Emma Thompson was ‘blind’ to ex Kenneth Branagh’s affairs

Nearly 30 years after the collapse of her first marriage and nearly 20 years after the start of her second, actress and author Emma Thompson admits she suffered temporary blindness many years ago.

“I was completely oblivious to the fact that he was having relationships with other women on set,” she tells the New Yorker, speaking of actor-director Kenneth Branagh, her first spouse. “What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.”

Branagh and Thompson separated in 1995, ending six years of marriage after he had an affair a year earlier with Helena Bonham Carter, his leading lady in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Branagh and Bonham Carter were high profile personalities until 1999.

Thompson, meanwhile, was shaken.

“I was half alive. Any feeling of being a lovable or worthy person was completely gone,” she told the New Yorker. It took a relationship with Sense & Sensibility co-star Greg Wise to bring her back to life. The two met while filming the film in 1995 and married in 2003.

They are still together 19 years after they tied the knot.

“I learned more from my second marriage just because I’m married,” Thompson said. “As my mom says, ‘The first 20 years are the hardest.'”

She and Bonham Carter made their peace “years and years ago,” Thompson told the British Sunday Times magazine in 2013.

“You can’t hold onto something like that,” Thompson said at the time. “I’m just thinking… pfft. It’s pointless. I don’t have the strength for it.”

But the ‘Bridget Jones’ Baby’ and ‘Last Christmas’ screenwriter used the negative energy of their breakup to fuel her well-known ‘Love, Indeed’ performance, in which she played a devoted wife who learns her husband (played by the late Alan Rickman) was unfaithful.

In the film, she finds out the truth when she opens a Christmas present, which she assumes is a romantic necklace, which she stumbled across in his jacket pocket, only to find he gave it to another woman while he choose a Joni Mitchell CD for her.

“That scene where my character is crying by the bed is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through,” Thompson said at an event in 2018. “Ken broke my heart really badly. 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.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-11-11/emma-thompson-kenneth-branagh-infidelity-cheating Emma Thompson was ‘blind’ to ex Kenneth Branagh’s affairs

Sarah Ridley

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