Emma Thompson reveals how real life heartbreak inspired her Love Actually performance

"I had my heart very badly broken by Kenneth Branagh," she said

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Emma Thompson attends the Laugh Gala and UK Premiere of

Emma Thompson called upon the breakdown of her relationship with ex-husband Kenneth Branagh while playing the role of jilted wife Karen in Love Actually.


One of the film’s most memorable scenes sees Thompson’s character break down in tears – to the melancholic sounds of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now – after realising that her husband (Alan Rickman) has bought a piece of jewellery for another woman. It’s the moment that it finally lands that he is having an affair.

“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through”, she told the audience at a fundraiser for the Tricycle Theatre in London last year. Check out the heartbreaking scene below.

“I had my heart very badly broken by Ken [Branagh],” she continued, “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.”

Thompson and Branagh split in 1994 after his alleged affair with actress Helena Bonham Carter on the set of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The pair went on to date for five years after Branagh and Thompson had divorced.


However, Thompson told the Sunday Times in 2013 that she held no hard feelings for Bonham Carter: “Helena and I made our peace years and years ago”.