Hugh Jackman: Our Infertility Battle Was a ‘Difficult Time’

12/18/2012 at 04:00 PM ET

Hugh Jackman: Our Infertility Battle Was a 'Difficult Time' Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

He may be one of the most doting dads in Hollywood, but the path to parenthood was a difficult one for Hugh Jackman.

Before the actor and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness welcomed Oscar Maximillian, 12, and Ava Eliot, 7, through adoption, they fought a long battle with infertility, undergoing IVF treatments only to have the resulting pregnancies end in miscarriages.

“It is a difficult time. The miscarriage thing — apparently it happens to one in three pregnancies — but it’s very, very rarely talked about,” Jackman, 44, said during a Tuesday appearance on Katie.

“It’s almost secretive. But it’s a good thing to talk about. It’s more common and it’s tough, there’s a grieving process you have to go through.”

Now the adoring dad of a son and daughter, the Les Miserables star says adoption was never a last resort; It has always been a part of the couple’s parenting plans.

“To be clear, Deb and I always wanted to adopt,” he explains. “We didn’t know where in the process that would happen, but biologically, obviously, we tried and it was not happening for us.”

The light at the end of the tunnel came with the arrival of their baby boy. His birth, shares Jackman, washed away their worries and struggles for a successful pregnancy.

“The moment Oscar was born all the heartache melted away. You can’t prepare for that moment, nothing can prepare you,” he says.

“You can’t even explain how incredible it is and that avalanche of emotion that comes. How it opens up your heart, how it frustrates you, how it angers you and … all of a sudden how alive you are.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Video

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Showing 53 comments

Gwen on

Hugh Jackman is the total package, seriously. First and foremost, because he’s such a wonderful husband and father to his wife and kids. He’s also a great actor. I have liked all his roles. And a side perk is that he’s also very good looking as well 😉

Annie on

LOVE HIM❤❤❤HE SEEMS SO GENUINE, loves his wife. Perfect man to me.

Linda Reich on

When you adopt, you realize it is not about giving birth but about being a parent to a child. It is very rewarding (tho often frustrating!) experience. It gives great satisfction to both you and the child.

Rebecca on

Good for you Hugh Jackman! This is a subject, while painful, needs to be discussed. So many people think they are so alone in the world of miscarriages, but in truth, they are SO not alone. You are a superb example of a man & father!

Kennie on

He’s absolutely right, many many women all over US and Canada deal with this everyday. No one can discribe the pain and hurt that comes with infertility. He’s right in saying its like a secret, it should be talked about so much more.

Amani on

Kenny, everywhere in the world, NOT just America and Canada!!!!

Kim on

He is totally right miscarrages are rarely talked about, parents need to greive. It should be talked about with familly and close friens and if need be go and see someone who will just listen. As for him adopting, pictures that you see wth him in he is always smiling with his children. I applaude you!!!!!

MrMonkee on

I saw the interview today on Katie. Never really paid much attention to him or his work. But today I was totally impressed by him. He brought me to tears talking about his parents, especially his relationship with his Dad. You very seldom see or hear grown men talk so openly about love. And you could tell it was genuine, not rehearsed and definitely from the heart.

jenn on

What a man. Men everywhere: Take notes.

Shannon on

LOVE him!! As someone who went through miscarriages, IVF, and years of heartbreak- I totally understand what he is talking about. My husband and I adopted our daughter, who will be 3 on Christmas eve- she is truly our Christmas miracle- when we held her after she was born that was it- we were in love- the fact that I had not been pregnant with her didn’t matter.

B on

When you have miscarriages and IVF fails is surrogacy an option?

Shelli on

refreshing…go Hugh!

Dervish on

I. Love. Him. 🙂

Anonymous on

Was at a party recently with a family who had one biological daughter and one adopted daugther. A guest asked, “Which one is adopted?”. Their response: “We don’t remember”. LOVE THAT!! Perfect response and exactly how it should be.

Gina Nicole on

I love your story!

fanofboardwalkempire on

Hugh – you are just the total package and the real deal!

I am a huge fan!

Stephanie Smith on

As a woman that has went thru a miscarriage, it is a painful time in my life. It is so taboo to speak of .. even though it happens to so many people. I appreciate that Hugh Jackman would speak of this issue. It affects not just the woman but also the husband (in my case)/ significant other as well. Thank you Hugh for the ability to speak of the issues that you and your wife had to go thru.

