Joe Pugliese/Town & Country
After 17 years of marriage, Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness are one of the few couples to defy the odds for a long-lasting Hollywood relationship.
"I decided, I won't ask her to marry me for six months," Jackman shares of his initial hesitancy to propose in the October issue of Town and Country magazine. "Then after four months I thought, that's the most ridiculous rule!"
The happy couple was interviewed together for the magazine's cover story, and the twosome recall meeting for the first time in 1995 in Melbourne on the set of the TV drama Correlli.
Their initial attraction was palpable on set, and years later the couple—who have been married since 1996 and have two children, Oscar and Ava—are equally as enamored with each other.
"It gets better every year," Furness says of the pair's longstanding romance. "And here we are, 18 years. Is it 18?"
Over their many years together, Jackman has sported a variety of looks, particularly when he's flexing his Wolverine muscles on the big screen, but Furness says she prefers her hunky hubby sans-signature claws and scruffy beard.
"I like him clean-shaven," the 57-year-old blond beauty admits. "But I like him all ways: chubby, muscley, skinny. I'm always having affairs."
In addition to their love of acting, both Hugh and Deborra share a passion for philanthropy.
Furness currently serves as a board member of Worldwide Orphans in Australia and has been working hard to help create a National Adoption Awareness Week.
"I'm working with Americans to create an international campaign to shine a light on the fact that there are 153 million orphans in the world," she says. "If that were a country, it would be the ninth-largest in the world, just ahead of Russia."
The couple is clearly grateful for their charmed life together, which is one of the many reasons why Jackman is a joy to work with on set.
"With many actors of his magnitude of stardom, there can be an aspect of their existence that's royal and apart," Jim Mangold, director of Wolverine says. "But that's not the way with Hugh. He's got an exuberance and unguardedness, and he talks to everybody on set. He loves life and is really grateful for the one that's been granted to him."