EXCLUSIVE: Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness’s marriage was ‘broken’ during COVID lockdown when their love ‘turned into friendship’ – with the Hollywood strikes ‘not helping one bit’
Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness’ marriage was left ‘devastated’ by the COVID pandemic, according to an insider who claimed the ongoing writers’ strike had further exacerbated their marital rift.
The Australian couple, parents to son Oscar, 23, and daughter Ava, 18, announced in a joint statement on Friday that they are ending their marriage after almost three decades.
Lockdown put a strain on their relationship, and despite their best efforts to save their marriage, the couple decided the ‘best option’ was to part as friends.
“They are forever connected, forever together with the children they have,” a source exclusively told DailyMail.com. “But after the last few years, the love they had for each other turned more into a friendship that was broken during COVID because the lockdown didn’t help their marriage at all and really put a strain on their relationship.”
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness pictured in April 2020 during a COVID lockdown
The couple, pictured in Australia in 1997, announced their divorce on Friday
According to an insider, Covid and the ongoing writers’ strike are responsible for the collapse of their marriage
They continued, “They worked on it and couldn’t get it back. The strikes didn’t help anything, it put them in the same predicament as COVID, where they just kicked the tires, and Hugh discovered that it all didn’t have the same magic as it used to.
“Deb had similar concerns and thoughts and separating is the best option.”
The insider added: “They will never speak negatively about each other, for them time has simply passed and they now accept that fate.”
A rep for Jackman, 54, confirmed that COVID and the writers’ strike had affected their relationship.
The estranged couple announced the devastating news on Friday that they are officially splitting up.
“We are blessed to have had a beautiful, loving marriage together as husband and wife for nearly three decades,” they said in a joint statement.
“Our journey is now changing and we have decided to part ways to pursue our individual growth.
‘Our family is and will remain our highest priority. We undertake this next chapter with gratitude, love and kindness.”
The coronavirus lockdown is said to have put pressure on their relationship
Jackman proposed to Furness just weeks after the pair started dating – and they married in 1996
Jackman and Furness, who are 13 years older, celebrated their 27th anniversary in April this year
They concluded to PEOPLE: “We greatly appreciate your understanding in respecting our privacy as our family goes through this transition throughout our lives. This is the only statement either of us will make.”
A Broadway insider told PageSix that their breakup wasn’t a shock, claiming that “it happened a while ago.”
They suggested there appeared to be issues before Jackman returned to Broadway for The Music Man in February 2022, with the insider adding: “Deb wasn’t at rehearsals that much.”
Their split comes five months after they celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary in April, with the Wolverine star posting a gushing tribute to his wife on Instagram.
“I love you Deb. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. 27 years! I love you so much,” he captioned the post, which he shared with his 79.1 million followers.
‘Together we have created a beautiful family. And life. Your smile, your spirit, generosity, humor, boldness, courage and loyalty are an incredible gift to me. I love you with all my heart.’
Jackman and Furness, who is 13 years his senior, met in 1995 on Australian TV show Correlli, with the Wolverine actor later claiming he knew they would “be together for the rest of our lives.”
They married a year later, in April 1996, and became parents in 2000 when they adopted their son Oscar. Five years later they adopted a second child, daughter Ava Eliot.
They are parents of two children; Oscar, 23, and Ava, 18, whom they adopted together
The estranged couple released a joint statement saying they are moving forward “with gratitude, love and kindness.”
Jackman has never been shy about speaking about his marriage and opened up in February about the key to a healthy relationship.
‘I think honesty, intimacy and making time are the secrets to a long and happy marriage. You can’t just assume that everything will go well. You have to make time,” he told Smooth Radio.
In an interview, he called his wife his “best friend” and main source of support in both his career and personal life.
Jackman said of his partner: “I married the greatest woman in the world. She is amazing. We are best friends, and we share everything. She’s smart.’
When talking about the fact that they were never apart for more than two weeks, he explained that it was because they wanted to share “everything” together.
He continued, “We always said we would never be apart for more than two weeks. Sometimes life and work get crazy.
‘But we met at my first job when she was already a big star, I was a nobody. So we shared everything, all the ups and downs, and we always will.”
The couple had made several public appearances this year, including the Met Gala in May and Wimbledon in London in June.
They were even pictured sharing a kiss on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival last September.