Anonymous on

Every single life….a gift and a purpose

jam on

We have been through the same. We adopted 8 years ago. It was love at first sight. 🙂 The most life changing thing I have ever been through. It changed all of our lives for the better. I can’t say enough good about adoption.

I'm Standing Right Behind You on

I’ve always been a fan of his…he’s incredibly talented and seems very genuine.

Julie on

This man is the REAL deal! Love him and his honesty!

I have 4 adopted cousins who have meant the world to our family!! God Bless those that adopt and give a child a chance they may not have!!

zaya on

Wish there were more men like him out there. 😦 slim pickings nowadays.

Becky on

Such a sweet stroy..Sorry for their losses, but glad they have the two wonderful children they have now..

Mandy on

The more people speak out about infertility and pregnancy and infant loss the more support there will be out there. Kudos to him for speaking out! Absolutely awesome guy. As a woman who has suffered through both I truly applaud him for speaking up!

Korynn's Dad on

I wholeheartedly agree how tough it is.

Everyone always asked how my wife was doing after a miscarriage. It seems like they forgot that Dad was hurting just as much if not more. A councilor mentioned to us that planting a tree might help so I ended up planting 4 in our back yard. We lost 4 in 8 years of trying so I hear ya’.

One of the miscarries wasn’t documented & they only run tests on every 3rd one. That one was my boy.

Our daughter is our little angel. We wanted more but again were having issues & then I became paralyzed.

It’s all good.

leigh on

What a great guy! Such a honest person and he’s a family man first.

KatenCA on

His wife is sooo lucky!! Hugh Jackman is awesome in every way, As far as the miscarriages, I have also had a couple of them but I think I’m a little younger than his wife was when they were starting out. Old eggs create unhealthy embryos , which in turn, miscarry. That is a sign something is not right with the embryo and that is nature’s way of letting you know. The chances of IVF working with your own eggs when you are in your 40s is reallly not very good, Sadly her age likely had alot to do with it and I wonder why they didn’t use an egg donor or did they? We don’t know. But he is such a loving father anyways.

Lisa on

I just want to say as a sister of an adopted child; there is no one i could love or feel closer to than my sister. Whether she was my “real (biological)” sister, as people have said or not, I could not feel more lucky or proud to have her in my life. My mom had a miscarriage after trying rounds of IVF and ended up adopting. While i know from speaking to my parents now that it was a very challenging time for them, there is no doubt in my mind that my life was not made richer and filled with more love with my sister in it. adoption was the best decision my parents ever made.

jj on

So true. And nice to hear a man express this. They are an awesome family.

After a stillbirth and a miscarriage, finally having my son after years of trying to conceive was so healing. However they come to us, our children are our greatest blessing.

cdub on

after suffering two miscarriages before the birth of our son, i can tell you just how painful they are. kudos to them for getting past it and trying adoption. that is something i have always been willing to try if need be. and possibly it may happen if we should have more miscarriages on the horizon. this is definitely an inspiring article!

alan on

You are one cynical asshole. I hope you find yourself to have children.

deannefox on

I’ve wondered about his families’ story for years now, I don’t think it was taboo, he was just private as he has the right to be. I’m glad he shared, and I hope for many happy years for him and his wife, it’s nice to see a marriage where they aren’t stereotypical Ken and Barbie.

Liz on

I am grateful for him sharing that grief. I live that grief and I too hope for a similar result as he had.

Anonymous on

KatenCA- “That is a sign something is not right with the embryo and that is nature’s way of letting you know.” While I understand the point you made, people who have just gone through the heartbreak of miscarriage don’t need to hear that.

It’s sort of like having a relative die after a long battle with cancer and being told, “Well, it was probably for the best anyway”. It doesn’t matter if it was or not. It still hurts!

That being said, I know you weren’t trying to be hurtful. Just thought I’d give you a heads-up on how your comment might come off to someone who’s suffered a miscarriage!

Aunt Cathy on

Well said… the only thing I would add is that her ‘old eggs’ comment was out of line…that & the bit about “why didn’t they use a donor egg” was unnecessary…

Anonymous on

deannefox- I think you misunderstood the previous comments. From what I can tell, what they were saying is that miscarriage seems to be a taboo subject in general, not that Hugh personally thought it was taboo to talk about until now!

