The Story of Hugh Jackman Proving He’s Got a Heart the Size of Hollywood

We all know Hugh Jackman as the strong and brave Wolverine. It’s hard to imagine that such a successful actor might have had some difficulties on his path. In fact, he had to go through a lot: a tough break-up and reconciliation with mom, failed IVF attempts, and adoption of children.

We at CHEERY found the actor’s biography very interesting, and we found out which life events made him a stronger person and what he is like in his everyday life.

Tough childhood.

  • The future actor didn’t have an easy childhood. His mother abandoned him when he was just 8 years old. At the end of the 70s, Grace left the family without saying goodbye. She returned to her homeland, England, and took sisters Zoe and Sonya with her. And her husband Christopher Jackman was left alone in Australia raising Hugh and his brothers Ian and Ralph.
  • “At the time, it was difficult. 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... Realizing it wasn’t going to happen was probably the toughest time, to be honest,” the actor shared.

Career dreams.

  • When he was a child, Hugh loved nature and spent a lot of time camping. His childhood dream was to see the entire world working as a chef on a plane, “I’d been on a plane and there was food on board, I presumed there was a chef. I thought that would be an ideal job.”
  • But when he was in school, he started showing some acting talent. For example, he played the main role in a school play, My Fair Lady.
  • He also liked sports in school: in senior years, he played rugby and cricket, took part in high jumping and was on the swimming team. He also liked football, basketball, and kayaking.
  • After he finished school, he took a gap year to travel and work. He went to England and was hired to work at Uppingham School in England as a Physical Education teacher. He also coached sports teams. And he once gave an interview to his ex-student.
  • His job was also teaching first-years English. He laughed, “An 18-year-old Aussie teaching English to a bunch of English kids. I thought, if that was my school fees, I’d be pretty annoyed.” But he probably underestimated his abilities. His older colleague Richard Boston remembers Jackman as an amazing person and great teacher.
  • Upon his return to Australia, Jackman entered University of Technology in Sydney, where he studied journalism. He graduated in 1991 with a BA in Communications. He got an acting education only later.

Love like in the movies.

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  • Hugh Jackman met his future wife, actress Deborra-Lee Furness, when he was doing his first big project. In 1995, they were in a 10-episode drama Correlli together. Jackman played a character, Kevin Jones, that constantly flirted with his therapist, portrayed by his future wife. Jackman’s and Furness’ romance bloomed on the screen, and in real life.
  • Deborra told that she had dated many actors before Hugh. But he was the most unusual man she had ever met, “I believe that we do have, you know, soul mates or partners in this life and when I met Hugh there was just a click, and it wasn’t, you know, love at first sight. I looked at him then and thought this man will be in my life as a friend, and then it developed into something else.”
  • Hugh Jackman didn’t only propose to Deborra in a beautiful fashion, but also developed the design of the wedding rings. Furness told that Hugh was really nervous because he didn’t know anything about jewelry. “He spent 1 and a half hours telling my poor jeweller about every nuance of my personality.” Together, they managed to translate the ideas into a diamond ring and wrote “Om paramar to the mainamar”, which is “we dedicate our union to a greater source.”

Long-awaited children.

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  • When they got married in 1996, Hugh was 27, and Deb was 40. They wanted to have kids as soon as possible, but all the IVF attempts were unsuccessful. “Because of her age, we started trying straight away when we were together,” he said. “We struggled, we did IVF—it was not easy. But it’s very, very rarely talked about. It’s almost secretive, so I hope Deb doesn’t mind me bringing it up now.”
  • Finally, they decided to adopt. He says, “I remember saying to her, ‘We were always going to adopt — let’s just adopt now’.” And they had to do it in the US, not in Australia where the laws are very strict. There, they met a pregnant woman that was giving her child for adoption.
  • In 2000, biological mother gave Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness their first child. The couple remembers it as the best event in their lives. Hugh and Deb were so grateful that they continued to support the woman, because it was her 4th child.
  • They were thinking of naming the son Baltazar, but Hugh thought that the boy would have a very hard time at school.
  • 5 years later, they adopted a girl that they named Ava Eliot. The son is 21 and the daughter is 16 now.

The path of Wolverine.

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  • Hugh Jackman started doing X-Men in 2000. After all these years, it’s impossible to imagine Wolverine portrayed by anyone else. But he didn’t get this part right away. His close friend Russel Crowe helped him get it. He was also a candidate for the role, but turned it down, and he helped discover Jackman’s talent.
  • But he didn’t get his first Oscar nomination for the role of Wolverine. It was for his role in Les Misérables. This epic musical is really different from X-Men. Jackman portrayed Jean Valjean. For the role, he first lost 15 pounds and later regained 30 pounds to mirror his character’s success.
  • Hugh Jackman thinks that Tom Hardy could continue playing Wolverine. Hugh was Wolverine for 17 years, and after Logan, he decided to leave this role. The studio is thinking about sequels, and maybe they will listen to Hugh’s casting opinion.

Helping everyone.

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  • Hugh Jackman is an active philanthropist. He invests a lot of money into fighting diseases, narrates documentaries, and organizes presentations.
  • Once, during his visit to Ethiopia, he met a farmer named Dukale and his family. The meeting inspired him to start a Laughing Man Foundation. The charity organization supports coffee manufacturers, and all the raised money supports educational programs, community development, and social entrepreneurs around the world.


  • Hugh Jackman’s family story got a happy ending after all. In 2011, he said he had finally made peace with his mother. Years later, he realized she had been suffering from postpartum depression, and he was able to forgive her, “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 realize that as parents we make mistakes.”

A new beginning.

  • Hugh Jackman keeps teasing fans who believe he will return to the role of Wolverine. It seems that he’s not seriously considering it. He’s got new interests now.
  • He decided to make music. In 2019, Jackman went on his first world tour named The Man. The Music. The Show where he sang songs from his own album and hits from Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies.
  • His acting career is now also connected with music. In 2022, he portrayed Harold Hill in a new version of the Broadway musical The Music Man. The actor got a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
  • Hugh Jackman was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for “eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed actor and performer, and to the global community, particularly as an advocate for poverty eradication.”

What do you love Hugh Jackman for?

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