Deborra Lee Furness: It’s tough when your baby becomes a sassy teenager

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As we discussed in a prior post, I am gob-smacked that Oscar and Ava Jackman are teenagers. Oscar’s heading off to college – I’m stunned! I remember when he was first photographed and when he was walking and playing on the beach… (okay, I *might* be overly invested in someone else’s kid). According to their mother, Deborra Lee Furness, she can’t believe it either. Not just because she has to stock the pantry for two teenagers, but because they’ve developed teenage personalities as well – and that includes talking back.

Time flies! Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman still can’t believe they’re the proud parents of two teens.

“That’s the hard part,” the actress, 63, told Us Weekly exclusively at Ads-Up presents It’s Your Shout Gala when asked about watching Oscar, 18, and Ava, 13, grow up. “I’ve got a son about to go to college, which blows my mind because I still think of him as my baby boy, and my 13-year-old daughter is about to go to high school. They’re extraordinary beings and they’ve probably taught me more than any other lesson in life.”

The pre-teen age was when her and Jackman’s kids started “to pull away and express their independence,” Furness told Us. She added: “It’s tough when they’ve been your little baby girl and all of a sudden they’re an independent sassy teenager, so buckle up, buckle in and listen.”

[From Us]

I probably will not stop crowing about how much I love teenagers until mine become adults and I decide that’s the best age. Don’t get me wrong, my kids were awesome children. They were funny and loving and everything that makes small kids wonderful. I am simply not a small kid person. So now that they are at an age I relate to, I’m enjoying the heck out of it. To Deborra’s point, I don’t love the sass talking but since our conversations are so much more interesting, I probably give it more of a pass than I should. Mine are still at the cusp of teenagerhood so a well-placed, “Don’t use that tone with me,” still brings them back to respectful. I guess check back with me in three years, maybe I’ll have a few military school brochures by then.

The part I appreciate the most is that Deb’s advice is to listen to teens and kids. I think that’s the part that we, as adults, forget. And it’s not just parents, it’s all the adults in a child’s life.

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21 Responses to “Deborra Lee Furness: It’s tough when your baby becomes a sassy teenager”

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  1. Snowflake says:

    I love that she’s not wearing heels in that pic with Hugh. I hate wearing heels

  2. Taya says:

    I would think the hardship in their lives is hanging out with Ivanka and Jared when you have a son who is a POC.

    Maybe they’re sassing their parents because of the company their parents keep. If my parents were friends with Nagini and Ken doll, I would sass them too.

  3. Mego says:

    I’m with you – the older my kid gets the more I enjoy her. Everyone warns about the teen years but I’m looking forward to it.

    • astrid says:

      my 4 kids are aged 17-27 and I love the teenage years, both boys and girls. I struggled with the early baby years when they seemed to cry for no reason.

  4. Jess says:

    My kids are 12 and 15 and I love our conversations and the fact that we can do and watch more interesting stuff now. And I probably let my kids get too sassy too but sometimes the teen/tween drama and talking back can get very annoying.

    • Erinn says:

      I know my parents loved that aspect of the teen years too – the fact that you could have interesting conversations and have someone taking interest in more grown up topics but with their own point of view. If I was in a good mood, I was a delight as a teen haha.

      But I feel guilty for a lot of 12-19 basically. I was mouthy lol. I didn’t get into any REAL problematic trouble, but I had some major sass and angst that drove my mother up the wall. And I knew what buttons to press. I genuinely have a fear that I will end up with a tiny version of myself one day.

      But at the same time – it’s a pretty normal developmental thing. Brain development during these ages actually heightens emotional responses and teens are just more sensitive in general than children and adults because of it so their reactions to things are just automatically amplified. It’s crazy how much change a brain goes through during the teen years.

      My SIL is currently dealing with a “threenager” which I can only assume will be equally frustrating but with a much better vocabulary when she hits the teen years haha.

