Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson
Diane Freed

Emma Thompson was ‘blindsided’ by Kenneth Branagh affairs

He dated Helena Bonham Carter while still married to Thompson.

When British actress and Oscar winner Emma Thompson fell for fellow actor Kenneth Branagh, she fell hard. So hard, in fact, that she wasn’t even aware of his infidelities, even if many other people were.

Recommended Videos

In a deep dive on the actress in The New Yorker, Thompson revealed exactly why she fell for Branagh and how volatile their relationship was back when they were married. The two first met on the set of the 1987 drama Fortunes of War, and Thompson said Branagh sang to her and she was immediately smitten.

“I burst into tears because he sounded exactly like my father singing on ‘The Magic Roundabout,’” she said. In fact, he was a lot like her father Eric, both in his singing voice and his penchant for privacy. She also had to chase him a lot, something she also did with her father.

She talks about their time together fondly, saying things like he was “incandescent with ambition and performance energy” and that they were like “two mating lobsters, we clashed claws.”

Humphrey Barclay — a friend who directed Thompson’s first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1983 — revealed Thompson suffered torturous emotional agony while she was with Branagh.

“The Ken stuff put her through the wringer,” Barclay said. “She had a three-hour cry on my shoulder about what a brute Ken was. And then, six weeks later, she said, ‘And we’re getting married. Isn’t it lovely?’”

Of course, two married actors in their prime caused a lot of media attention. “I was embarrassed largely by the press version of our marriage,” Thompson said. “We didn’t present as glamorous in any way. I don’t think we wanted to be some power couple, and we certainly didn’t feel like it.”

Thompson said the couple decided not to go public when the marriage fell apart. Then Branagh started dating around, including the actress Helena Bonham Carter. When Thompson found out, she felt humiliated and blamed herself for her own ignorance.

“I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set,” she said. “What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.” She was shattered and felt “half alive. Any sense of being a lovable or worthy person had gone completely.”

There was, however, someone there to pick up the pieces: the actor Greg Wise. They’ve been together for twenty-seven years and married for nineteen. So it all worked out in the end.


We Got This Covered is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article What is the story of Dixon Trujillo, the son of infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco, and how did he destroy the family’s business?
Read Article Will the Try Guys disband following Eugene Lee Yang’s departure?’
The original four Try Guys, with Zach Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, Eugene Lee Yang and Zach Kornfeld
Read Article ‘Like Mr. Bean and Mick Jagger beefing’: Ayo Edebiri explains Jennifer Lopez SNL beef rumors
Jennifer Lopez and Ayo Edebiri on Saturday Night Live
Read Article Why is Eugene Lee Yang leaving ‘The Try Guys?’
Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld from The Try Guys sitting on a couch
Read Article Is there a Netflix release date for 50 Cent’s Diddy docu-series?
Photo montage of rappers 50 Cent and Diddy.
Related Content
Read Article What is the story of Dixon Trujillo, the son of infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco, and how did he destroy the family’s business?
Read Article Will the Try Guys disband following Eugene Lee Yang’s departure?’
The original four Try Guys, with Zach Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, Eugene Lee Yang and Zach Kornfeld
Read Article ‘Like Mr. Bean and Mick Jagger beefing’: Ayo Edebiri explains Jennifer Lopez SNL beef rumors
Jennifer Lopez and Ayo Edebiri on Saturday Night Live
Read Article Why is Eugene Lee Yang leaving ‘The Try Guys?’
Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld from The Try Guys sitting on a couch
Read Article Is there a Netflix release date for 50 Cent’s Diddy docu-series?
Photo montage of rappers 50 Cent and Diddy.
Author
Jon Silman
Jon Silman is a stand-up comic and hard-nosed newspaper reporter (wait, that was the old me). Now he mostly writes about Brie Larson and how the MCU is nose diving faster than that 'Black Adam' movie did. He has a Zelda tattoo (well, Link) and an insatiable love of the show 'Below Deck.'