Pitt

Battling Barbie

Fans were concerned the long term marriage might be going off the rails when several years ago, a photo surfaced of Jackman in the company of a much younger woman who was clad only in a bikini. The Argentinian tourist photo bombed the star in her quest for her fifteen minutes, as well as a kiss from the star. Luckily for Jackman, Furness paid no mind the machinations of a younger fan, as video footage showed Jackman clearly rebuffing her.

Setting Their Boundaries

The couple credits some of the success of their union to the strict boundaries they set for their relationship when they first got together. Given that acting work often takes actors to far-flung locations for an extended period of time, Deborra and Hugh agreed from the start that they would never be away from each other for longer than two weeks. As Jackman’s career ramped up, that meant Deb had to give up her own opportunities to stay close to Jackman.

Dressing Himself Down

Jackman may be known for his incredible physique, but not everyone in a fan of his super buff bod. Jackman revealed in an interview that Deborrah prefers when he’s less fit. “She’s like ‘I think you’re forgetting the contract of marriage – ultimately everything is about me looking better, so enough with the training.'” he told interviewers. Though the actor has always had an athletic streak, he always takes his training up a notch prior to filming as Wolverine.

Arm In Arm

When the pair first decided to marry, they didn’t just put stipulations on how to manage their dual careers. Jackman and Furness also vowed to travel the world together, a promise that they were keen to keep. In 2009, the two managed to visit Ethiopia, where they experienced firsthand the hardships locals face. The two were inspired to take a more active role in aiding the community of farmers who break their backs in order to provide coffee crops to the world.

Growing Their Impact

In order to make an even bigger splash on the community and stories that touched the so deeply in Ethiopia, the couple established their own brand of coffee, calling Laughing Man. The organization is committed to serving the communities that grow the beloved crop, helping to provide funds for much needed infrastructure, whether it be roads, houses, schools, or simply to aide the farmers with their enterprise. The company itself is doubling its donations this year.

Leading By Example

Jackman explained to Today that their enterprise isn’t simply about quietly giving money, it’s the example they are setting for their kids. “For my kids to see and grow up with this business that is growing, I think they feel like that is going to be something that is going to be their responsibility in future years,” said Jackman. “That is what Deb and I hope they will be proud of and continue. It’s the 2.0 of giving back.”

Looking Rugged

Jackman may have a reputation as a goody two shoes, even if it run contrary to many of the roles he plays, though those transformations may be part of what has helped keep the spark alive between him and Furness for all these years. Jackman shared despite his better nature, Furness really prefers when he’s done up like a bad boy, which was his consistent costume when they first met all those

Wolf In Sheets Clothing

Furness may not be so fond of Jackman’s buff physique, but she doesn’t mind playing around with the costume when the two are at home. Jackman shared that he wore his claws frequently in order to get used to them in the early days of Wolverine. He joked that he and Deb went through a lot of sheets during that time. He added that she would always tell him to do something more useful with the extra appendages.

Giving Her Blessing

One of the other rules the couple made when they first embarked on a partnership was not working at the same time if they didn’t have to. Deb could see that her husband had both talent and ambition, even if he wasn’t so sure of his future success himself. Jackman told Independent, “From the beginning [Deb] said, ‘I know where you’re going.’ There is a power in dreams. I’ve worked hard but, somehow, the one who did all the dreaming was her.”

Flashing Their Sign

Jackman finds it important to keep things interesting in the relationship, and constantly has romantic little surprises for his wife, whether it be coming home early and taking her to lunch or always acknowledging her at awards shows. “Every time I go out on stage,” he said,”if I go to an awards ceremony, or if I present the Oscars, I put my hand on my heart and I look for her in the crowd. That’s my way of thanking her because, for me, that’s what really matters.”

Sneaking A Song

Jackman’s humility extends beyond how he treats his wife and family. Even as a megastar, he relishes the small moments of his career, showing that for him, performing really is about so much more than just a paycheck. During a recent sing a long showing of his latest movie, The Greatest Showman, Jackman tried to sneak in, just to sing along with the other fans. To his dismay, his cover was blown far too quickly, though many were glad to see how down to earth he is.

The Big Two Two

On the occasion of their twenty second wedding anniversary, Jackman penned a heartfelt message to Deborrah on his social media accounts. “I believe in life we need to see and truly be seen by the most important people in our lives,” he wrote. “Deb, from day one, we had that. 22 years later… it only gets deeper. You and the kids are the greatest gift I will ever receive. I love you a gazillion times around the world.”

The Secret Ingredient

Jackman explained to Today that for all of their stipulations with regards to their careers and family life, there was one thing that helped make their marriage as strong as it still is. “You have got to find the right person,” he said. “It’s powerful but simple.” He continued on that even more importantly, you have to be able to be yourself with your partner as quickly as possible, so you both know that what you see is what you get.

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