Hugh Jackman: Our Adoption Joy

April 21, 2009, 2:35 pmnewidea

He's one of the world's biggest stars, but for Hugh Jackman, it's life away from the cameras with wife Deborra-lee Furness and their children that brings him the most happiness.

Hugh Jackman

But it hasn't always been easy. The 40-year-old has harboured a sense of loss for years after Deborra-lee, 48, had a miscarriage early in their 13-year marriage.

Out of heartbreak, however, the couple found joy, adopting Oscar, eight, and Ava, three. Now the X-Men Origins: Wolverine star feels like he has the perfect family. 'Fatherhood makes me happy,' Hugh smiles. 'It has changed my life in the most brilliant way. Being a dad changes your perspective of life. The simplest things in life are completely satisfying.'

What has parenting been like for you and Deborra-lee?

We had a couple of miscarriages and those are very tough. When we adopted, all that seemed to melt away instantly. We adopted both times in America. For Oscar we opted for open adoption. We thought it would be easier to discuss the whole subject.

Flouting convention, you became friends with the birth mother, a young woman from Iowa, and you even attended Oscar's delivery.

It was an exhilarating experience. I remember tears running out of my eyes in the happiest possible fashion. With Ava we chose closed adoption.

You and Deborra-lee celebrated your 13th wedding anniversary on April 11. How do you keep the passion alive?

Deb loves the idea of me coming home in costume because it makes her feel like she's having an affair in a good way. When we met, I was cast as a prisoner with tattoos and she'd say: 'Don't take your tattoos off tonight.' I'd be like: 'Alright.' What works best with her is the stockbroker look!

Seriously, we try never to be apart for longer than 14 days. We have seen so many relationships go awry, particularly on location when people are away for months on end. Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder.

Was it love at first sight?

Yes, or maybe lust. We met on the set of [ABC drama series] Correlli in 1995. I became so smitten that I could hardly speak to her. It was embarrassing. When we finally started speaking, we moved in with each other almost immediately and have been together ever since.

Last year you were voted the Sexiest Man Alive. How did she react?

God bless her, she said: 'I could've told them that years ago!'

What qualities would you both like to pass on to Oscar and Ava?

Passion. If there's anything I want to pass on to my kids it's the idea of passion for life, because that's what sustains you. If you're lucky enough to find and do something that you really love, then that's the Holy Grail.

Has success gone to your head?

Deb doesn't allow me to get a big head. She reads my worst reviews to me, to keep my feet on the ground. She is my anchor, together with my children.

Where are you based these days?

New York. We live in a building with Nicole Kidman one floor away. We babysit each other's kids.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine will be released this month. It's the fourth in the series and the role has turned you into quite a sex symbol...

It was a bit embarrassing at first, but sex appeal has more to do with self-confidence than anything else. I can look at Wolverine and say that he's sexy. But I think people would find him less sexy if they knew that I have to spend 90 minutes in make-up to get that look.

How do you prepare for the role?

To play Wolverine, I undertake a routine, with up to two hours of weightlifting, five days a week. I've adopted a diet where I wake up at 4am, have egg whites on dry toast, then go back to bed so I get some food in me before training at 6am. I then eat every three hours. What you eat is everything. I always thought it was about lifting harder, heavier, longer. Now I think you have to eat more and eat leaner. I cut out most bread, sugar, beer and pizza. It's hard to skip the bread, because I love it.

View our hot-shot Wolverine premiere gallery

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