Family man ... Hugh Jackman with his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, and their children, Oscar and Ava, in November 2011.

Family man ... Hugh Jackman with his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, and their children, Oscar and Ava, in November 2011.

Hugh Jackman says having kids of his own has helped him better understand why his mum left him and his four siblings as a child.

Jackman, 44, has spoken candidly about the heartbreaking time in his life in the November issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.

The actor was eight when his mum moved back to England, leaving him and his four siblings with their dad in Sydney.

"At the time, it was difficult ... 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," he said.

"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.

"Finally realising it wasn't going to happen was probably the toughest time, to be honest," Jackman says.

But despite the pain his mother caused him, Jackman says he could understand why she decided to leave.

"The thing I never felt, and I know this might sound strange, I never felt that my mum didn't love me," he says.

"I've spoken about it at length with her since, and I know she was struggling. She was in hospital after I was born, suffering from postnatal depression.

"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."

The Aussie star, who says he sees his mother three to four times a year, also believes his own children - Oscar, 12, and Ava, 7 - has given him more insight into his mum's decision to leave her family.

"I think having kids of your own just adds another level of empathy and understanding," he says.

He also says "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."

"You can't go through life obsessing about what might have been - it stops you from being grateful for all the wonderful things you have in your life."

For more celebrity parenting news, check out our gallery of the stars with their kids.