Hugh Jackman Taught Phys. Ed Before He Became a Star of Stage and Screen

Hugh Jackman is obviously a star, but there was a time when he wasn't sure what his future would look like.


May 8 2024, Published 3:38 p.m. ET

Hugh Jackman at the 2022 Toronto film Festival.
Source: Getty Images

If you want definitive proof that stars are just like the rest of us, you need look no further than the career of Hugh Jackman. Jackman, who has starred in major motion pictures and on Broadway, is an incredibly talented multi-hyphenate performer. Long before he was well known, though, Hugh was just a regular guy trying to make it in showbiz.

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In those years, many wondered exactly what Hugh actually did for money, and one rumor suggested that he may have been a teacher. Here's what we know about whether Hugh was ever a teacher before he became one of the most famous men on the planet.

Hugh Jackman at the premiere of 'The Son' in 2023.
Source: Getty Images
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Was Hugh Jackman a teacher?

Hugh's parents split up when he was still quite young, and his mother moved to England along with his two sisters. His father, meanwhile, stayed in Australia with his three sons. After graduating from high school, Hugh decided to take a gap year in order to travel, and he wound up in England at the age of 18. It was while he was there that he was hired by Uppingham School in East Midlands as an assistant housemaster.

Hugh spent most of his time there teaching physical education and coaching sports teams, but he also spent some time tutoring freshman who were only a few years younger than him in English and drama.

"An 18-year-old Aussie teaching English to a bunch of English kids," Hugh said during an interview with the BBC. "I thought, if that was my school fees, I'd be pretty annoyed."

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He was remembered by a former housemaster as "a delightful, open sort of person. A great communicator and he would have made a brilliant schoolmaster had he continued in that direction, rather than continue with acting."

At the end of the school year, Hugh returned to Australia where he enrolled in University of Technology in Sydney as a journalism student. His tenure at the school there wouldn't last long, though.

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Hugh discovered acting almost on accident.

Hugh enrolled in drama at his university because he needed extra credits to graduate and because he'd heard it was "easy to pass."

"But I loved it. Have you ever had that feeling where you've found your people, your tribe? In that week I felt more at home with those people than I did in the entire three years at university," he said.

After discovering how much he loved it, he enrolled at a program called "The Journey" at the Actor's Centre in Sydney after he graduated from university.

"I was like the dunce of the class. It just wasn't coming right to me," he told Shave Magazine. "Everyone was cooler, everyone seemed more likely to succeed, everyone seemed more natural at it.

Hugh would work his way through Australian television and film from there before ultimately becoming the major star that we now know him as. If he hadn't needed those extra credits, he might not have pursued acting at all.

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