Aussie actor Hugh Jackman has been quite open over the years about the “traumatic” impact his mother, Grace McNeil, had on his childhood when she suddenly abandoned the family to return to the UK when Jackman was just eight years old. But, happily, the pair have mended fences and reunited in recent years, with the 52 year old sharing a heartwarming photo of the pair hugging and smiling at each other on his Instagram account on Monday afternoon.
Jackman titled the photo simply, “Mum,” and fans have been quick to respond with enthusiastic comments.
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One Instagram user wrote, “Cherish every second… I miss my mom every moment of the day.” While another wrote, “Awww, what a lovely pic of you and your mum – love it! Hope you had an amazing and relaxing time catching up with her.”
Back in January 2018, Jackman told Australia’s Who magazine that his mother abandoning him as a child without even saying goodby was “traumatic”. McNeil returned to her native England in the late ’70s, leaving her husband, Christopher Jackman, to raise their five children alone. After the couple divorced, Jackman’s two sisters went to live with their mum in the UK, while Jackman and his two brothers stayed in Sydney with their father.
“I thought she was probably going to come back,” Jackman said to Who magazine. “And then it sort of dragged on and on.” The Greatest Showman star added that after his mother left the family, he saw her about “once a year”, but it wasn’t until he was 12 or 13 that it dawned on him his mother would never return.
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.”
Jackman once told Australian Women’s Weekly magazine, “The thing I never felt – and I know this might sound strange – I never felt that my mum didn’t love me. I’ve spoken about it at length with her since and I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born, suffering from post-natal depression. There wasn’t a support network for her here.”
In October 2011, Jackman told the UK’s The Sun newspaper, “I am 43 now and we have definitely made our peace, which is important. I was always quite connected with my mum. I have a good relationship with her.”