Kaiser, Bedhead and I were emailing about this story and I said that my first response was to give eight year-old Hugh Jackman a hug. Then I started to feel creepy, since I want to do more than hug current Hugh Jackman. (Thinking about current Hugh Jackman… that doesn’t make me a creeper!) This is a sad but ultimately heartwarming story of a kid abandoned by his mother when he was just a child, who turned out to be one of the greatest entertainers of his generation, and who ended up adopting children with his loving wife. Yes that sounds hackneyed, but that’s how I feel about Hugh. I put him on a pedestal because he’s such a stand up guy. This story about his childhood, which I’m hearing for the first time, solidifies my opinion of him. Here’s more of what he said:
Hugh Jackman was just eight years old when his mother packed her bags and moved back to England, leaving him and his four siblings alone with their bewildered father in Sydney’s northern suburbs.
It’s been 35 years since that traumatic day, but Hugh, 44, still remembers how confused he was, and how he clung to the hope that his mother would one day return.
“At the time, it was difficult,” he tells the November issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly. “One of the main things I remember is that horrible feeling that people were talking about you and looking at you because it was odd for the mother to leave.
“For many years, I thought it was not going to be forever, so I clung on to that. Up until about the age of 12 or 13, I thought Mum and Dad would get back together.
“Finally realising it wasn’t going to happen was probably the toughest time to be honest.”
Despite his heartache, Hugh says he always felt loved and can understand why his mother decided to leave.
“The thing I never felt, and I know this might sound strange, I never felt that my mum didn’t love me,” he says.
“I’ve spoken about it at length with her since and I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born suffering from post-natal depression.
“And then you add five kids into the mix and the fact she had emigrated from England and there wasn’t a support network for her here, plus the fact that Dad was at work all day — and you realise that as parents we make mistakes.”
Hugh is now close to his mother, and sees her three of four times a year. He and wife Deborra-lee Furness now have two children of their own — Oscar, 12, and Ava, seven, both adopted — and the actor thinks becoming a parent has allowed him to understand his mother better.
“I think having kids of your own just adds another level of empathy and understanding,” he says. “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.
“You can’t go through life obsessing about what might have been — it stops you from being grateful for all the wonderful things you have in your life.”
When I first read this story over on Radar, I was able to feel for Hugh but I didn’t get tears in my eyes until I read his words in the original article. That is a powerful story that’s making me well up. I love Hugh Jackman so much. He’s come to an understanding about why his mother left, and he’s able to appreciate the wonderful life he has now. I hope that he and his wife Deborra stay together forever, and that we don’t hear a whiff of scandal about him ever. This story goes a long way toward explaining why he’s such a devoted family man.
Here’s Hugh in August on the set of Wolverine, with his son, Oscar. Look at those arms! He’s also shown out with his mom in June, shirtless at the beach (!) and with his family at LAX, also in June. Credit: Kadena Press/WENN.com and Carlos Costas, PacificCoastNews.com