  5. Case says:

    I think a lot of how sassy/disrespectful teenagers can be comes down to parenting and how they were raised, honestly. It doesn’t always have to be a nightmare beyond the hormonal aspect that obviously can impact our moods and personalities. As a lot of parents have mentioned here, teen years can be really fun with limited drama. I don’t remember having any major issues with my parents at that age, but I’ve really never had fights with my parents besides the typical mother/daughter issues.

  6. MaryContrary says:

    I am a total baby person, so I’m surprised by how much I’ve loved the teen years (with a few exceptions, of course.) I love how funny and smart my teens are-and it’s so cool to see them develop into their own people.

  7. Angie says:

    I have three teenagers and still one little one- 10. My teenagers are all sons and even though I love them, I mourn the loss of the closeness I had when they were little. They create their own lives and leave their parents behind, it’s the way it is. It isn’t really the behavior- it’s the loss of that super closeness that I miss when our family was the most important thing in the world to them. My oldest son is graduating- he’s awesome, homecoming king, validictorian, dedicated athlete, but he is also pretty much already gone. I will miss him so much.

    • Kate says:

      :( That reminds me of the Crazy Ex Girlfriend episode when Paula deals with the loss of her son who was graduating from high school and leaving the house right as they were starting to get along. It made me cry to imagine since my kids are so little. I consoled myself that there would be a prolonged pre-teen and teenage period where it would happen gradually. But still…

  8. Christina says:

    Can I say that as Deborah ages she just becomes more beautiful? People always questioned her marriage to Hugh because she married a successful actor who is handsome and who caught success as a heartthrob, and she was raising kids and kicking ass in private, but not working out to get skinny or wearing fake tan. They have grown and aged together, and she looks so cute and pixie, but tough, beautiful, and normal next to him. They look more like a couple than ever.

    So many men leave their wives during the time that you put yourself before your kids, so you aren’t putting all of your time into looking perfect, and the pressure is much worse of women in Hollywood. Save the Kushner friendship, I love Deb and Hugh! This is what marriage is supposed to be, at least from the outside.

  9. Harryg says:

    Sorry but that hair? Her hair is weird.

    • Christina says:

      @HarryG, lol! I disagree, but that’s cool. Some women have thin hair, and their short style is to make it look fluffier without spending all of your time at the salon. She has the money to have people create looks and add hair extensions at her house, but she probably hates the time commitment. I stopped straightening my hair, and probably look a mess to a ton of people, but it’s my real hair and I want to spend my time on things that matter more to me. She strikes me as that type of person, someone who dyes away the grays, but has no interest in the rest of it. I don’t even dye away grays, so I probably look like a caveman to people. No disrespect to the women who love salons and perfect hair everyday.

      • Harryg says:

        Oh yeah I agree with you, I’d never spend hours fixing my hair either. What I mean is it looks almost “costumey” and I don’t remember her looking like that.

  10. KidV says:

    I hated the teen years, that was the hardest for me. My kid wasn’t overly dramatic or problematic, I just hated the hubris that came with him thinking he knew everything. The funny part is my son and I are two peas in a pod, we’re exactly the same. I made many phone calls to my mom apologizing for my teen hubris. LOL

  11. NotSoSocialButterfly says:


    Oh, my gosh- with your comment about small children (my favorite age), I thought of
    ‘The Tattle Phone” segment of episode 672/This American Life/No Fair!

    It was so charming- it had me grinning ear-to-ear as I listened! It made me nostalgic for those long-gone days.

  12. Adrianna says:

    Teenagers are funny and smart. I miss those years in some ways.

  13. Dazed and confused says:

    I teach 8th graders. On purpose. I think they are hilarious. They have a very interesting take on the world and it’s fun to see thing through that lens. I don’t really have an issue with attitude, but mostly, that is because I just don’t let it happen. Which is easier for me than their parents – I’m not having a constant battle for independence with them. But I wouldn’t change grade levels for anything. They are my favorite.

  14. Whim says:

    I think they’re best friends more than anything else. I started believing the rumours about Hugh when I read about his live-in “business partner” who even took holidays with them – John Palermo. They seem like nice people but their kids must know and they probably had chats about it. I love how they specifically chose to adopt biracial children because they were told these kids find it harder to find adoptive parents.