Hugh Jackman has always known the day would come when he would have to explain his difficult history with his parents to his own kids.

The 54-year-old actor, who has long spoken about his challenging childhood, is now wrestling with these awkward conversations, as his role in the the new film The Son has brought up past memories.

Hugh has previously said that his mother abandoned him as a child, which he later understood was because she suffered a mental-health crisis at the time, and his dad recently died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Hugh has seen the best and worst of the human condition, and for a long time, he wanted to shield his kids from that,” a source told Woman’s Day.

But now, their adopted children Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17, are learning the truth, even if Hugh’s wife Deborra-Lee Furness has her own reservations.

Speaking to the media ahead of the premiere of The Son, Hugh says he felt compelled to prepare Oscar and Ava for the film’s plot, which tells the story of a complicated family that tries to piece itself back together after falling apart – a story eerily similar to Hugh’s own.

“It was very important that I talk to them about what it was about, what it meant to me, and why I was doing it,” he says.

“I took them with me to see it and we had a long conversation. What I find amazing is the generation of 22 to 17-year-olds are totally fine having these conversations. It’s more my generation that is a little more sheepish and shy around it.”

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.