Emma Thompson reveals she was ‘half alive’ after discovering husband Kenneth Branagh’s affair with fellow co-star

Nov 14, 2022
Emma Thompson opens up on her first husbands affair. Source: Getty

Iconic actress Emma Thompson has opened up about the affair of her first husband, Kenneth Branagh, with fellow co-star, Helena Bonham Carter, saying the devastating revelation left her a shell of herself.

The pair, dubbed the “Golden Couple” by UK media, met on the set of their 1987 TV series Fortunes of War and were married two years later.

The 63-year-old said Branagh had caught her attention by singing between takes, telling The New Yorkerhe was incandescent with ambition and performance energy”.

However, the actors’ marriage fell apart with Thompson’s discovery of Branagh and Bonham Carter’s affair in 1995, after the lovers met while filming the 1994 Frankenstein movie.

“I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set,” Thompson said.

“What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.

“Any sense of being a loveable or worthy person had gone completely.”

Branagh and Bonham Carter’s relationship went on for half a decade, and the trio of crossed lovers went on to act in the Harry Potter franchise together.

Despite the tumultuous time holding striking similarities to that of Thompson’s Love Actually character, the star found love again and has been married for 19 years to her Sense and Sensibility co-star Greg Wise, who Thompson says, “picked up the pieces and put them back together”.

“I’ve learned more from my second marriage just by being married,” she said.

“As my mother says, ‘The first 20 years are the hardest.’”

The actress is known for being open and honest about her relationships, even going as far as discussing sex. 

In a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Heraldthe 63-year-old said the taboo topic should be discussed more in order to normalise pleasure, despite the world being “ashamed” and “deeply disrespectful about sex”.

“Here we are having a meal, and we’ll talk about the food until kingdom come, but we don’t talk about sex, or at least we don’t talk about pleasure,” she said to journalist Karl Quinn.

“And I feel it’s a big mistake to cut it so entirely out of our life. I think it leads to a great deal of unhappiness, mental illness, and indeed is part of the problem of violence.”

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