Emma Thompson Says She Was ‘Utterly Blind’ To Kenneth Branagh’s Affair With Helena Bonham Carter

In a new interview, Emma Thompson said she was 'half alive' after learning of her first husband Kenneth Branagh's on-set affair with Helena Bonham Carter.

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Image Credit: David Fisher/Shutterstock / Joanne Davidson/Shutterstock

Emma Thompson, 63, got candid about the deterioration of her marriage to Kenneth Branagh, 61, in a new interview with The New Yorker. Emma, who was married to the British film director from 1989 to 1995, openly addressed Kenneth’s affair with Helena Bonham Carter, 56. “I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set,” the Cruella star said. “What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.”

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson; Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter (Photo: David Fisher/Shutterstock / Joanne Davidson/Shutterstock)

Kenneth started his affair with Helena in 1994, when the pair met on the set of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. They played love interests in the horror film, which Kenneth also directed. Emma found out about her husband’s infidelity and ended the marriage. “I was half alive. Any sense of being a lovable or worthy person had gone completely,” Emma said in the interview.

After the 1995 divorce, Kenneth started officially dating Helena, but the relationship only lasted until 1999. Emma, meanwhile, found love again with her Sense and Sensibility co-star Greg Wise, who she married in 2003. Emma told The New Yorker that Greg, 56, “picked up the pieces and put them back together” for her after her divorce.

Emma and Greg have been married for almost 20 years and have two children together, daughter Gaia Wise, 23, and son Tindyebwa Agaba Wise, a Rwandan refugee whom they adopted. Reflecting on her happy love life with Greg, Emma said in the interview, “I’ve learned more from my second marriage just by being married. As my mother says, ‘the first twenty years are the hardest.’ ”

It’s unclear where Emma stands with Kenneth today. In 2020, Helena told The Guardian that the marital scandal is “all blood under the bridge.” Ironically, Emma used that exact same term when she was asked about Kenneth’s affair by the Sunday Times back in 2013. Emma also 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.”

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