The Helena Bonham Carter cheating scandal explained

British actor Helena Bonham Carter is best known for her roles in such films as A Room with a View, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Harry Potter, and the Netflix series The Crown. Like her film career, Bonham Carter has made a splash in the romance department. Her most high profile romance was her 13-year relationship with director Tim Burton. The pair began dating in 2001 when she was starring in Burton’s Planet of the Apes.

Burton and Bonham Carter made seven films while they were together and had two children but never officially married. Sometime circa 2014, they very quietly split. In a 2019 interview with Harper’s Bazaar (via the Independent), Bonham Carter said she was tired of mourning the relationship with Burton. “You break up, you grieve, you get bored of grieving, and then you finally move on,” she said.

Before Burton, Bonham Carter was involved in a somewhat scandalous affair with director and actor Kenneth Branagh. The scandal of it all was that Branagh was married to actress Emma Thompson when he reportedly began his relationship with Bonham Carter in 1994. Continue reading to find out what happened next between Bonham Carter, Branagh, and Thompson.

Helena Bonham Carter thinks she was villainized

Kenneth Branagh reportedly met actress Helena Bonham Carter while making Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994. Rumor has it that the two became romantically entangled, and by 1995, Emma Thompson and Branagh had announced their separation. Branagh had met Thompson while playing husband and wife on the BBC series Fortunes of War. Do you detect the “met on set” pattern here? 

Bonham Carter didn’t appreciate the way she was portrayed when the situation hit the press. “I’m a habitual, serial home breaker, apparently,’ she quipped in 2002, per the Daily Mail. “It gets frustrating because I know the story and the truth of it. It is very hurtful and, frankly, some of the things I have been called are quite libelous. But it’s part of the price of being in the public eye.”

Branagh and Bonham Carter dated for about five years before splitting up in 1999. Bonham Carter announced the separation in a statement (per The Kenneth Branagh Compendium) that read: “I am very sad to confirm that Kenneth Branagh and I are no longer together. The decision was mutual and no-one else was involved. Beyond that I have no further comment to make and I hope that the press will respect our privacy.” 

Bonham Carter may not want to talk about the end of her romance with Branagh or her alleged role in the demise of his marriage, but ex-wife Thompson has publicly spoken about the whole thing. Here’s what she had to say.

Emma Thompson made peace with Helena Bonham Carter

Emma Thompson channeled her heartbreak from husband Kenneth Branagh’s cheating scandal into one of her most iconic roles. In the 2003 film Love Actually, Thompson plays Karen, a wife scorned by her cheating husband (Alan Rickman). Apparently, she drew on her real-life experience while portraying Karen. The Evening Standard reported that while speaking at a Me Too event in 2018, Thompson recalled, “That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through. 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.” 

Thompson has since “made her peace” with Helena Bonham Carter. In an interview with the Sunday Times, via E! Online, Thompson said, “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.”

Thompson also joked (and possibly threw a little shade) when she declared that she understood why her ex-husband was attracted to Bonham Carter. “Oh, we are [alike],” she said, comparing herself with the Alice in Wonderland star. “Being slightly mad and a bit fashion-challenged. Perhaps that’s why Ken loved us both. She’s a wonderful woman, Helena.” 

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