"You don't have to know what to do or what the best thing is, and it's okay to say that," the actor expressed.
Hugh Jackman plays a father who has a young child with a new partner after he left his wife in The Son. His ex-wife informs him that their 17-year-old son is struggling at school and is experiencing a mental health crisis. This prompts Jackman's character to do his best to help his boy. Jackman admitted he "did hug my kids, especially tight, after that" and that the film hit close to home.
Jackman has been married for 26 years to Deborra-Lee Furness and they share two children together—Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17. He lost his father during filming and all of it factored into Jackman experiencing shifts as both a father and a son while making the film.
"I think I'm a different parent now because of it," Jackman proclaimed on an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It taught the star how important it is to be more open to communication. The 54-year-old award-winning actor explained, "I think I'm more open to being vulnerable with them saying things like 'I'm not sure', or realizing that sometimes I may be preoccupied by something going on with me — like 'I'm preoccupied about the opening of The Music Man,' for example."
He realized, if he doesn't communicate properly, children may internalize that they are the problem which they aren't. "And then realizing that they may think they've done something and just me not communicating because I'm thinking, 'I don't want to burden them with that,' doesn't help," he continued. "So now I find myself saying, 'hey guys, sorry if I feel distant, I'm really nervous about this thing and if I've gone off my head, it's nothing to do with you'," he added. The Wolverine star thinks his family appreciates his approach to communicating more. "I think that idea of communicating more — not necessarily just because you're the father — and you don't have to know, you don't have to know what to do or what the best thing is, and it's okay to say that," he noted before joking, "then, of course, they use that and wrap around you a little finger."
The Greatest Showman actor also reflected on his role as a father after his father's death. “I think I was just confronting a lot of things as a parent, fears that you have, and I just wasn’t sleeping very well,” he said. “I found myself thinking a lot and in a lot (of) emotional turmoil. And I think it was just part of giving over ... giving over to the story, and I just sort of went with it,” he added.
Jackman and his wife have kept their family life rather private and have raised their children largely out of the spotlight. Speaking of their children, his wife Deborra-Lee Furness told PEOPLE in 2020, "It's so interesting being a parent, and they've both made me smarter than I think I ever could have been on my own. But when you're a parent, you can't lie to them or yourself. They will shine a light on every one of your flaws, your Achilles heel, whatever. You've got to look at yourself." Both their children were adopted and so it was for Furness to honor their different cultural backgrounds. "When my son was younger, he found out he was part Bosnian, so we went and got this Croatian/Bosnian cookbook and he was very proud to carry that around when he was 7 years old," she shared. "My daughter has a Mexican lineage, so we've been to Mexico." The 67-year-old couldn't be prouder of her family and their roots. She said, "We completely embrace the ancestors and the extended family, they're family to us. And it's in there, even though it's generational. It may be subtle, but it's in there."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Arturo Holmes