Australian actor Hugh Jackman has described his wife’s nomination for Australian of the Year as 'the biggest moment for either of us in our public lives, by a mile.'
In a hand-on-heart speech in the foyer of the Empire State Building in New York on Saturday, Jackman said he was 'immensely proud' of his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, for her work on adoption issues.
The couple adopted two children, Oscar and Ava, while living in the US.
Deborra-Lee first became involved in adoption issues after discovering how tough the process of adoption can be in Australia.
She was the prime mover behind Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to make international adoption easier, cheaper, and faster. She sees adoption as a three-wheeled wagon, comprising the rights of adopted children, their biological parents, and their adoptive parents.
Deborra-Lee has flown to Australia for the Australia Day gala in Canberra. She is the NSW finalist for the year. Other finalists include the domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.
Jackman told a crowd of Australians - and thrilled tourists at the Empire State Building -that 'it kills me that I can’t be there.' (He is performing on Broadway.)
'But and at 2:30am on Sunday, I will be watching the live feed on the computer, as she is one of the finalist for the Australian of the Year,' he said.
‘I don’t think there is a equivalent honour in America. It is the highest honour you can get in our country.
'I am immensely proud of what my wife has achieved even in becoming a finalist.
'It kills me that I can’t be there It is the biggest moment for either of us in our public lives by a mile.'
Jackman was at the Empire State Building for the second annual bathing of the tower in green and gold light, to celebrate the relationship between Australia and the US on Australia Day.
'Now, I’m lucky enough to have a view of the Empire State Building,' he said. 'So at 2:30am on Sunday, I will have one eye on the computer, on the live feed, and one eye on the Empire State Building in green and gold.
'This really means the world to us.'