Hugh Jackman and his wife join ‘gray divorce’ trend with split after 27 years of marriage

Over the years, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness have pushed back against speculation about their marriage and say they’re divorcing now to pursue their ‘individual growth’

Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness are divorcing after 27 years of marriage, according to the usual gossip.

However, as people wonder if the marriage was a “sham” all along, and Page Six reports that the divorce was “a long time coming,” they should also consider that the Jackmans are like many couples who divorce after long marriages. Whatever the reason for their divorce, Jackman, 54, and Furness, 67, are part of a growing U.S. trend of “gray divorce” — or divorce after the age of 50.

The couple explained to People in a statement that they are ending their marriage amicably.

“We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage,” the statement said. “Our journey is now shifting, and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth.”

“This is the only statement either of us will make,” the statement signed “Deb and Hugh Jackman” concluded.

The Australian couple, who have lived in New York City for a long time and have two children, Oscar, 23, and Ava, 18, married in 1996. They met the previous year while working on an Australian TV show. Furness was an established actor at the time, while Jackman was a rising star fresh out of drama school.

Several years later, Jackman became well-known outside of Australia, first by performing on stage in London and then by starring as Wolverine in the “X-Men” franchise. He cemented his international, leading man status by appearing in a number of films, most recently “The Greatest Showman.” He also won major awards, including a Tony and an Emmy, and he hosted the Academy Awards in 2009.

Over the years, the couple has addressed persistent rumors that Jackman is secretly gay. The couple has frequently used humor to combat “mean-spirited” gossip, as Furness has described it.

“Hugh’s been gay for whatever, I mean, hello guys — if he was gay, he could be gay!” Furness joked in a 2022 interview with the “Not an Overnight Success” podcast, according to Us Weekly. She also stated that if her husband were gay, he would no longer be married to her.

“He (wouldn’t) have to hide in the closet anymore, and he’d be dating Brad Pitt, or whatever,” Furness said. “Not that Brad is gay, but you know what I mean!”

However, Furness admitted in a 2020 interview that one aspect of her marriage to Jackman had been difficult. People constantly tell her how lucky she is to be partnered with the actor, singer, and dancer, who is so handsome and such a “stud muffin” that some people joke that he can’t be straight.

Whatever happened privately between the couple, they are not the only high-profile couple to divorce after a long marriage, sometimes shocking fans as well as anyone who longs to believe in the idea of a happy, till-death-do-us-part marriage. Sonya and Dell Curry, Steph Curry’s parents, have divorced in recent years, as have Bill and Melinda French Gates and Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott.

Despite the fact that divorce is becoming less common among younger adults, the divorce rate among U.S. adults 50 and older nearly doubled between 1990 and 2015, according to Pew Research data. When long-term couples, such as the Jackmans, split up, people don’t just wonder what happened. They may also wonder, “Why divorce now?” People might say that the Jackmans have already lasted this long together, and they’ve long avoided speculation about their marriage.

Experts told this news organization in 2021 that shifting cultural norms and economic factors have contributed to an increase in divorces among those aged 50 and up.

According to experts, if marriage is not fulfilling, divorce is an acceptable solution for many couples. When long-term couples divorce, it’s common for them to be said to have “grown apart,” according to Liliya George, a marriage and family therapist in San Jose. That was the case with Jackman and Furness, whose statement alluded to their “shifting journey” and the “next chapter” of their lives.

“People get so focused over the years on building their finances and raising their children, but now that the kids are gone for a while, they tell me, ‘We don’t seem to have anything in common.'” “I look at my partner and I don’t recognize that person,” George said.

Infidelity is common in older couples, according to George, but it is usually a “symptom” of larger problems. An “insider” told Page Six that a “third party” was not a factor in Jackman and Furness’ breakup, but that the couple had “morphed into roommates.”

Long-term couples frequently discover that their marriages are in trouble because people change and grow — sometimes separately, sometimes together — as they progress through each life stage, according to Orinda-based therapist Margie Ryerson.

Couples also tend to reassess their marriages at key junctures, such as when they become empty nesters or retire, she says. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Jackmans’ youngest child has turned 18. Meanwhile, with Americans’ increased life expectancy, a spouse may begin to wonder whether they want to spend another 10, 20, or 30 years with someone they may not even like.

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