7 Things You Didn’t Know About Hugh Jackman

Of all the interviews Oprah has had with the Aussie actor, she says, the conversation has never turned quite this personal. From childhood to marriage, Hugh Jackman opens up about everything.


1. He secretly likes working out.

To prepare for his latest X-Men role as Wolverine (his sixth time as the popular hero), Hugh got back into fighting shape by hitting the gym for three hours a day and eating lean meals every two hours. The 6’2″ actor can now bench-press over 300 pounds—and once even leg-pressed a staggering 1,000 pounds.

The real secret to that chiseled physique? Hugh admits he truly enjoys working out. “I’m someone who likes routine and discipline. I kind of revel when I’ve got a structure.”


2. He won’t hide from paparazzi.

When Hugh, his wife and two children moved from Australia to New York in 2009, their lives instantly became more public. Though the paparazzi seem to follow his every move, Hugh says it doesn’t stop him from living his life.

“If you’re going to take photos, take photos. They’re not going to be sensational,” he says. “I’m not going to be out dating this person and that person and getting drunk and swearing and giving you the middle finger. I’m just going to live a normal life, as much as possible.”


3. He remembers the day his mother abandoned his family.

The youngest of five children, Hugh was raised in Sydney, Australia. When he was 8 years old, his mother unexpectedly walked out on the family and returned to her home country, England. Hugh can recall saying goodbye to her before school and returning to an empty house. “When I got home, I knew that Mom had left,” he says. “I just had a funny feeling in the house.”

Today, Hugh says he’s forgiven his mother, and they have a good relationship. “She had very severe postnatal depression after I was born that played into it. I think sometimes life gets to be too much for people.”


4. He was a “fearful kid.”

From performing on Broadway to zip-lining from the top of the Sydney Opera House, Hugh’s done it all. However, as confident and daring as he is today, he says it’s taken work to get to this point. “I hate being afraid. I was a very fearful kid. I was afraid of the dark. I was afraid of heights.”

It was his friend Tony Robbins, the life coach and motivational speaker, who helped him turn his fears into motivation. “He said, ‘You cannot get rid of those nerves,'” Hugh says. “‘That fear drives you. Without that fear, you would not be here today.'”


5. His wife used to be more famous than he was.

Hugh was just 26 years old when he met Deborra-Lee Furness on the set of his first job, an Australian TV show called Correlli. “When I first met her, Deb had done 25 films,” Hugh says. “It was my first job, and she was the star of it.”

The two married a year later and have been going strong for 17 years—though Hugh says dealing with fame does take its toll. “It can be difficult sometimes,” he says. “She’ll call it the chopped liver syndrome. I’ve literally seen her knocked away, people trying to push her aside.”


6. His wife can still surprise him.

Though she usually can’t keep a secret, Hugh fondly remembers when his wife, Deborra, surprised him at the Tony Awards in 2012. He had no idea she would be onstage presenting an award honoring Hugh’s Broadway career and humanitarian work. “It was amazing,” Hugh says.

Though Deborra says she was terrified to go onstage, Hugh attests she’s the charismatic one in the family. “I have become infinitely more confident, infinitely braver and more within myself from being with Deb,” he says. “She trusts herself implicitly. She is fearless about everything she does in life. She doesn’t care what other people think. It is a compulsion for her to act from her heart.”


7. His abs of steel are not Photoshopped!

The question had to be asked: Were there any digital enhancements made to Hugh’s Wolverine physique? “No, I wish,” he says. “In fact, when I look back, why didn’t I just eat pizza, drink beer and ask for Photoshopping? Surely you can do that!”

Oprah got all the proof she needed. “The abs are real!” she says.

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