Strange things about Hugh Jackman's marriage

There are few actors these days who have a career quite like Australian A-lister Hugh Jackman. Not only is he an action hero and all-around movie star, but he can also sing and dance, even winning a Tony Award for his portrayal of Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz. In addition to his one-of-a-kind resume, Jackman also has a unique marriage to fellow Australian actor Deborra-Lee Furness. Here's a look at how their relationship is out of the ordinary, especially by Hollywood standards.

When they first met, Furness was the big star

Jackman and Furness met in 1995 on the set of the Australian TV show Correlli. Getting hired for the show was Jackman's first big break out of Perth's Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts drama school, but Furness had already done nearly 20 films at that point.

In Correlli, she plays the title role of Louisa Correlli, a prison psychologist, and Jackman portrays Kevin Jones, a tattooed convict who suffered brain damage while in police custody. The show only lasted one season, but it would change their lives forever.

Jackman later told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 2016 that he was glad he met his wife before he became famous "because everything that's happened in my career and on-screen, off-screen, we've always done it together."

They had serious TV chemistry

Despite Jackman's truly tragic haircut back then, he had chemistry with Furness right from the beginning — something producers noticed when they cast him as her love interest.

Jackman told People that he was initially intimidated because "she was a big star." He recalled a moment when he was being picked up on set and she was already in the car. He climbed into the back seat. She was in the front. "She had sunglasses on, and I'll never forget it, she took off her seatbelt and she turned around … and she put out a hand and took off her sunglasses and said, 'Hi, I'm Deborra-Lee Furness. Nice to meet you.'" 

Jackman said he loved that she didn't act like a big star, telling Entertainment Tonight "she was just cool. From then on we were best buds."

Their TV characters had instant heat, as you can see in this clip of their first kiss.

He was embarrassed by his feelings for her

Although Jackman had a "major crush" on Furness right away, cold feet initially prevented him from making the first move. "I was so embarrassed by that I didn't talk to her for about a week," he told DeGeneres.

He fixed things the classic way: by hosting an old-fashioned dinner party. "I invited her over and about 20 other people, and she said, 'What's the matter? Have I annoyed you? You're not talking to me anymore. What have I done wrong?'" With a bit of liquid courage, Jackman finally spilled the beans, telling his future wife, "'Look, I got a crush on you. I'll get over it.'" She said, "Oh, really?" Jackman thought, "Oh, this is bad."

But Furness admitted she had a crush too! 

"So, that was it," Jackman said. The rest, of course, is history.

She's much older than him

In Hollywood, a man being older than a woman in a relationship — even if he's decades older — often doesn't raise an eyebrow. In fact, it feels like the norm, so the fact that Jackman and Furness got together when he was 26 and she was 39 has made their marriage stand out as unusual. Mrs. Jackman is not happy about that.

"I hate all that s**t!," she has said in the past. "I find it so offensive — like he must be a really nice guy 'cos he's married to an older woman? Excuse me! He should be so lucky." 

Preach, lady!

They have to deal with 'chopped liver syndrome'

Although Furness was a much bigger star than Jackman when they met, his fame has long since eclipsed hers, especially in the United States, where she was never well known. He told Oprah Winfrey that his wife refers to the stardom switcheroo as "chopped liver syndrome," noting that he's "literally seen her knocked away, people trying to push her aside."

Furness backed up those claims in a 2011 interview with Page Six, admitting that some of the "Hughophiles" have "almost pummeled" her trying to get to her husband. "Hi, I'm chopped liver," she quipped. "How do you do?"

The gay rumors never seem to end

Throughout his decades-long marriage to Furness, Jackman has been subjected to numerous rumors about his sexuality. In fact, the chatter has been so rampant over the years that the famous couple has been forced to address it on several occasions. 

"It's, to me, not the most interesting thing about a person, anyway," Jackman told Australia's 60 Minutes (via The Huffington Post) in 2013. "I do get frustrated for Deb, cause I see Deb go, 'Ah, this is just crazy!'"

