Deborra-Lee Furness
image source

Deborra-Lee Furness may not be as famous as her superstar husband, Hugh Jackman, but there is no taking away the fact that she has achieved a lot as an individual. As a reputable actress, Furness has appeared in a good number of TV shows and movies, including Shame, Angel Baby, and Two Brothers Running, and has bagged several awards such as the Film Critics Circle of Australia award.

Aside from being an actress, Deborra-Lee Furness has garnered wide recognition as a charitable person and philanthropist. She has gone ahead to capture millions of hearts through her sponsorship of many humanitarian works as she is among the executives of Film Aid International and also a co-founder of National Adoption Awareness. This fetched her the title of New South Wales Australian of the Year in 2014.

Early Years in Australia and Journey to Hollywood

The renowned actress was born in Sydney, Australia, in December 1955. She was raised in Melbourne by her mother, Fay Duncan, who worked as a philanthropic campaigner and was bestowed with the Order of Australia Medal as a result of her benevolent works.

Furness’s ambition to become an actress eventually took her all the way to the United States where she honed her skills at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She spent about two years at the institution and graduated in 1982.

Furness Met Hugh Jackman As an Already Established Actress

Even though Deborra-Lee Furness has repeatedly stated her desire to be known as much more than Hugh Jackman’s wife, the fact however remains that the marriage is an unavoidable part of her identity. So, how did it all begin? Well, a well-known legend has it that the actress and her future husband first crossed paths on the set of the Australian TV series, Correlli, in 1995. At that time, Furness was already a well-known star in Australia and beyond while Jackman was fresh out of drama school. This was his first professional job and he immediately became smitten with his gorgeous co-star.

Deborra-Lee Furness
Furness and Jackman Image Source

He later worked up the courage to ask her out and they started dating. They got engaged four months later and went on to exchange marital vows at St. John’s Church in Melbourne, on April 11th, 1996. At the time Furness and Jackman commenced their relationship, they were some snide comments because she was about 12 years older than him. The pair however refused to pay heed to these distractions and have gone on to prove the naysayers wrong. Their marriage has lasted for about 24 years and counting, a feat that is quite exemplary in an industry that is notorious for its short-lived relationships.

The couple has supported each other through the highs and lows and their romance has blossomed over the years. Furness’s husband has meanwhile dished on the secrets to their longevity. According to him, they decided early on that they would always be straightforward with each other at every major crossroad. They also agreed not to spend more than two weeks apart as well as to not allow their quarrels last overnight. Finally, another factor that has helped the couple is the fact that they were together before Jackman gained worldwide fame.

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The Couple Are Parents To Two Adopted Kids 

Much like other couples out there, Deborra-Lee Furness and her husband initially hoped to have about two kids of their own and then adopt a couple. It however turned out not to be as they struggled with infertility issues for several years. After several failed IVFs, as well as a couple of miscarriages, the couple made the courageous decision to adopt. They quickly signed up in their native Australia but discovered that the adoption procedures there were quite difficult. They then decided to register in the United States and things moved quite smoothly.

Deborra-Lee Furness
The couple and their children Image Source

The couple now has two adopted children, son Oscar Maximillian Jackman, who was born on the 15th of May 2000 and daughter, Ava Eliot Jackman, who was born on the 10th of July 2005. Both are now grown up and their parents take great care to shield them from the harsh effects of the spotlight. Furness’s adoption journey inspired her to become an adoption advocate in her native country. She advocates for easier laws and procedures. She also works towards better welfare for those who have aged out of the foster care system.

Her Strides in the American and Australian Movie Industries 

Furness made her on-screen debut in the 1975 television series, The Human Factor, and followed it up by featuring in a soap opera, Neighbours. The next year, she starred in three movies namely, Cool Change, Jenny Kissed Me, and The Humpty Dumpty Man. In 1987, Deborra-Lee Furness was seen in New York, United States, during the shooting of a soap opera, Falcon Crest, where she played the role of Billy Moses.

Soon after that, the adept actress moved back to her country to continue with her acting career and gained her breakthrough in her next project, the 1988 film – Shame. The film spread her fame throughout Australia and beyond and since then, she has gone on to feature in several other movies and TV series including Two Brothers Running, Celia, Evil Angels, Jindabyne, Beautiful, The Real Macaw, Waiting, Blessed and many others.

Deborra-Lee Furness
Furness in the 1988 movie, Shame Image Source

A Look at the Success that Deborra-Lee Furness has achieved vis-a-vis her Husband’s 

Even though Deborra-Lee Furness got into the movie business before her husband, and even tasted fame before him, his career has now overtaken hers on several levels including the density and popularity of their respective projects, the awards they have received as well as the resultant wealth that they have acquired from acting. Nevertheless, this does not take the shine away from Furness’s career which has enjoyed above-average success.

The Density of their Filmographies

Since her 1975 debut, Deborra-Lee Furness has featured in a total of 44 TV series and movies combined. This number is certainly quite impressive but the fact remains that her husband has done better in terms of the number of projects he has featured in as well as their popularity. For instance, since making his debut in 1995, Hugh Jackman has gone on to feature in about 44 movies, several TV series, and about 16 theatrical productions.

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His most popular role however remains the wolverine role which he portrays in the X-men franchise. Jack first portrayed the mutant superhero, who has iron claws, in the 2000 film, X-Men. It was quite successful around the globe and served to make him a superstar. It also spurned a multi-million-dollar franchise in which Jackman has held sway. The Aussie actor now holds the record for the longest-running live-action marvel superhero ever.

Awards and Accolades

Deborra-Lee Furness has scored several awards in her career, most notably for the 1988 film, Shame. Shame was an inspiring drama about a feminist lawyer, named Asta, who bravely goes up against a bunch of local youths who have gang-raped a teenage girl named Lizzie. Asta works hard to bring the boys to justice while also helping Lizzie to pick up the pieces of life. Shame featured Deborra-Lee Furness in the lead role of Asta and her performance fetched her the best actor award from the Film Critics Circle of Australia. It also brought her the best actress awards from the Golden Space Needle.

On his part, Furness’s husband has received much more prestigious awards. This was thanks to his leading role in the 2012 musical drama, Les Miserables. The film fetched him the 2013 Golden Globe award for best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy. It also fetched him his first Oscar nomination for the best actor which is no mean feat. Away from the TV screens, Furness’s husband has also dished out award-winning performances on the stage. The Aussie actor was the star of the highly–acclaimed Broadway play, The Boy From Oz (2003-2004). His performance in the play fetched him the prestigious Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for outstanding actor in a musical.

Deborra-Lee Furness
Jackman as Wolverine Image Source

Net Worth

Having been active in the movie industry for over four decades, Deborra-Lee Furness has been able to build up a fortune of $10 million. This is surely not something to scoff at but it once more pales in comparison to the wealth that her husband has been able to acquire. The Wolverine star has been able to acquire a fortune of about $150 million thanks in part to his contract with Marvel.

For the first Wolverine movie, Jackman earned about half a million but by the time he did the fourth film in 2009, his salary was at $20 million. In all, it is estimated that he made about $100 million in total from the franchise. One thing that Furness and her husband do have in common is how they spend their money. Both have dedicated significant sums to various admirable humanitarian projects over the years.

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