After 27 years together as one of Hollywood’s most sturdy couples, Hugh Jackman, 54, and Deborra-Lee Furness, 67, have announced their decision to split.
The news comes as a shock to fans around the world after the pair’s numerous public comments about their love for each other over the years.
However, Friday saw the couple release a statement to People which stated: ‘We have been blessed to share almost three 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.’
Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness have ended their marriage after almost three decades together. Last pictured together in July 2023
The news comes as a shock to fans around the world after the pair’s numerous public comments about their love for each other since tying the knot in 1996
The statement continued: ‘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.’
The former couple signed the note as ‘Deb and Hugh Jackman,’ adding: ‘This is the sole statement either of us will make.’
The Australian pair share two children together – Oscar, 23, and Ava, 18 – and had publicly celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary on April 2023.
The actor is undoubtedly more well known than his wife these days but when they first met, Deborra-Lee had already shot 20 movies and was a bigger name in Australia.
The pair first connected while costarring as a prison psychologist and a brain-damaged convict in ABC TV’s 10-episode series Correlli in 1995.
Hugh and Deborra-Lee had famously claimed that they’d never spent more than two weeks apart since their wedding, just one year after they fell in love.
Here, FEMAIL looks back the couple’s whirlwind romance, fertility struggles and how they powered through cancer scares before ultimately calling it quits.
How Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness met as costars on set before their whirlwind marriage in 1996
Deborra-Lee had already shot 20 movies by the time she and Hugh met while costarring as a prison psychologist and a brain-damaged convict in ABC’s 10-episode series Correlli in 1995
The Australian blonde is 13 years older Hugh, but the age difference didn’t stop the pair from finding love
The couple met on the set of Australian TV drama Correlli in 1995 when Hugh was fresh out of acting school.
At 13 years older than Hugh, Deborra-Lee had already made a name for herself in the industry, having shot 20 movies by the time they met.
Although the show only lasted for one season, Hugh has said that being introduced to Deborra-Lee was the ‘greatest thing to come out of it.’
Speaking about the start of their romance in 2015, the actor admitted he had felt ’embarrassed’ by the cliché of falling in love with his colleague.
He stated: ‘We got on well with each other from the start. And it was a situation where it seemed so ridiculous and clichéd and embarrassing and infantile, the whole thing where this was my first big acting job and here I am falling in love with the leading lady.’
The actor told Psychologies: ‘Meeting Deb has been a blessing. We have a beautiful life together… This wouldn’t mean very much if I couldn’t share it with Deb and the kids.
The couple married in 1996. Pictured on their wedding day in Melbourne, Australia
The actor previously claimed that he knew he was going to spend the rest of his life with the actress after just two weeks of knowing her. Pictured on their wedding day
‘My father taught me that your family is your bedrock and you should always make that your priority. That lesson has never been lost on me.’
The actor also claimed that he knew he was going to spend the rest of his life with his beloved after just two weeks of knowing her.
The couple married in Melbourne in 1996 and, after struggling with infertility, adopted their children, Oscar and Ava, in the early 2000s.
Back in 2019, Hugh revealed a pact he made with his wife before they had children.
In an extract from The Father Hood: Inspiration For The New Dad Generation, published by WHO magazine, he explained: ‘Before we had kids, Deb and I made a pretty simple but powerful choice to look each other in the eye at every crossroads in life. Those crossroads are sometimes big, sometimes they’re small, sometimes you don’t even realize they’re crossroads until you look back.
‘But at those moments, we said we’d ask each other, “Is this good or bad for our marriage?” Or, now that we’ve got kids, “Is this good or bad for our family?” And as often as possible, we do the thing that is good for our family.’
Hugh Jackman’s skin cancer scare: Deborra-Lee pushed for her partner to get checked out – which led to the discovery of multiple carcinomas
Hugh has famously battled several skin cancer scares after Deborra-Lee first noticed something was wrong in 2013
The actor has had multiple growths of basal cell Carcinoma – the most common form of skin cancer – removed from his face in the years that have passed
In 2013, Hugh revealed that he has been treated for skin cancer.
The actor broke the news on his official Instagram account, revealing that wife Deborra-Lee had urged him to see a doctor about a growth on his nose.
At the time, Page Six reported that the actor was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, that can often appear as a red or pale lump.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and, according to the American Cancer Society, the most common form of cancer in humans.
It’s a slow growing cancer and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It develops on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, mainly on the face and neck.
About half of those diagnosed with a basal cell skin cancer will develop a new skin cancer within five years.
Urging his fans to take the same action should they have any similar concerns, he said: ‘Please don’t be foolish like me. Get yourself checked!’.
The actor – who posted a picture of himself with a plaster on his nose from where the growth had been removed – added: ‘And USE sunscreen!!!’.
The star continues to inform his fans of his health status, while urging them to wear SPF at all times
By 2016, he had undergone five skin cancer removal procedures in two years, as doctors continued to take out the basal cell growths from his face.
At the time, he revealed that he gets his skin checked every three months, stating: ‘I’m realistic about the future and it’s more than likely that I’ll have at least one more but probably many more, which is not uncommon for an Aussie particularly from English stock growing up in Australia where I don’t remember ever being told to put sunscreen on.’
He added that he is trying hard to stay positive about his health and said: ‘The beauty of this is it’s all preventable. It’s just about getting proper check-ups. I can be a typical man, I couldn’t be bothered, and now I’m not lazy at all.’
