The X-Men star reveals he frequently witnessed his father beating his mother growing up and felt powerless because he was unable to help her - and that's why it is important for him to work with officials at the Refuge organisation to honour his mum and provide help where needed.

"When I was a child I felt alone...," he tells U.S. news organisation CNN. "Witnessing the fights, the anger, the raised fists and then the violence and police called and doctors and once an ambulance to take my mother away.

"In my house, I would hear policeman say to my mother..., 'It takes two to make an argument', or 'You must have done something to anger him...'

"It was a secret... I had in my past," he continues. "So it's important to let people know that they're not alone. I went public with this, I used myself as an example to say, 'You can get over this. There is a life beyond this and there are people that can help'.

"It's very simple for me because I can say I support Refuge because of my mother; because I couldn't help her when I was younger."