Deborra-Lee Furness returns to TV after five-year break from acting

Deborra-Lee Furness stars in Hyde And Seek, an Australian TV thriller created by Kiwi-based writing team Rachel Lang and ...

Deborra-Lee Furness stars in Hyde And Seek, an Australian TV thriller created by Kiwi-based writing team Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan.

She is regularly photographed at high-profile events and when she is doing something mundane such as simply walking along the street. Usually any pictures of her are alongside her famous A-list husband Hugh Jackman, who stars in the X Men movie franchise and has appeared in films such as Les Miserables and Van Helsing.

However, there is more to actress and children's advocate Deborra-Lee Furness, who is often referred to as "Hugh Jackman's wife".

Furness and Jackman have been married for 21 years and have two adopted children – Oscar, 17, and Ava, 11.

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness. The couple have been married for 21 years.
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Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness. The couple have been married for 21 years.

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While Hugh's profile has soared, Deborra-Lee has been keeping busy with a variety of projects including an Australian adoption advocacy organisation called Adopt Change.

An actress in her own right whose credits include Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and SeaChange, Deborra-Lee stepped away from the profession but is now back on TV in Hyde And Seek.

Emma Hamilton who plays New Zealand lawyer Claire McKenzie in Hyde And Seek describes Deborra-Lee Furness as "an ...

Emma Hamilton who plays New Zealand lawyer Claire McKenzie in Hyde And Seek describes Deborra-Lee Furness as "an extraordinary woman".

In this Australian thriller, which was created by the successful New Zealand-based TV writing team of Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan, Furness plays Claudia Rossini, the Director of Counter-Terrorism for ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation).

"It was a huge break for me," says Furness of her time away from acting work.

"And frankly quite nerve-racking going back to work."

Deborra-Lee Furness had a crush on Lorenzo Lamas. The actor played Lance Cumson, the irresponsible grandson of Angela ...

Deborra-Lee Furness had a crush on Lorenzo Lamas. The actor played Lance Cumson, the irresponsible grandson of Angela Channing (played by Jane Wyman) on the 1980s soap opera Falcon Crest.

"I had not worked as an actor for about five years. I was in New York, I had the kids, I was just doing other things. 

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"They asked me to do this and I thought, 'Yeah, maybe I should go back' and it just sort of worked out that I could go back. It was good to jump back on the horse again but a little terrifying. It was like, 'Is it just like riding a bike?' and it was just like riding a bike.

"It was fun to go back and have a run in the paddock. They were all great actors. The scripts were fun and I loved the genre. What I loved is there were so many great, strong female roles."

It is a sentiment echoed by fellow Australian actress Emma Hamilton, who plays New Zealand immigration lawyer Claire McKenzie in Hyde And Seek.

"Usually in this action-thriller genre the action tends to be dominated by men," says Hamilton. "They tend to have all the fun whereas in Hyde And Seek the women give as good as they get and are equally interesting and fun on that level."

Hamilton, who has appeared in TV shows such as Mr Selfridge (as Rosie Dolly) and The Tudors, describes Furness as "an extraordinary woman".

"She's an amazing actress," says Hamilton. "She walked on set and didn't flinch. Her character had us all shaking in our boots."

Furness grew up in Melbourne and studied acting in New York. Her CV includes Australian film and TV work plus a guest role in Falcon Crest, a glitzy 1980s soap based around the California wine industry.

Furness admits she was a big fan of the series.

"Who was I mad about? I'm showing my age – Lorenzo Lamas. He was in the show. He was the big stud with the long hair. We ran into him years later. My husband informed him I had a bit of a crush on him. I was so embarrassed."

Furness, 61, and Jackman, 48, live in New York but visit Australia regularly for work and to see family and friends.

Furness is passionate about the advocacy groups she supports such as Adopt Change in Australia and Hopeland in the US, an organisation which, among other things, aims to strengthen families or provide vulnerable children who can't live at home, with suitable alternative care.

When asked if her children are proud of the work she does in this field she says: "You know what kids are like. Yeah that's Mum. Dad's an actor. They're just like that.

"But my daughter the other day had to do an essay for school and you don't even realise what they're picking up and she did a whole thing on adoption and remembered all the things I've been talking about and it made me so proud of her."

Hyde And Seek, Three, Monday, 8.30pm

 - TV Guide

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