As recently as April 2023, the actor shared a positive update on his latest skin cancer scare.
The star undergone two biopsies after his doctor noticed ‘little things’ that could potentially be basal cell carcinoma. However, the biopsies had returned with a negative result.
The Golden Globe winner also thanked fans and media for spreading awareness.
He reminded fans to be sun safe and ‘wear sunscreen with a high SPF’ regardless of the season.
Hugh and Deborra -Lee adopted their two kids after she suffered from ‘a couple’ of ‘difficult’ miscarriages – and the actor has admitted their ‘very different ideas about being parents’ made things tough
Hugh and Deborra -Lee knew that they wanted to have kids together from early on
In 2000, the couple adopted son Oscar Maximilian, now 23, and, in 2005, they adopted now 18-year-old daughter Ava Eliot
Hugh and Deborra-Lee knew that they wanted to have kids together from early on, and because they married when the Australian actress was already 40 years old, he said they started trying ‘straight away.’
But unfortunately, they struggled to conceive and suffered from a couple of devastating miscarriages.
‘Because of her age, we started [trying] straightaway when we [got] together,’ he previously explained during an appearance on The Jess Cagle Interview.
‘We struggled, a couple miscarriages, [in vitro fertilization] – it was not easy. It was difficult, obviously particularly on Deb.’
Hugh explained that they ‘always wanted to adopt,’ so after IVF failed, they realized it was the right path for them.
‘I remember saying to her, “We always wanted to adopt – let’s just adopt now,”‘ he continued.
The former couple felt it was important to adopt a ‘mixed-raced’ baby, with Jackman adding: ‘Our motivation behind adopting was, “Where is the need?”
‘We just knew from talking with people in that space, when we were looking around, that the biggest need is in mixed-race kids.
‘A lot of people go into [adoption thinking] it’s really important to them for the kid to look like them, and honestly, for Deb and I, that just never even was an issue.
‘I want to tell my kids, “Your personality is interesting and it in some ways very much defines you. The color of your skin, whether you’re a male, whether you’re a female, that’s not who you really are. What really defines you is beneath all that.”‘
They struggled to conceive and suffered from a couple of devastating miscarriages before making the decision to adopt
Hugh and Deborra-Lee adopted their son, Oscar, in 2000, followed by their daughter, Ava, in 2005.
The actor later said that the ‘moment’ that they brought Oscar into their family, ‘all the heartache’ that they had endured from the miscarriages ‘melted away.’
‘Many of you are parents, you guys know, you can’t prepare for that moment. Nothing can prepare you,’ he said of becoming a father during a a sit-down with Katie Couric in 2012.
‘You can’t even explain how incredible it is and that avalanche of emotion that comes and how it opens up your heart, how it frustrates you, how it angers you, how everything is just… all the sudden how alive you are as a parent.’
He added to Herald Sun: ‘I don’t think of them as adopted – they’re our children.
‘We feel things happened the way they are meant to. Obviously, biologically wasn’t the way we were meant to have children.’
But Hugh has admitted that his and Deborah’s ‘very different ideas about being parents’ made the process difficult for them at times.
‘You fall in love with someone and you work out your relationship, it’s great. All of a sudden, we had kids,’ he admitted in an interview earlier this year.
‘The way I was parented, the way she was parented… all of a sudden… whoosh! And it wasn’t just Deb and I, it was somehow our pasts coming together.
‘We had really different ideas about being a parent. And we never really pre-discussed it. We just assumed: we love each other, we don’t argue, that’s going to be fine.’
In addition, raising two kids in the spotlight hasn’t always been easy for the couple, and Hugh previously spoke about the one lesson he tried to instill in his two kids during a Q&A at a The Wolverine screening in 2013.
‘I constantly try to remind them of what’s real. The things that last forever are real – your family, your friends. That stuff. Fame will come and go,’ he said.
‘The paparazzi, one day, will not be there. You have a choice, as you grow up, to have a private life, or have a public life.
‘I try do my best to protect their private life, until they’re 18 and can make their own choice.’
Split in 2023: The couple announced they were splitting after 27 years of marriage – a year after Hugh revealed they do ‘everything together’
The couple seemed as happy as could be together just months before their split. Pictured in April 2023
When they celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary back in April, the actor shared a gushing tribute to his wife
Hugh and Deborra-Lee announced that they were ending their marriage after 27 years together on Friday.
‘We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage,’ they said in a statement to People magazine.
‘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. 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.’
And while Hugh was honest about their contrasting stances on parenting in the past, they seemed as happy as could be together just months before the split.
When they celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary back in April, the actor shared a gushing tribute to his wife.
‘I love you Deb. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. 27 years! I love you so much,’ he wrote.
In 2017, Hugh claimed that they had never spent more than ‘two weeks apart’ throughout their 27-year marriage
‘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.’
And two months before that, he opened up about what he thought the secret to a successful relationship was to Smooth Radio.
‘I think honesty and intimacy and making time [are the secret to a long and happy marriage],’ he told them.
‘You can’t just assume that things will just tick along okay. You have to make time.’
Last year, he also revealed that he and Deborra-Lee do ‘everything together,’ and in 2017, he admitted that they had never spent more than ‘two weeks apart’ throughout their 27-year marriage.
At the time, he said they ‘have shared all of their ups and downs and always will.’
‘I’m married to the greatest woman alive. She’s amazing. We’re best friends,’ he added.