Actors Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh were the British power couple of the early 1990s, and their whirlwind romance quickly led to marriage. However, Branagh’s infidelity with fellow star Helena Bonham Carter doomed the relationship.
Thompson and Branagh began their turbulent courtship after meeting on the set of the BBC TV series Fortunes of War where they played a couple. On-screen love scenes led to real-life ones. Thompson was captivated by her co-star’s limitless drive, saying that “he was incandescent with ambition and performance energy.”
In 1989, they married in a lavish ceremony, and quickly became known as the golden couple of British cinema, starring in a number of productions together (often as on-screen lovers).
However, by 1994, the marriage was on the rocks. Branagh starred in the film adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein alongside Helena Bonham-Carter and the two began a passionate affair. Surprisingly, Thompson and Bonham Carter starred together in the film Howards End in 1992.
Thompson describes the “humiliation” of the affair but says she has long forgiven Bonham Carter, describing herself and her rival as “slightly mad and a bit fashion-challenged. Perhaps that’s why Ken loved us both. She’s a wonderful woman, Helena.”
The marriage could not survive under these circumstances and the couple divorced in 1995. Branagh would go on to have a public relationship with Bonham Carter until they split in 1999.
More recently, Thompson, Bonham Carter, and Branagh have both appeared in the Harry Potter film series (with no shared scenes).