Dame Emma Thompson appears on television screens around the world each Christmas as people boost their festive spirit by watching Love Actually. But why did Dame Emma’s iconic performance in Love Actually recently cause unprecedented floods of tears around the world as the backstory for the actress’s motivation was revealed?

Dame Emma Thompson, 60, landed her first professional acting role in a touring stage version of Not the Nine O’Clock News in 1982.

She achieved another breakthrough in 1987 when she won leading roles in two television miniseries: Fortunes of War and Tutti Frutti.

In Fortunes of War, she starred opposite notable actor Kenneth Branagh, who she later went on to marry.

The couple married in 1989 and went on to appear in several films together, with Mr Branaugh often casting her in his own productions.

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However, it later emerged that Mr Branagh was having an affair with actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Mr Branaugh had met Ms Bonham Carter on the set of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994.

They began dating publicly after his divorce from Dame Emma until they broke-up in 1999.

In 2013, Dame Emma told the Sunday Times: “I’ve had so much bloody practise 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.”

She also said that despite everything, she believes Ms Bonham Carter is a “wonderful woman”.

She told the Sunday Times: “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 also added they were quite similar and said: “Perhaps that’s why Ken loved us both. She’s a wonderful woman, Helena.”

In the wake of her relationship breakdown with Mr Branaugh, Dame Emma entered a clinical depression.

Luckily, while filming Sense and Sensibility in 1995, she met Greg Wise, 53, who played Willoughby.

The couple began a relationship which helped her “pick up the pieces”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 she said: “Work saved me and Greg saved me. He picked up the pieces and put them together again.”

Together the couple has one daughter, Gaia, who was born in 1999, marrying her now-husband Mr Wise in 2003, who she is now still with to this day.

Dame Emma will appear on The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm on BBC One tonight alongside Robert Downey Jr to speak about the new fantasy film Dolittle.



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