Emma Thompson reveals real-life heartache behind tearful Love Actually scene

Emma Thompson in Love Actually (Credit: Universal Pictures)
Emma Thompson in Love Actually (Credit: Universal Pictures)

The tears shed by Emma Thompson in Love Actually, at the moment where she realises her husband is cheating on her, were real, the actress has revealed.

The scene dredged up feelings from when she discovered that her then ex-husband, the actor and director Kenneth Branagh, had been having an affair with Helena Bonham Carter.

“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through,” she said at a fundraising event for the Tricycle Theatre in north west London.

“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. 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.”

In the movie, Thompson’s Karen finds an expensive necklace in the jacket of her husband Harry, played by Alan Rickman.

Thompson with ex-husband Kenneth Branagh (Credit: Getty)
Thompson with ex-husband Kenneth Branagh (Credit: Getty)

However, she later discovers that it is not meant for her, but for Mia (played by German actress Heike Makatsch), Harry’s new secretary.

Thompson and Branagh were married in 1989, two years after meeting on the set of the BBC drama Fortunes of War.

However, their marriage ended when it emerged that Branagh had started an affair with Bonham Carter after meeting her on the movie Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which he directed.

Speaking to The Sunday Times in 2013, she said: “I’ve had so much bloody practice at crying in a bedroom, then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer.

“That is… all blood under the bridge. You can’t hold on to anything like that. I just think… pfft.

“It’s pointless. I haven’t got the energy for it.. Helena and I made our peace years and years ago… she’s a wonderful woman.”

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