Who Is Hugh Jackman's Ex-Wife, Deborra-lee Furness?

She was married to the actor for 27 years.

Australian actor Hugh Jackman and his wife Australian director Deborra-Lee Furness attend "The Son" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 07, 2022 in Venice, Italy
(Image credit: Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-lee Jackman, née Furness, have had one of the longest-standing marriages in Hollywood. So it shocked fans when People reported Friday that the couple are amicably ending their 27-year union, with the pair making a joint statement asking for privacy as their family "navigates this transition in all of our lives." The pair first met in 1995 and have gone on to become one of Hollywood's most beloved celeb couples, as Jackman's star rose through his iconic roles on the stage and screen. Meanwhile, Furness has seen success in her own career as an actress, producer, and director in Australia. Here's a primer on Furness and the couple's history.

Who is Hugh Jackman's wife?

Debora-lee Furness, 67, hails from southeastern Australia and rose to fame in her native country for her award-winning performance in the 1988 film Shame. She's since appeared primarily in Australian productions, including the 1995 TV miniseries Corelli, where she first met Jackman. In addition to her acting, she has directed episodes of the long-running Aussie soap Neighbours. Prior to studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC, she worked as a researcher and on-air reporter for Melbourne's Channel 9 news station.

Furness—who adopted her two children with Jackman—is co-founder of the nonprofit Hopeland, which works to prevent parent-child separation and support children growing up outside of family care. The women's and children's rights advocate is also one of the creators of Australia's National Adoption Awareness Week, and she started the Jackman Furness Foundation for the Performing Arts, which supports art students and emerging performing artists. Her advocacy was recognized in 2014 when she was named NSW Australian of the Year.

How long have Jackson and Furness been together?

The two actors first met on the set of Corelli in 1995, when Jackman was just out of drama school and Furness was already an established star. In a 2017 interview with People, The Wolverine star said that upon meeting his future wife, he immediately thought, "I like this girl." He added that the two became friends before he realized he had a crush, and six weeks after meeting, they began dating.

Jackman eventually proposed just four months into their relationship, and they were married on April 11, 1996, at a church outside of Melbourne, Australia. At the time of their wedding, Jackman was 27 and Furness was 40, so the couple quickly began trying to have children. The actor told People that after multiple attempts at in-vitro fertilization, the couple decided to adopt. "I remember saying to her, 'We were always going to adopt — let’s just adopt now,'" he told the outlet. They adopted their son Oscar, now 23, in 2000, and their daughter Ava, now 18, in 2005.

Over the years, the couple has often supported each other publicly, walking red carpets together in addition to working on charitable causes. At the 2012 Tony Awards, Furness surprised Jackman by presenting him a special award for his work on Broadway, where the actor thanked her in his speech saying, "I love you with all my heart. I know how much you hate public speaking. This is probably the greatest thing you've ever done for me." More recently, the pair attended the 2023 Met Gala together in May, and they were also spotted in the stands of the Wimbledon men's finals in July.

Jackman has also shared touching tributes on Instagram for the pair's previous wedding anniversaries, some of which have included pictures from their 1996 wedding. In April, he shared a touching message for their 27th anniversary, writing, "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."

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.