Hugh Jackman is speaking out one day after announcing his separation from estranged wife Deborra-Lee Furness.
“It’s a difficult time,” Jackman, 54, told photographers in New York City on Saturday, September 16, per footage obtained by TMZ. “I appreciate your thoughts, thank you.”
The Greatest Showman star — who declined to further discuss his relationship status — and Furness, 67, confirmed on Friday, September 16, that they had separated.
“We have been blessed to share almost 3 decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage. Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth,” they wrote in a joint statement to People. “Our family has been and always will be our highest priority. We undertake this next chapter with gratitude, love, and kindness. We greatly appreciate your understanding in respecting our privacy as our family navigates this transition in all of our lives.”
Jackman and Furness started dating in 1995 shortly after they met on the set of the Australian TV series Corelli.
“Deb, she was a big star,” Jackman recalled during a 2017 interview with Jess Cagle. “I get picked up [to go to set], and Deb is in the front seat of the car. I’ll never forget. She took off her seatbelt, and she turned around and put out her hand and took off her sunglasses and said, ‘Hi, I’m Deborra-Lee Furness, nice to meet you.’ I remember thinking, ‘I like this girl.’”
Furness, however, quickly grew skeptical about the pair’s 13-year age difference. “She kind of [broke up with me], a little bit,” Jackman said on the “Aussies in Hollywood with Jenny Cooney” podcast in 2018. “I just knew 100 percent; I even knew when she was trying to work out reasons to break up with me.”
Jackman and Furness reconciled before tying the knot in 1996. Nearly four years later, they expanded their family and adopted son Oscar, now 22. They also share daughter Ava, now 17.
Jackman and Furness’ separation comes five months after they celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary.
“I love you Deb. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. 27 YEARS!! I love you so much,” he wrote via Instagram in April. “Together we have created a beautiful family. And life. Your laughter, your spirit, generosity, humor, cheekiness, courage and loyalty is an incredible gift to me. I love you with all my heart.”