Hugh Jackman: I was full of rage as a child
Hugh Jackman head-butted lockers when he was at school, as it helped him deal with the intense rage he felt at his mother leaving.
The 46-year-old actor's mother Grace left the family when he was eight and it had a profound effect on him. By the time he reached his early teens Hugh became angry, because that was when he finally accepted that his parents were never going to get back together.
"There was this perfect storm of hormones and emotion," he told Parade magazine. "I’ve never said this before: I just remembered that we had those metal [school] lockers, and for some reason, half in fun, we used to head-butt the lockers until there was a dent in them. Like, who was the toughest and craziest?"
Hugh started playing rugby too, but it wasn't that helpful. Far from allowing him to channel his emotions, it caused them to blow up, as he would get angry whenever someone touched him. He calls this his "Wolverine rage", in reference to the famously furious superhero he portrays in movies.
The star has thought often about what made him this way, and he believes it can all be traced back to how "powerless" he felt when his mother passed away. He had four siblings and was the youngest, which meant he often felt scared and alone.
"I was the youngest. I used to be the first one home and I was frightened to go inside. I couldn’t go into the house on my own. I’d wait outside, scared, frustrated," he recalled.
The star was also terrified of the dark and of heights, but this also made him emotional because he hated being "limited".
One thing which gave him some solace was religion. He was raised in a church-going household and he credits this with showing him that acting was his future.
"I used to go to different evangelists' [revival] tents all the time. When I was about 13, I had a weird premonition that I was going to be onstage, like the preachers I saw," he explained.
Even now he likens being on the stage to a religious experience, adding it is the one place where he can truly be himself. Acting gives him peace, and when he's going it he feels blissful and calm.
- Cover Media