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Hugh Jackman opens up about childhood trauma and how therapy is helping

The "X-Men" actor was a young boy when his mother abandoned him and his siblings.
/ Source: TODAY

When Hugh Jackman was 8, his mother, Grace McNeil, left their home in Australia for the United Kingdom — and never returned. 

Earlier this week, Jackman, 54, revealed that he is in therapy to help him cope with the unresolved trauma.

“I just started it recently. It helped me a lot,” he told Who magazine, an Australian publication. “We all need a village.”

The actor added that “having someone really smart, who’s a little bit removed from your world, can be really helpful.”

"Most importantly, it's 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," the magazine reported he said.

It took Jackman years to come to terms with the idea that McNeil wouldn’t be coming back for him, he said.

“It was traumatic,” he revealed, while speaking with Who magazine in 2018. “I thought she was probably going to come back. And then it sort of dragged on and on.”

In 2012, Jackman opened up on “60 Minutes Australia” about the last time he saw his mom in their family home. She waved goodbye as he headed off to school. When Jackman returned, she was gone.

"There was no one there in the house,” he said. “The next day there was a telegram from England, Mom was there. And then that was it. I don’t think she thought for a second it would be forever. I think she thought it was, ‘I just need to get away, and I’ll come back. Dad used to pray every night that mom would come back.” 

Last year, Jackman shared on Instagram a photo of himself and his mother. In his caption, he simply wrote, “Mum”

“I’m not someone who’s wallowed a lot in my family past. I don’t feel like a victim … I feel very blessed actually in many ways,” he explained on “60 Minutes Australia” in 2012. 

Jackman noted that he and McNeil now have a relationship that’s “very good.”

In a 2013 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson spoke about some “difficulties” that McNeil experienced. Jackman’s dad worked long hours and McNeil missed living in her native England, he said.  

“I think my mom just felt incredibly isolated,” Jackman said. “She was in the hospital a long time after I was born. She had very bad postpartum depression. I’m guessing it lasted years because I remember she used to go off for little periods. I think she was feeling trapped.”

Jackman's beloved father, Christopher Jackman, passed away in 2021.

"Dad was, in a word, extraordinary," Jackman wrote on Instagram. "He devoted his life to his family, his work and his faith. I pray he is now at peace with God."

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