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“Sometimes you’re not meant to be together forever”: Helena Bonham Carter opens up about “heartbreaking” split

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Harriet Hall
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When Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton split in 2014, it came as a surprise to many. But, despite admitting the process was "heartbreaking", the star has opened up about how the couple are continuing to function.

Bonham Carter, 49 and Burton, 57, were together for 13 years and have two children together – 12-year-old Billy and nine-year-old Nell. The couple famously lived (and continue to live)  in separate, adjoining houses in Belsize Park and they never married.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Bonham explains that she doesn’t believe in marriage because “people are not necessarily meant to be together forever.”

The Oscar-winner’s approach to the break-up is staunchly pragmatic, saying that “[if a relationship] isn’t forever, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure. The important thing is that you have to allow the other person to grow. And if they’re not going in the same direction, however heart-breaking, you have to do what is right for that growth. It’s hard to do something for ever because life is very short.”

But the star has previously admitted that there’s a feeling of bereavement when a long-term relationship ends, telling Harper’s Bazaar earlier this month:

“You go through massive grief – it is a death of a relationship, so it’s utterly bewildering. Your identity, everything, changes.

“Everyone always says you have to be strong and have a stiff upper lip, but it’s okay to be fragile.”

HBC

Helena Bonham Carter and then husband Tim Burton at the 2013 Oscars

Despite the ups and downs, the couple continue to function as a family unit, with Bonham Carter explaining to The Sunday Times:

“Both of us are strongly individualistic and have always done our own thing, but I’d still like to think we have a sponsored_longform in raising the children.”

Additionally, the Harry Potter star believes the pair will continue to work together – Bonham Carter having starred in a number of Burton’s films including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The couple have worked together on Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, which hits cinemas this Friday.

The star also opened up about body image, saying that, as she approaches 50 “you can get depressed about little bits, and feel like, ‘Oh God, a wrinkle!’ But if you do that, you get a negative list in your head. The thing is, bits of you age at different speeds. I mean, my knees are incredibly old, they’re about 100, but there are other bits of me that are not so old.”

While comfortable with her appearance now, she admits that as a Hollywood ingénue, it was somewhat harder: 

“When I was young, it was weird. Until you have a bit of confidence in yourself and learn not to pay too much attention to body shape or looks or what people say, it can be lethal.”