Lingering kiss that sparked gay rumours
They're one of Hollywood's most enduring couples, known for their uplifting support of one another highlighted through adorably flirty interviews - even after more than two decades of marriage.
But there's an unshakeable myth surrounding the 24-year relationship of Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, and they won't shy away from addressing the elephant in the room.
Rumours 51-year-old Boy From Oz Jackman is secretly gay and married to Furness as a cover-up have plagued the pair for years, and Jackman knows exactly where they came from 17 years ago.
Here, we take a look at their beginnings, and dive deep into the rumours dogging one of the most rock-solid A-list duos.
HOW THEY MET
In a Hollywood tale as old as time, an on-screen romance translated into real life when the pair acted alongside each other in Aussie TV prison series Correlli in 1995.
Love blossomed after just two weeks, and four months after sparking up a relationship, Jackman proposed. The rest is history.
Even Jackman is aware of the painful cliche.
"Right from the beginning we were great friends," he told 60 Minutes last year.
"It was also my first job, Deb was the leading lady … I was fully aware this was a cliche and I was probably being ridiculous," he said, as Furness laughed beside him.
Furness chimed in: "My New Year's resolution was I'm not dating any more actors, and definitely not under 30 … meet my husband."
Speaking on Anh's Brush With Fame this week, Furness went on to recall the "instant attraction" they had for each other.
She said it wasn't until they were sitting in Jackman's kitchen one day when they realised they had fallen for each other.
"(Hugh) said he knew two weeks in," Furness said of how quickly their feelings grew.
"I remember I was sitting in his kitchen and he was cooking for a dinner party and I said, 'You haven't been coming into my trailer lately. We always used to hang out,' and he goes 'Yeah, yeah I know, I haven't, I've got a crush on you, then I said, 'I've got a crush on you too,' and that was it, we admitted it, and I don't think we ever spent a day apart."
"We just had this amazing connection and I feel blessed that I experienced it. I feel like I met my soulmate."
She continued: "When you find a partner and you find that you share and grow together … and we know, life is tough, it's not all good, but when you have someone there who is so supportive and you can really stand there buck naked and be yourself. Authentic, warts and all this is who you are … There's nothing better."
ON MARRIAGE SUCCESS
Jackman is often seen gushing about his wife in interviews, regularly speaking about how lucky he feels to have met her before he was catapulted to global recognition as Wolverine.
"I really think it helps that we were together before any of that," he told Today in 2018.
"We've been on this unbelievable journey, places we never thought we'd go to and we've done it together."
In an extract from The Father Hood: Inspiration For The New Dad Generation, published by WHO magazine, Jackman went further in offering up his approach to marriage.
"Before we had kids, Deb and I made a pretty simple but powerful choice to look each other in the eye at every crossroads in life," he wrote.
"Those crossroads are sometimes big, sometimes they're small, sometimes you don't even realise they're crossroads until you look back."
But at those moments, we said we'd ask each other, 'Is this good or bad for our marriage?' Or, now that we've got kids, 'Is this good or bad for our family?' And as often as possible, we do the thing that is good for our family."
For years, Jackman has been the centre of gay rumours, but like Furness, he's not bothered.
Addressing the whispers in 2018, he even speculated as to where they stemmed from.
"Some dudes do get upset, some dudes say, 'Don't say I'm gay' (but) I am good," he told US radio, according to Metro.
The father-of-two blames a lingering smooch from his 2003 role as a gay singer-songwriter in The Boy From Oz.
"I was literally just locking lips … I started to laugh so hard," he said.
"So I stay kissing him, because I thought, 'I'm just going to laugh. I'm going to stay here until it subsides,' and it never subsided and the whole audience could see my body shaking, so they started."
"If I was, I would be," he told 60 Minutes.
"I don't think - it's to me not the most interesting thing about a person anyway, but ah - I do get frustrated for Deb, 'cause I see Deb go, 'Ah, this is crazy.'"
In a cover story in The Hollywood Reporter that same year, he said it "bugs Deb" from time-to-time.
Opening up on Anh's Brush With Fame on Tuesday night, the 64-year-old actress laughed off the rumours - revealing she's been targeted by the same narrative.
She joked: "(Hugh's) been gay for so many years, I was gay too when I did (1988 film) Shame. They were shocked when I got married.
"It's just wrong. It's like someone saying to Elton John, 'Oh he's straight'. I'm sure he'd be pissed!
"And so what! What are we discussing here … Is he a vegetarian … Is he gay?" she added.
While that aspect of their union in the eyes of the public is one Furness can easily scoff at, the insinuation that she's "lucky" to be married to the star has been a little harder to shake.
"Luck! Like I won a chook raffle," she joked, "People don't realise that it's actually rude to say that," she said.
But like everything Furness addresses in relation to her marriage, she holds a healthy dose of realism.
"Lucky because he's a stud muffin and all that … that's showbiz and Hollywood and the brand of Hugh Jackman."
Commenting on her reaction to his former 'Sexiest Man Alive' status, dry-witted Furness quipped: "(I tell him) Hey sexy, your turn for the garbage."
She conceded there's a long-running culture of cruelty in tabloids - and they're not the only victims.
"I see these magazines and they're so mean-spirited … I hope people realise it's all made up. Nicole (Kidman) and Keith (Urban) get divorced every week and I sit here and I'm like … they're perfectly happy. They just make up lies and they get away with it," she said.
KIDS AND ADOPTION
They may seem like the golden couple of the industry now, but their early years as husband and wife were riddled with hardship.
The pair now have two children, Oscar, 20, and Ava, 15, who they adopted following a painful fertility journey dotted with miscarriages.
"We were always going to adopt, and we were hopefully going to have biological children. I always just assumed that we would biologically have children … but when that didn't happen," Furness said on Brush With Fame this week.
"I had many miscarriages … It's a loss," she said.
"It's a loss, it's hard. I always knew I was going to be a mother. I was raised by an incredible mother. It was instilled in me that I am very mothering I like to nurture, so at the time, it hurt, it was painful … and then, you move on."
Jackman has been similarly candid about their experience with loss.
In 2012, he told US television personality Katie Couric: "Until you go through it, you understand it's not talked about a lot.
"By the way to be clear, Deb and I always wanted to adopt. So that was always in our plan. We didn't know where in the process that would happen but biologically obviously we tried and it was not happening for us and it is a difficult time."
He continued: "We did IVF and Deb had a couple of miscarriages. I'll never forget it, the miscarriage thing … It happens to one in three pregnancies. But it's very, very rarely talked about. It's almost secretive, so I hope Deb doesn't mind me bringing it up now.
"It's a good thing to talk about it. It's more common and it is tough. There's a grieving that you have to go through. So the moment Oscar was born, all the heartache just melted away."
The pair have since worked tirelessly to battle the complicated adoption process in Australia, with Furness founding charity Adopt Change in 2008.
Originally published as Lingering kiss that sparked gay rumours