While accepting the Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, Hugh Jackman turned the attention to his wife of 22 years, Deborra-lee Furness.

“You have told me life is never defined by the highlight reels,” Jackman, 50, says, starting his tribute with a laugh. “Life actually happens in between that. Life happens when the camera is not going.”

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The “Wolverine” actor had the audience “aww-ing” while he gushed about his wife in his heartfelt thank-you speech.

“You believed in me when I couldn’t. You’ve loved me with a passion and a depth that I didn’t even know existed — and I don’t think I felt that I deserved. You have pushed and encouraged me when I was scared to venture out. You have smiled me into smiling. You have sung me into singing. You have loved me into loving and like everything I do in my life, I share this with you. I love you,” he toasted Furness to much applause.

The evening began with opening remarks by J.K. Simmons and Ben Mendelsohn and his “Front Runner” director Jason Reitman, who shared a story about Jackman.

“Recently Hugh texted me a video of him tap dancing on stairs and I said, ‘What is this for?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know, I just wanted to see if I could do it,'” Reitman says to laughs.

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During the honour, Jackman’s attention was on the California wildfire and the first responders.

“My heart goes out to all those families that have been so deeply affected by the loss of life and the loss of homes and just the first responders who right now as we sit here are dealing with these things. We want to thank them,” he says.