Hugh Jackman undergoing therapy to deal with ‘traumatic’ childhood abandonment issues

Dec 20, 2022
Hugh Jackman reveals he's in therapy to deal with childhood trauma brought on by his mum. Source: Getty

Acclaimed actor Hugh Jackman is currently in therapy to help heal the trauma he faced when his mother abandoned him as a child.

In a candid interview with Who, the 54-year-old Aussie actor revealed that he has recently begun treatment saying that it has “helped me a lot”.

“You need a friend you can unload everything. [Also] having someone really smart, who’s a little a bit removed from your world can be really helpful,” he told the publication.

While in therapy, the father of two has explored the wounds from his past caused by his mother, Grace McNeil, and sisters Zoe and Sonya, who moved to the UK when he was 8, leaving him behind in Australia with his father, Christopher, and brothers Ian and Ralph.

Jackman had described his mother’s abandonment as “traumatic”, sharing that he “thought she was probably going to come back.” It wasn’t until many years later that it dawned on him that his mother wasn’t coming home.


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In December 2012, Jackman told Australia’s 60 Minutes program that he still vividly remembered the morning his mum left.

“I remember her being in a towel … and saying goodbye. [It] must have been the way she said goodbye,” he said.

“When I came back [from school] there was no one there in the house. The next day, there was a telegram from England. Mum was there. And then that was it. Dad used to pray every night that Mum would come back.”

However, the Greatest Showman star has reassured fans that his recent therapy sessions have allowed him to come to terms with difficult past experiences and rebuild connections with loved ones.

“Understanding my past and how it’s informing my thinking unconsciously – getting to really understand some of the patterns that I was unconsciously just repeating,” he said.

“And, most importantly, helping me to be more relational with the people I love in my life, and really understanding and living in their shoes and being clear to be able to see them.”


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In a separate interview with Australian Women’s Weekly, Jackman said while his mum’s absence was difficult he “never felt that mum didn’t love me”.

“At the time, it was difficult. One of the main things I remember is that horrible feeling that people were talking about you and looking at you because it was odd for the mother to leave,” he confessed.

“For many years, I thought it was not going to be forever, so I clung to that… I thought Mum and Dad would get back together. Finally realising it wasn’t going to happen was probably the toughest time, to be honest.”

Jackman explained that despite the hardships he later understood why his mum left, saying that they have made their peace and now have a “good relationship”.

“I’ve spoken about it at length with her since and I know she was struggling,” he said.

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