After a year of surprising celebrity breakups, one of Hollywood’s enduring couples is now calling it quits. Hugh Jackman, 54, and wife Deborra-lee Furness, 67, are separating after 27 years of marriage, the duo revealed Friday in a statement to People.
"We have been blessed to share almost 3 decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage. Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth,” the couple, who have a son Oscar, 23, and a daughter Ava, 18, said. "Our family has been and always will be our highest priority. 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."
Here’s what to know about the soon-to-be exes’ relationship.
How did Hugh Jackman meet Deborra-lee Furness?
Though Jackman may be better known in America, the couple actually met in 1995, when Furness — 13 years Jackman’s senior — was the star of the Australian TV series Corelli. Furness portrayed a prison psychologist, and Jackman played a prisoner.
"She was the star, and I had this major crush on her," Jackman told Ellen DeGeneres in 2016. "Everyone did. The whole crew had a crush on her and I was so embarrassed by that."
In a 2017 interview with People, he said that Corelli was his “first job out of drama school” and that he was “really scared.” Then, he met Furness.
“Deb, she was a big star. I get picked up, and Deb is in the front seat of the car,” he continued. “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.’ I remember thinking, ‘I like this girl.'”
Still, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Jackman told the podcast Aussies in Hollywood in 2018 that Furness actually tried to break up with him early on in their relationship.
"I managed to talk her out of it, thank God. I'm a very indecisive person, you know this about me — Deb really knows this about me. I can count on one hand the amount of times in my life anything has felt that clear to me,” he explained.
Furness, who was also a guest on the podcast, said, "I had just made my New Year's resolution. I said, 'I am not dating any actors, and definitely not under 30.’” Clearly, the resolution didn’t work out to well, as she then joked, “Meet my husband."
Their wedding and kids
Jackman and Furness wed in 1996, around two years after they met on the set of Corelli. In 2021, the Bad Education actor shared photos from the special day on Instagram, along with a sweet caption about their marriage.
“Being married to you Deb is as natural as breathing. From nearly the moment we met ... I knew our destiny was to be together. In our 25 years — our love has only grown deeper,” he gushed. “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!”
Jackman and Furness adopted their son, Oscar, in 2000, and while Jackman said their plans were always to build a family through adoption, they shared that Oscar’s adoption came after Deb underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) and experienced a miscarriage.
"Our motivation behind adopting was, 'Where is the need?'" he told People in 2017. "And we just knew from talking with people in that space, when we were looking around, that the biggest need is in mixed-race kids."
In 2005, the couple adopted daughter Ava as an infant as well.
What they’ve said about their marriage throughout the years
When Jackman starred in Broadway’s The Music Man opposite Sutton Foster in 2022, Furness revealed to People that she helped her husband rehearse and run lines that she could perform opposite him “in a pinch.”
“We do everything together,” she said. “I didn’t do the tap dancing.”
That checks out with what Jackman told DeGeneres in 2016, telling the talk show host, “Everything that’s happened in my career and on screen, off screen — we’ve always done it together.”
In 2018, the Wolverine actor spoke to Today about how he and Furness made their marriage last.
“We’re really honest with each other, we talk about everything,” he said. “Deb had a few rules when we met, ‘cause she’d done a few movies. She said we won’t spend more than two weeks apart. We never go to bed on a cross word. Sometimes it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, but we kind of work it out before we go to sleep.”
Furness shut down tabloid rumors that her husband was secretly gay in 2022, telling the Not an Overnight Success podcast, “I mean, hello, guys — if he was gay, he could be gay! He didn’t have to hide in the closet anymore, and he’d be dating Brad Pitt, or whatever. Not that Brad’s gay, but you know what I’m saying! It’s so silly, and then people perpetuate silly things and it’s boring.”
How they gushed over each other on social media
Unlike some private celebrity couples, Jackman often posts about his wife on social media, which includes tributes for Furness’ birthday, as well as their anniversary.
Back in April, he posted a pic of him and the Legend of the Guardians actress on Instagram, writing, “I love you Deb. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. 27 YEARS!! I love you so much. Together we have created a beautiful family. And life. Your laughter, your spirit, generosity, humor, cheekiness, courage and loyalty is an incredible gift to me. I love you with all my heart.”
In December 2022, he also shared a video of him and Furness dancing around the Christmas tree, writing, “Deb & I are dancing into the holidays! Thank you to Mishay and Pedro for the steps and patience.”
A month before, he posted an anniversary photo of the two of them, along with the caption, “Happy birthday to my extraordinary wife. This is the 28th time I’ve celebrated this day with you. You’ve taught me many things, including how to celebrate. Celebrate life, family, friendship and love.Your light and joy lights up all around you! The kids are I bask in that glow every day and today we pray you feel all the love reflected back at you. x I love you.”