- Hugh Jackman was married Deborra-Lee Furness for 27 years, having tied the knot in 1996.
- Deborra-Lee is an actor best known for her work in 1998’s Shame and 2016’s Hyde & Seek.
- Deborra-Lee and Hugh have two adopted children together.
- Deborra-Lee and Hugh announced their split on September 15.
Hugh Jackman, 54, and Deborra-Lee Furness, 67, shared the surprising news that they are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage on September 15. “Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth. Our family has been and always will be our highest priority,” they said in a statement to PEOPLE. Hugh and Deborra were married since 1996 and have two adopted children together.
Five months before they announced their split, Hugh and Deborra commemorated their 27th wedding anniversary. The beloved actor and Deborra stayed married for almost three decades and stood by each other through personal and professional challenges, including a 13-year-age gap.
So, who is Deobrra-Lee Furness? And how did this love story start — and ultimately end? Learn more about Hugh Jackman’s estranged wife below.
Who Is Deborra-Lee Furness?While Hugh was marquee name of the former A-list couple, Deborra-Lee is just as talented and widely respected as her husband. Deborra-Lee was born on November 30, 1955 in Annadale, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. She was raised in Melbourne, Victoria. Like her husband, Deborra-Lee showed a great aptitude for performance and subsequently studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Throughout the ’80s, the actress starrseveralber of films and TV series, including the 1988 film Shame, for which she earned accolades from critics and won a slew of honors and awards. In 1995, Deborra-Lee met Hugh on the set of the TV series Correlli, for which she appeared in five episodes. Roughly one year later, Hugh and Deborra-Lee wed on April 11, 1996.
The couple was eager to start a family but suffered tragic losses. Deborra-Lee experienced two miscarriages, and the couple subsequently made the decision to adopt. Hugh and Deborra-Lee adopted a son Oscar Maximilian Jackman, born in May 2000, and a daughter, Ava Eliot Jackman, born in 2005.
“It’s so interesting being a parent, and they’ve both made me smarter than I think I ever could have been on my own,” Deborra-Lee shared with People in November 2020. “But when you’re a parent, you can’t lie to them or yourself. They will shine a light on every one of your flaws, your Achilles’ heel, whatever. You’ve got to look at yourself.”
Hugh Jackman’s Past RelationshipsLittle is known about Hugh’s past relationships prior to Deborra-Lee. However, the couple has had to wade through speculation about Hugh’s sexuality for years. “I see these magazines. They’re so mean-spirited. So mean-spirited. I hope people don’t buy these magazines and realize it’s all made up,” Deborra-Lee said on the September 29 episode of the Australian TV show Anh’s Brush with Fame, referencing tabloid rumors about Hugh’s sexuality. “It’s just wrong. It’s like someone saying to Elton John, ‘He’s straight.’ I’m sure he’d be pissed.” Fortunately, Deborra-Lee has found a way to maintain some good humor about the longstanding speculation, saying, “He’s been gay so many years, I was gay, too.”
Hugh Jackman & Deborra-Lee Furness’ MarriageHugh loved to gush about his wife and sometimes recounted the story of how he fell in love with her. “I knew two weeks into meeting Deb that we were going to be together for the rest of our lives,” he said during an interview with Today in 2018. “In the end, what do you want from your life partner? You want to be fully seen and you want to be able to fully see them for exactly who (they) really are. And Deb and I had that from the beginning.”
He went on to say, that, “When you’re dating, you literally put on the best version of yourself. When you get on the dance floor, you’re like, all right, I am pulling out my best moves here, I am doing my best lines, I have got my best clothes on. How do you transition from that person to actually truly being yourself? The tracksuit-pant version of yourself…. Until you feel that comfortable with your partner, you don’t really know if you’re right together. So literally from day one, Deb and I had that feeling.”
On their landmark 25th anniversary, Hugh took to Instagram and dedicated a beautiful post to Deborra. “Being married to you Deb is as natural as breathing,” Hugh began the caption to his post, which featured a series of photos from the couple’s wedding day on April 11, 1996. “From nearly the moment we met … I knew our destiny was to be together. In our 25 years – our love has only grown deeper. The fun, excitement and adventure more exhilarating; the learning even greater. I’m forever grateful to share our love, our life – and, our family together. We’ve only just begun. Deb, I love you with all my heart!”
Sadly, Hugh and Deborra announced they were separating on September 15. “We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage,” they said in a joint statement. “We undertake this next chapter with gratitude, love, and kindness. We greatly appreciate your understanding in respecting our privacy as our family navigates this transition in all of our lives.” They ended their statement by writing, “This is the sole statement either of us will make.”