Emma Thompson reveals how her own heartbreak inspired THAT Love Actually scene

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Susan Devaney
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Actress Emma Thompson has opened up about how having her own heart broken helped her play the character of Karen in the film Love Actually

It was the scene in Love Actually that made everyone cry. The one where the character of Karen, played by Emma Thompson, leaves the room to sob as she discovers her husband Harry, played by Alan Rickman, is having an affair.

How did she know? Because instead of receiving the beautiful gold necklace he’d bought, she got another Joni Mitchell CD. Yes, women are savvy like that.

Now, Thompson has revealed the real heartache she suffered in her own marriage that inspired her acting in the scene. Speaking at a fundraiser at the Tricycle Theatre in North West London, she said:

“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through.”

Thompson was referring to the infidelity in her own marriage when ex-husband, actor Kenneth Branagh, had an affair with actress Helena Bonham Carter. 

“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 explained. “Well it wasn’t exactly that, but we’ve all been through it.”

The pair married in 1989 and divorced in 1995. 

The pair fell in love on the set of BBC drama Fortunes Of War in 1987. 

In 2013, Thompson said she’d forgiven Bonham Carter for the affair – but didn’t mention Branagh.

“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,” Thompson explained in an interview with The Sunday Times

“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.”

And now, we’re crying all over again.

Images: Rex Features