Two-time Oscar-winner Emma Thompson has admitted she was “utterly blind” to her ex-husband Kenneth Branagh’s on-set relationships with other actresses and was left devastated when she found out.
The Love Actually star married Branagh in 1989 after they met on the set of the 1987 drama series Fortunes of War.
When the couple’s marriage ended in 1995, it emerged that Branagh had been seeing fellow actress Helena Bonham Carter, who played his love interest in the 1994 film Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which he also directed.
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In the November issue of the New Yorker, Thompson, who starred alongside Bonham Carter in the 1992 literary adaptation Howard’s End, spoke of her pain and humiliation when she found out.
“I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set,” Thompson told interviewer John Lahr.
“What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.”
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Branagh and Bonham Carter went on to have a five-year relationship. In a 2020 interview with the Guardian, Bonham Carter described the controversy surrounding their romance as “all blood under the bridge.”
Recalling how the collapse of her six-year marriage affected her mental health, Thompson said: “I was half alive. Any sense of being a lovable or worthy person had gone completely.”
CNN has contacted Branagh and Bonham Carter’s representatives for comment.
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Thompson, whose film credits also include Matilda and Nanny McPhee, found love again with Greg Wise, her co-star in Sense and Sensibility, for which she won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
She said Wise, whom she married in 2003, “picked up the pieces and put them back together.” The couple share two children.
Reflecting on her life with Wise, Thompson said: “I’ve learned more from my second marriage just by being married. As my mother says, ‘The first twenty years are the hardest.'”
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