Korynn’s Dad- Thanks for sharing your story. It’s nice to hear a dad’s perspective on miscarriage!

As for Hugh, I, like many, am glad he shared this and hopefully took some of the “taboo” about the subject away in the process! I also think it’s interesting that and Nicole Kidman are friends and had virtually the same journey to parenthood (the only differences that I can think of- apart from the fact that Nicole went through her journey with two partners while Hugh has only had the one- are that Nicole also suffered an ectopic pregnancy and DID eventually have biological children as well).

I think it’s fascinating how much friends’ lives can mirror each other sometimes! 🙂

Anonymous on

I also meant to say that, going by Hugh’s comments about Oscar’s birth, it sounds like they were in the delivery room, which I think is awesome!

Sanja on

Somebody finally had guts to talk about this painful experience. I had two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy. Just when I almost lost my hope, I got pregnant again and now I’m in 7 month. I pray to God that everything goes well and that I give birth to healthy baby in couple of months.

It hurts to remember; sometimes people are trying to forget things, even though it’s not easy. I guess that most women take this as their own failure and don’t really want to talk about it. However, it is good to talk to someone who had experienced the same lost. Unfortunately, we are not alone, more and more people are going through this.

Gigs on

He seems like a great guy. Lots of men out there should take him as a um role model. lol. He promotes goodness, and great values etc. He’s fighting the good fight. Not everyone does, and certainly not all men do. Props to him.

amy on

Just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more…swoon.

Anonymous on

So very true

Bisodun on

He is like the best husband in hollywood.

FaithC on

I know what it’s like to struggle to conceive…and, now I know what it’s like to miscarry. I suffered a miscarriage a month ago…and, it’s pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I am now a HUGE fan of Hugh Jackman, not only for his work, but for his honesty. I am SO glad those precious children came into their lives. And, I’m grateful, he’s opened up about their heartache. It’s comforting to know, you aren’t alone.

sookie on

Love, love, LOVE this man!

djg on

Love this man!

Kara B. on

He is absolutely right! I don’t know why people never talk about miscarriages and the grieving process you go through. It is devastating…you still feel like a parent, but there is no baby.

After I lost my first pregnancy at 20 weeks I found it is (sadly) more common of what I though yet nobody talks about it.

Thanks, Hugh Jackman,for open the doors to this conversation!

Sherry on

Hugh needs to be cloned. I’ll take 2…LOL!

Anonymous on

B- It can be, but they may not have wanted to go that route (after all, he DID say that adoption had ALWAYS been part of the plan for them, so obviously it wasn’t THAT important to them that their kids share their DNA!).

Also, they live in Australia. I don’t know what their policies are, but perhaps they’re a lot more strict about surrogacy there (Hugh HAS said that adopting there is virtually impossible- which is why he and Deborah opted to adopt from the U.S.- so I wouldn’t be surprised).

Kim on

@mandyeatsmeat…slim hopes?? Not at all. I know so many people who have done IVF and were successful. I am one of them. And “desperate people” is a bit harsh. After having chemotherapy, the chances of conceiving naturally were pretty much zero for me. I would not call myself desperate…more like “grateful” that there are options available!

Lan on

He seems like a wonderful family man, and is proven a wonderful actor as well. The only thing he said that I found a little jarring was when he made sure to say that they always planned on adoption anyway. It was as if he didn’t want to sound like adoption was their last option, but for lots of people, it’s not in their plans, and it *is* their last option, and that doesn’t mean they love their kids any less. Could be that he only said it because it happened that they *had* always planned to adopt, and I’m reading too much into it, of course.

endlessfreeleadsforever on

“You can’t even explain how incredible it is and that avalanche of emotion that comes. How it opens up your heart, how it frustrates you, how it angers you and … all of a sudden how alive you are.” – That is an AMAZING QUOTE! That perfectly describes how my husband and I felt TTC for 3 years before we tried the FertiBella fertility aid. I had one miscarriage during that time as well.

Kim on

Anon – It’s illegal to use commercial surrogacy here but certain states you can use altruistic surrogacy. That means they can find a surrogate but the surrogate can not be paid for it. Pretty hard to find no doubt.

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