Hugh Jackman reconciled with the mother who abandoned him at the age of eight after having children of his own helped him better understand her private struggles.
The Hollywood actor, 52, went viral this week after sharing a sweet photo on Instagram with his mum, Grace McNeil, which led fans to discover the heartbreaking story behind their relationship.
And an interview from 2012 has now resurfaced in which Hugh spoke about his personal journey to making peace with his mother.
Empathy: Hugh Jackman reconciled with the mother who abandoned him at the age of eight after having children of his own helped him better understand her private struggles. Pictured: the actor with his mother, Grace McNeil, in an undated photo
The X-Men star told The Australian Women's Weekly he felt traumatised and ashamed for years after his mother left his family in Australia and returned to the UK.
But he came to realise over time that she was struggling with postnatal depression without a proper support system.
'At the time, it was difficult,' he said. 'One of the main things I remember is that horrible feeling that people were talking about you and looking at you because it was odd for the mother to leave.
'For many years, I thought it was not going to be forever, so I clung on to that. Up until about the age of 12 or 13, I thought mum and dad would get back together... Realising it wasn't going to happen was probably the toughest time to be honest.'
Forgiveness: The actor, 52, went viral this week after sharing this sweet photo on Instagram with mum Grace, which led fans to discover the heartbreaking story behind their relationship
Years later Hugh spoke to his mother about her decision to leave, and realised she had her own battles he wouldn't have been able to understand as a child.
'I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born suffering from post-natal depression,' he said.
'And then you add five kids into the mix and the fact she had emigrated from England and there wasn't a support network for her here, plus the fact that dad was at work all day - and you realise that as parents we make mistakes.'
Hugh explained that having children of his own with wife Deborra-Lee Furness - they share son Oscar, 21, and daughter Ava, 16, both adopted - gave him 'another level of empathy and understanding' that allowed him to build bridges with his mother.
'There comes a certain point in life when you have to stop blaming other people for how you feel or the misfortunes in your life,' he added.
Meanwhile, fans in their thousands have praised Hugh for finding the strength to forgive his mother for walking out on him, after his heartwarming photo of the pair - simply captioned 'Mum' - made headlines on Tuesday.
One wrote on Facebook: 'It's amazing that you have come to accept and forgive your mother. You're such a great person, because you not only lost your mother at such a tender age but your two sisters as well. Thank God you had such a lovely father.'
Learning: Hugh explained that having children of his own with wife Deborra-Lee Furness - they share son Oscar, 21, and daughter Ava, 16, both