Hugh Jackman Opens Up About Being Abandoned By His Mother

Hugh Jackman was only 8 years old when his mother abandoned him, his four siblings, and their father to move back to England. Thirty-five years later, Jackman still remembers that day.

The 44-year-old award-winning actor told Australian Women’s Weekly that, for many years, he thought his parents would get back together. But around 12 or 13, he finally accepted that his mother wasn’t coming back. Even though he said that realization was “probably the toughest time,” he holds no feelings toward his mother, and understands why she left. Jackman said:

“The thing I never felt, and I know this might sound strange, I never felt that my mum didn’t love me. I’ve spoken about it at length with her since and I know she was struggling. She was in the 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.”

Jackman now sees his mother three or four times a year, and has become close to her despite her previous abandonment. He says having children of his own has made him more compassionate. He and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness have two adopted children, 12-year-old Oscar and 7-year-old Ava.

“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.”