Furness has called the rumors offensive. "If he was gay, fine, he would say he's gay," she said. "It's annoying because it's not true."

Jackman also addressed the speculation in an interview with Good Housekeeping, admitting (via People), "I don't really pay attention [to it]. If someone's going to spend their time saying, 'You're really not 6′ 2′; you're 5′ 10,' I'll tell them once, 'I am 6′ 2'. Then, whatever you want to believe, it's up to you. We really only get mad when there's an element of truth, right?"

He dresses up like Wolverine in the bedroom

Even though it's still hard to figure out whether he was serious or not, Jackman admitted in 2013 that he sometimes dresses up as his popular X-Men character Wolverine while he and Furness are getting it on in the bedroom. "The sheets we go through…" Jackman said (via Us Weekly). Furness chimed in, "Oh my God, it's dreadful! Always with the claws. I'm like, 'Mix the salad. Put them to use, come on!" 

Jackman has discussed his wife's affinity for his roles in the past. "She kind of likes the bad boys and she doesn't like the fact she married a guy who was the school captain. That's not the image she likes," he said in a 2013 interview with The Telegraph. "I met her when I was doing a prison drama with tattoos all over my body, a mullet haircut and jacked up from the gym and that's how she fell in love with me. So it's fair to say that every time I put the Wolverine outfit on she's fairly excited."

He also has said that she loved his role as Blackbeard in Pan. "She actually said the Blackbeard, that kind of attitude, that works for her. The summer of 2014 was good to me," he told Entertainment Tonight in 2015.

They had a stalker

Unfortunately, celebrities often have to deal with deranged fans, but few stars have run into experiences quite as scary as Jackman and Furness. 

According to the New York Post, Jackman was repeatedly stalked by an obsessed fan named Katherine Thurston in 2012 and 2013. In one particular incident, Thurston allegedly approached Jackman at a New York gym and pulled out a razor filled hair from a, um, private place on her body. "We're getting married, right?" She reportedly told the X-Men star, declaring that she loved him.

"It was obviously frightening," Jackman said. "For me, my main concern is for my family … I just hope the woman gets the help she needs."

The stalker was later sentenced to six months time served and five years probation and ordered to stay away from the Jackmans for eight years, according to the Post.

His wife banned him from working with Angelina Jolie

Okay, this one may be a joke, but it's a story worth repeating. In 2015, Furness sat down for an interview with Australia's Today and revealed one of the rules she has in her marriage to Jackman. 

"I've told his agent he's not allowed to work with Angelina," she said (via Entertainment Tonight). "I'm sure she's very nice and I love what she's doing — shining a light on awareness for adoption." Though Furness quickly admitted she was "just kidding" about her Jolie ban, given all that's happened in Jolie's personal life over the years, we can't blame Furness for alluding to boundaries.

In response to Furness' ban, Jackman joked to Entertainment Tonight that he had his own rule, too: "As long as she doesn't work with Brad Pitt, we're cool."

He was, uh, really involved in the birth of his son

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in 2006, Jackman revealed he had a front-row seat to the birth of their first adopted child, Oscar.

"We were at the birth, and we got to know the birth mother quite well," he said. "During delivery, Deb and I were there holding hands. Then I said [to the birth mother], ”Do you mind if I go to the business end?'"

"The birth mother said, 'Oh, whatever. Off you go.'"

"She was a bit of a shy woman," Jackman said, "but she'd had an epidural by that point. It was an amazing experience to watch the birth."

Their marriage is a Hollywood unicorn

Jackman and Furness have stayed together for more than 20 years, which is a rarity in Hollywood. In fact, these two are one of the movie industry's most solid couples.

Jackman credits their marriage's success to him being an unknown before they hooked up. "I'm kind of really grateful that I met her before anything kind of happened," he told DeGeneres (via People).

"My husband is my best friend," Furness told Vogue Australia in 2015. "I've always said, I was an only child so marriage to me is like a permanent sleepover with someone to play with in the morning, so I think it's awesome. I love it."

We love it too! Here's to many more years together.