Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness bid farewell to their incredible New York apartment last week and friends say the move has been “an unexpected stress” for the whole family.
Hugh, 54, and Deb, who turns 67 this week, are now settling in to a smaller apartment in Chelsea, but the ordeal of downgrading from their enormous triplex penthouse has taken its toll – and forced their kids, Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17, to face the reality of their parents’ ultimate goal of moving back to Australia.
“Almost everything that didn’t go to the smaller apartment is being shipped to Oz,” reveals an insider.
“They’re serious about moving Down Under one day and this was the perfect opportunity to start sending things back. Having a smaller place has freed up money to invest in their eventual base in Australia as well, so they’re excited about taking steps towards their Aussie dream.”
However, friends say that weeks of dividing their belongings into “sell, store or send” has had a bittersweet twist. With Oscar facing his final years at university and Ava doing her finals at high school, the couple are facing a similar problem that Paul Hogan has – their kids are “American”.
“Their friends, their studies, hobbies, everything they know and love is based in New York,” adds the insider, who explains that during lockdown the thought of being in Australia was appealing to all of them, but now Oscar and Ava have rebooted their social lives, they were hoping their parents would too.
“Seeing boxes marked for Australia will have made it that much more real for them that Chelsea is nothing more than a stepping stone to Oz.”
While the source says there’s nothing that would take Hugh and Deb away from their children, particularly since they went through so much to become parents, emotions have been running high while saying goodbye to their family home.
EMOTIONAL PHONE CALL
It’s believed Hugh has been fielding emotional phone calls and visits from Oscar, who is not ready to swallow the reality of his parents ultimately returning to Australia.
Sources agree that Oscar and Ava know this is the first step towards Mum and Dad’s dream, but also for them in having to decide to go with them or not.
The couple have been open about their homesickness, with Hugh posting videos of him doing Opera House jigsaw puzzles during New York’s extensive lockdown in 2020. “My city of Sydney,” he sang to a near-complete jigsaw of the Harbour Bridge.
“I miss the warmth of you! I miss you Sydney. What I am missing more is this piece. I’ve lost it. I’ve lost a piece of my heart.”
While Deb and Hugh are both homesick, the last thing the couple want is for their kids to feel like they have to choose between their friends and their folks.
“It’s true this move is one step closer to Oz but they’re a family, and not even Bondi Beach could lure them away from Ava and Oscar’s lives. Not when things are just getting fun,” tells an insider.
Hugh opened up about how his relationship with his kids has changed now they’re getting older, telling reporters at a conference for The Son in September.
“I think for many, many years, as a parent the job was to appear strong and dependable and never worried and, ‘I don’t want to burden my child,’ but certainly since this movie I’ve changed my approach. I share my vulnerabilities more with [them] and I see their relief when I do. So hopefully the movie does start conversations and reminds us to never worry alone, that we’re all in the same boat.”