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Emma Thompson reveals real heartbreak that inspired Love Actually scene

The star has said her heart was 'very badly broken' by ex-husband Sir Kenneth Branagh

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Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Emma Thompson has spoken about the real heartache behind her famous Love Actually scene, which sees her character sobbing after discovering her husband is having an affair. The 58-year-old starred in the hit 2003 film as Karen, who is distraught to find husband Harry has bought a necklace for his mistress as a Christmas present. Emma has now said she managed to make the scene so convincing because she too had had her heart "very badly broken" by first husband, Sir Kenneth Branagh. The former golden couple of British cinema split after eight years together in 1995 amid reports Kenneth was having an affair with Helena Bonham Carter.

emma thompson kenneth branagh wedding day© Photo: Getty Images

Emma Thompson and Sir Kenneth Branagh pictured on their 1989 wedding day

Speaking at a fundraiser for the Tricycle Theatre in North West London this week, Emma opened up about her Love Actually role. "That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it's something everyone's been through," she said. "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. Well, it wasn’t exactly that, but we've all been through it."

STORY: Emma Thompson: I have made my peace with Helena Bonham Carter over affair

emma thompson husband greg wise© Photo: Getty Images

The actress has been married to Greg Wise since 2003

Emma and Sir Kenneth, 57, met and fell in love while filming the 1987 television series, Fortunes of War. They were married in 1989 and went on to appear in a number of productions together, including Peter's Friends and Much Ado About Nothing. However, the couple filed for divorce in 1995, claiming busy work schedules had led to their split. Sir Kenneth and Helena, who worked together in the 1994 horror film, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, were in a relationship until 1999.

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Emma, meanwhile, has been with actor Greg Wise since 1995. The couple went on to welcome a daughter, Gaia, in 1999, and were married in 2003. That same year, Emma and Greg formally adopted a former child soldier from Rwanada named Tindyebwa, who they first met in a Refugee Council event when he was 16.