Emma Thompson said her heartbroken performance in 'Love Actually' was inspired by real-life cheating by Kenneth Branagh

GettyEmma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh
  • Emma Thompson said that the scene in “Love Actually” when her character cries after finding out her husband is cheating on her is drawn from real life.
  • Thompson said that her ex-husband, actor and director Kenneth Branagh, broke her heart, and it was a similar experience to her character in the movie.
  • While married to Thompson, Branagh had an affair with actress Helena Bonham Carter, which ended their marriage.

In 2003’s “Love Actually,” Emma Thompson drew her iconic performance from real-life heartbreak.

In the movie Thompson’s character, Karen, finds out that her husband (played by Alan Rickman) bought jewellery for another woman. When she discovers this, she breaks down and cries. Then, when her husband comes back in the room, she pretends like nothing is wrong.

“I’ve had so much bloody practice at crying in a bedroom,” Thompson said at a fundraiser in London on Sunday, according The Telegraph. “Then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer.”

“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through,” Thompson said.

The “practice” Thompson was referring to was from her relationship with actor and director Kenneth Branagh. In 1987, the two fell in love while playing a married couple for the BBC series “Fortunes of War.” Two years later, Thompson and Branagh got married. They went on to star in several movies together including “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Peter’s Friends” and were a popular couple in the UK.

But in 1994, Branagh met actress Helena Bonham Carter while making “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” The two had an affair. Thompson and Branagh announced their separation in 1995.

“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken,” Thompson said. “So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn’t meant for me. Well, it wasn’t exactly that, but we’ve all been through it.”

Branagh dated Bonham Carter for five years. But Thompson says she has “no hard feelings” toward her. “That is all blood under the bridge,” Thompson said. “You can’t hold on to anything like that. It’s pointless. I haven’t got the energy for it. Helena and I made our peace years and years ago. She’s a wonderful woman.”

Bonham Carter and Thompson both starred in the later “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.” Branagh starred in only the second film, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

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