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Emma Thompson Felt ‘Half Alive’ After Learning About Kenneth Branagh’s Cheating

Emma Thompson is getting candid about the pain she felt years ago after finding out her then-husband Kenneth Branagh was cheating on her.

“I was half alive,” the celebrated British actor told The New Yorker in a profile published this week. “Any sense of being a lovable or worthy person had gone completely.”

Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh in 1993.

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Thompson and Branagh had met while costarring in the BBC’s “Fortunes of War” and married in 1989, according to People. But by 1995, their marriage had fallen apart after Branagh began an affair with Helena Bonham Carter, whom he met while working on “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Branagh directed and starred in the 1994 movie as scientist Victor Frankenstein, while Carter played his adoptive sister and fiancée.

Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter in "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein."
Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter in “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”

DAVID APPLEBY/STILLS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

“I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set,” Thompson told The New Yorker. “What I learned was how easy it is to be blinded by your own desire to deceive yourself.”

Thompson credited Greg Wise, one of her costars in 1995′s “Sense and Sensibility,” for getting her back on her feet. Wise “picked up the pieces and put them back together,” she said. The two have been a couple for 27 years and married in 2003.

Greg Wise and Emma Thompson in 2019.
Greg Wise and Emma Thompson in 2019.

Steven Ferdman/WireImage,)

Branagh and Bonham Carter were together for several years before splitting in 1999.

Thompson has previously said that her memorable performance in 2003′s “Love Actually” ― in which her character discovers that her husband has purchased an expensive necklace for another woman ― was inspired by her experience with Branagh.

“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken,” she told The Telegraph. “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.”

But Thompson also clarified that she held nothing against Bonham Carter.

“Helena and I made our peace years and years ago … she’s a wonderful woman,” Thompson said.

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