The pair, married since 1995, probably wouldn’t have met if not for a class he took in college that started his road to superstardom.
Born in Australia in 1968, Jackman wasn’t into acting as a child, though he did appear in a stage production of “My Fair Lady” in high school. In college, he studied communications, but in his last year he took an acting class merely to get enough credits for graduation. But that class, which included Jackman snagging the lead in a play, influenced him to become a full-time actor.
Meanwhile, Furness, also an Australia native who was born in 1955, saw her future earlier, and headed to New York, where she graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York in 1981.
Her career was in full swing when she took a role in the 1995 Australian TV series, Correlli. It was on that show where Jackman got his first break—and fell in love.
“When I met Deb, I don’t know what it was. It was the clearest thing in the world for me,” Jackman told Katie Couric last year on her talk show Katie. “I knew 100 percent … I’ve never known anything as confidently or sure in my life that she was the one I was going to be with … Whatever happens I know we’re going to tackle it together. Truly she’s the greatest woman I have ever met.”
Fate almost lost out to Furness’ rules for dating, which she made the year she and Jackman met. She promised herself not to date any more actors, or to date anyone younger than 30.
“That was my New Year’s Resolution, and then I meet this man who was under 30 and was an actor but was the most extraordinary man I’d ever met,” she told Andrew Denton in 2004 on his talk show Enough Rope. “I believe that we do have soul mates or partners in this life, and when I met Hugh there was just a click … I looked at him then and thought this man will be in my life as a friend, and then it developed into something else.”
A year after meeting the two were married. Some tough times followed, however, as Furness suffered two miscarriages. The pair, determined to be parents, adopted two children, Oscar Maximillian, born in 2000, and Ava Eliot, who was born five years later.
Though Furness works less these days, spending more time on charitable work, Jackman continues a breakneck schedule. His latest turn as superhero Wolverine in the next X-Men: Days of Future Past movie comes out this week. Still, he considers Furness and their children his top priority.
When he won the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Golden Globe for Les Misérables, he thanked Furness for convincing him not to drop out of the movie after a hard day of rehearsal.
“I really thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew,” he told the audience of millions watching the ceremony. “My wife talked me off that cliff like she talks me most days. Baby, I’m going to say it now in front of the entire world. Baby, thank you for always being right.”