Hugh Jackman’s Mom Abandoned Him When He Was 8, But Now He Forgives and Understands Her

2 years ago

Hugh Jackman is an amazing actor, who has been captivating us for more than 2 decades. A successful actor, dancer, and producer, he even worked as a physical education teacher before becoming famous. In 2015, he touched our hearts when he revealed feeling like a “fearful kid who felt powerless” after his mother abandoned their family.

Last year he shared a photo that is worth a thousand words on their present relationship. We at Bright Side were so touched, we decided to tell this true story with all the details.

How it started

Hugh was just 8 years old when his mother, Grace McNeil, left Australia, leaving her family behind. In a 2015 interview, he opened up about it and confessed that he used to be the first one to get home after school and felt frightened to go inside alone on his own. That fear mutated into anger as he got older, even helping him to build Wolverine’s character, according to the actor.

Although, as an adult, Hugh Jackman assumed he had found his peace with his parents many years ago, the young Hugh went through a lot.

Why she left

His father, Christopher, and his mother, Grace, had immigrated to Australia to build their family. Having had some disagreements, the differences between the couple escalated and they ended up getting a divorce. On top of that, Grace had been going through some other issues herself.

Having 5 kids, she struggled with post-natal depression, and being in a foreign country, decided to go back home to England for her support network. Another important reason for her departure, as noted in one interview, had been the fact that her own mother was very ill in England.

How Hugh felt

When leaving, she took Hugh’s 2 older sisters with her, leaving him and his 2 brothers with their father. For many years Hugh believed their parents would get back together, and that she would come back home. By the time he was 12/13 years old, realizing that would not happen really triggered him.

He would then use rugby to let his anger out, and he admitted having a lot of limiting fears, like fear of the dark, or fear of heights, that made him feel powerless. His anger was the consequence of dealing with that. He actually used that feeling of rage during the games to connect deeply with his mutant character Wolverine — a loner with a really bad temper.

How he overcame it

Hugh stated in an interview that despite his sadness, fears, or anger, he always felt loved: “The thing I never felt, and I know this might sound strange, I never felt that my mom didn’t love me.” The actor admits he “was always quite connected” with her, maintaining a good relationship.

That, having had a loving father that he considers an “extraordinarily selfless, amazing man,” and now with his own kids and a stable family, added for him another level of empathy for his mother.

And finally, forgiveness

Having maintained a relationship with his mother, it wasn’t until 2012, Hugh shares, that he chose forgiveness. The actor said in an interview, that one can’t “go through life obsessing about what might have been,” and that they spoke at length about her struggles. At 43 years old, he accepted they had found their peace.

However, and despite seeing each other 3 to 4 times a year and having appeared together sometimes, it wasn’t until 2021 that the actor would share in his feed a heartwarming photo of both of them, sweetly hugging, with the simple, loud, and clear self-explanatory caption: “Mum”.

Now working on family

Having forgiven his mother, she became an important part of his, and his family’s, life. That means that now she gets to share time with her son, and also be a part of her grandchildren’s lives. Hugh Jackman and his wife of 25, Deborra-Lee Furness, have 2 kids, Oscar and Ava.

Sometimes he shares a photo of them cooking together, or just laughing. In 2021, for Mother’s Day, Hugh wished her a happy Mother’s Day by sharing a book of handwritten recipes she gave him on Twitter. And on November 12th, for her birthday, he shared photos of them laughing and hugging on Instagram, with the caption “Happy birthday Mum!”.

Throughout the years, Hugh held on to some precious things his mother shared with him. Like: “I always remember her saying; ’Everyone needs to feel appreciated. It doesn’t matter what they do, it doesn’t matter who they are, that’s a need in everybody.’”

It might be easier to remember Hugh from movies such as The Wolverine, Les Miserables, or Kate & Leopold (just to mention a few). But this is yet another story, this time a real one, that has left an imprint on our hearts.

Have you ever seen Hugh Jackman tap-dance? Better yet, do you have a favorite Hugh Jackman movie? Which one?


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