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Helena Bonham Carter - Biography

Helena Bonham Carter is a hugely prolific actress who is perhaps best known for her collaborations with Tim Burton as well as her roles in The King's Speech, Harry Potter and The Crown

Helena Bonham Carter
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Helena Bonham Carter is a hugely prolific actress who is perhaps best known for her collaborations with Tim Burton as well as her roles in The King's Speech, Harry Potter and The Crown. Find out everything to know about the star here... 

Helena's early life

The actress is the granddaughter of a Baroness and a Spanish ambassador to Norway and Canada and the great-granddaughter of former prime minister Herbert Henry Asquith. Her father Raymond is a former merchant banker (her two older brothers, Thomas and Edward, are both bankers as well), and her mother Elena a psychotherapist. Helena, who was born in London in 1966, grew up wanting to go into acting from an early age, making her professional acting debut in a TV advert aged 16.

helena bonham carter© Photo: Getty Images
Helena Bonham Carter has been nominated for an Oscar twice

Helena's early roles

Helena rose to fame following her first collaboration with director James Ivory for A Room With A View in 1986. She spent much of the next decade in a corset, starring in big screen versions of classic novels such as Where Angels Fear To Tread and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and works of Shakespeare, including 1990's Hamlet and an update of Twelfth Night in 1996. 

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Helena as Princess Margaret

Though she also garnered much acclaim and a BAFTA nomination for her role in 1992's Howards End, it was The Wings Of A Dove, a film adaptation of the famed Henry James novel, that made her Edwardian typecast official, gaining her a shelf full of accolades and her first Oscar shortlist. 

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Helena at the Ocean's 8 premiere

However, at least one film choice foreshadowed the off-the-wall turn her career was about to make her co-starring role as Woody Allen's neurotic American wife in 1995's Mighty Aphrodite."I have this sort of idealistic belief that we're all capable of being many different people," she explained. "That we have many facets, but we just bring out different bits not necessarily consciously according to who we're with. I don't know, I'm probably more naturally quirky and probably feel more comfortable playing sort of modern-day oddballs." 

Helena's worldwide fame 

Helena has since become a household name, and has been twice nominated for an Oscar for her roles in The Wings of the Dove and The King's Speech. She has since gone on to star in blockbusters and period dramas alike, including portraying Princess Margaret in The Crown, as well as roles in Harry Potter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Enola Holmes, Ocean's 8 and the movie adaptation of Les Misérables. 

helena bonham carter © Photo: Getty Images
Helena and Tim Burton

Helena's love life 

The star dated fellow period piecer Kenneth Branagh for four years after meeting him on the set of Frankenstein. The couple met while Kenneth was still married to fellow actor Emma Thompson, who reflected on the affair in 2018, saying: "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. She's a wonderful woman."

helena bonham © Photo: Rex
Helena was in a relationship with Kenneth Branaugh

Helena went on to marry director Tim Burton, the wacky mind behind Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks! and the film that brought them together, Planet Of The Apes. During their relationship, the pair collaborated on many films including  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. They lived next door to one another in adjoining houses, and welcomed a son and a daughter. They announced their decision to split in 2014, with Helena telling the Evening Standard: "With divorce, you go through massive grief—it is a death of a relationship, so it's utterly bewildering. Your identity, everything, changes." She has been in a relationship with art historian Rye Dag Holmboe since 2018. 

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Helena with her ex-husband Tim Burton

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