There’s a famously heartbreaking scene in Love Actually in which Karen (Emma Thompson) realizes her husband is having an affair. Watching her sob in her room while holding jewelry she knows her husband bought for someone else filled us with sympathy pain. As Thompson revealed in a fundraiser speech, there may be a reason why the moment was so powerful: Emma Thompson’s real-life divorce fueled her emotion in that Love Actually scene.
HuffPost and The Telegraph report that Thompson spoke at a fundraiser for a theater in Northwest London over the weekend, which is when she revealed her personal connection to the Love Actually scene. And no joke, we’re ready to cry for her all over again.
Thompson was married to actor Kenneth Branagh (yes, Gilderoy Lockhart) in the early ’90s, but their partnership had a painful ending.
The Oscar winners divorced in 1995, reportedly after Thompson discovered Branagh cheated on her with another actress. Thompson found herself with her heart “very badly broken” after six years of marriage.
In 2013, outlets revealed that Branagh had left Thompson for Helena Bonham Carter. In the two-plus decades since, though, Thompson and Bonham Carter have “made peace.” In Thompson’s own words, “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…she’s a wonderful woman.”
So 15 years later, we have an answer.
Why is the necklace scene so absolutely gutting to watch? Because Thompson’s heartbreaking performance came from a place of real pain. Fortunately, though, that’s all in the past. In 2003, Thompson married Greg Wise, and they’re still happily together (with two children) today.
For our part, we’re off to re-watch Love Actually (and cry while re-watching)…for about the billionth time.