Actor Hugh Jackman and his wife of 27 years have announced their separation.
The Wolverine and Les Miserables star and Deborra-Lee Furness confirmed the news in a statement.
According to the US publication People, the couple said: “We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage.
“Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth.
“Our family has been and always will be our highest priority. We undertake this next chapter with gratitude, love and kindness.
“We greatly appreciate your understanding in respecting our privacy as our family navigates this transition in all of our lives.”
The statement, which was signed “Deb and Hugh Jackman”, ended: “This is the sole statement either of us will make.”
Jackman, 54, and Furness, 67, had met on the set of Australian TV show Correlli in 1995.
They got married on 11 April 1996.
The pair have two adopted children together – Oscar and Ava.
In April, Jackman, known for his roles in The Greatest Showman, The Prestige and the X-Men films, posted a tribute to Furness on Instagram on the day of their anniversary.
It said: “I love you Deb. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. 27 YEARS!!
“I love you so much. Together we have created a beautiful family. And life.
“Your laughter, your spirit, generosity, humor, cheekiness, courage and loyalty is an incredible gift to me.
“I love you with all my heart.”
Music Venue Trust makes plea to Jeremy Hunt amid fears over prospects of UK’s future music stars
The UK’s small music venues are experiencing a “full-blown crisis” – with many forced to close over the last year, a music charity has said.
The Music Venue Trust says the future of “world-beating” artists is under threat and has asked the chancellor for an extension of the 75% business rates relief introduced in April this year. It is due to come to an end in March 2024.
In an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, the charity said: “The grassroots music sector is in the middle of a full-blown crisis.
“One hundred and twenty-five venues have shut their doors for live music in the last 12 months, 15.7% of all such spaces in the UK.
“It represents the loss of 4,000 jobs, 14,250 events, 193,230 performance opportunities, £9 million of income for musicians, and £59 million in lost direct economic activity.”
Calling the closures “an immediate economic, social, and cultural blow” to local communities, they said the now dark venues had been “treasured places that bond our communities together, foster pride in the places we live, drive creativity and create aspiration”.
The UK music industry brings billions of pounds into the economy, attracting both domestic and international tourists to live events.
Earlier this year, Culture secretary Lucy Frazer announced an additional £5m investment into Arts Council England’ Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund, in recognition of the importance of its role to both boost the country’s economy as well as its soft power.
In January 2020, the then Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a special 50% business rates relief for grassroots music venues.
This was then extended to 100% during the COVID pandemic, and finally reduced to 75% in the post-pandemic economic climate.
The charity says removing the 75% rate would increase costs to the sector by £15m. They say the sector returned a profit margin amounting to just £1million in cash terms last year.
Warning that the removal of the 75% rate would “plunge the entire grassroots sector into the red,” they warned more venues would close as a result.
The open letter to Mr Hunt concludes with a heartfelt plea: “Artists will have nowhere to start their careers. The UK risks producing fewer world-beating artists as a direct result of the decision you make on this issue in your Autumn Statement.
“You have said you don’t have the economic conditions to consider tax cuts. Grassroots Music Venues don’t have the economic conditions to allow tax rises.”
The Music Venue Trust – which represents more than 900 grassroots music venues across the UK – has previously voiced concerns that emerging artists with the potential to be the next Ed Sheeran or Adele – both of whom started out playing in grassroots venues – could find their careers cut off at ground level, never realising their full potential.
Russell Brand: Metropolitan Police investigating sexual offence claims in London and elsewhere
A number of sexual offence claims relating to London and elsewhere in the UK have been made against Russell Brand.
Metropolitan Police said the allegations were all non-recent.
A statement said: “Following an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches and The Sunday Times, the Met has received a number of allegations of sexual offences in London.
“We have also received a number of allegations of sexual offences committed elsewhere in the country and will investigate these.”
There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.
Last Monday, the Met said it had received one report of alleged sexual assault from 2003 and encouraged other potential victims to come forward.
He has admitted being very promiscuous in the past, but called the reports “very serious allegations that I absolutely refute”.
In a video last week on YouTube – which has cut off his advertising revenue – he said it had been a “distressing” time.
Brand appeared on video platform Rumble on Monday and criticised an MPs’ committee for asking other social media firms if they intended to demonetise him.
He called it a “bypassing of judicial process” and suggested there was a conspiracy to silence him and “independent media voices”.
Brand told viewers: “What we appear to be looking at here are a set of collaborating institutions that have an agenda, and pursue that agenda, even when in pursuing it they have to bypass, obstruct, or absolutely ignoring existing judicial or regulatory bodies by moving straight to punitive measures.”
The claims against the 48-year-old include an allegation of rape, and that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl he was seeing.
Another woman told Sky News he made her feel “vulnerable and intimidated” and alleged he refused to call her a taxi until she performed a sex act.
The fallout from the claims has caused Brand to suspend his tour, as well as reigniting a debate about how stars are managed and monitored by the entertainment industry.
Dr Uchenna Okoye: TV dentist died ‘suddenly’ from bleed on brain
Celebrity TV dentist Dr Uchenna Okoye died from a bleed on the brain, a coroner’s report has found.
The 53-year-old, who starred on Channel 4 makeover show 10 Years Younger and was a regular contributor on ITV’s This Morning, died on 15 September after falling ill at home.
In a statement based on a coroner’s report, and released by Dr Okoye’s personal assistant, it said her “sudden death” was caused by a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
According to the NHS, this is an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding in the space between the brain and thin tissues that surround the brain.
The condition was caused by an aneurysm and “can happen for no apparent reason”, the statement read.
A family spokesperson said: “We are devastated, and our hearts are broken that her beautiful, full life has been cut so short.
“As a family, our priority right now is to take care of her young daughter and continue her legacy and keep her memory alive. A private celebration of her life will be held in the coming weeks.”
Dr Okoye ran two London dental practices and had her own range of dental products.
Read more from Sky News:
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According to an online profile of Dr Okoye, she qualified at Guy’s Hospital in London and was an expert in cosmetic dentistry.
She was an honorary clinician at St George’s Hospital in London and clinical director of London Smiling Dental Group.
After the news of her death, tributes flooded in from those who worked closely with her in the industry.
Cherry Healey, a presenter on 10 Years Younger, was among those paying tribute.
“There aren’t really the right words to say how much this absolute force of a human being will be missed and how sad this news is,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I was so fortunate to work with Dr Uchenna on @10yearsyounger for many happy years, and to then got to know her as a beautiful friend.”
This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby said: “Sending my love to her friends and family… so very sorry for your loss.”
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