Here are some photos of Emma Thompson promoting her new Peter Rabbit book (they gave her the franchise a few years ago) in London yesterday. This new book is called The Christmas Tale Of Peter Rabbit. I love Emma’s side-projects. It would be enough that she’s simply a wonderful actress, of course, but I love that she also has these delightful little side-projects like “taking over the Peter Rabbit franchise” and “advocating for refugees and the adoption of refugee children.” And now there’s a new layer for “Emma is lovely, amazing”: Emma has given a new interview where she talks candidly about how “monogamy is an odd state.”
Monogamy in the modern day is an “odd state”, the Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has said, as she argues it is too easy to be “caught by the happy-ever-after ideal”.
Thompson, star of Howards End, The Remains of the Day and Love Actually, said there could be “other models” for romantic happiness, as she admitted relationships are “very hard work”. Speaking during a webchat for parenting website Mumsnet, the actress suggested there could be “another model that is three relationships over the three stages of your life”.
Thompson, who separated from Kenneth Branagh in 1995 after drifting apart, is now married to actor and producer Greg Wise. The couple have one daughter and a son; an orphan and former child soldier informally adopted from Rwanda aged 16. The actress has now answered questions from members of Mumsnet about her latest book, The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit, how to foster a love of reading in children, feminism and her work on-screen.
When asked about her role in film Love Actually, where her character discovers her husband is having an emotional affair with a younger colleague, Thompson said: “That’s hard for me to imagine – being able to have a relationship like that whilst living at home. It seems odd to me.”
“However,” she added, “I do think that monogamy is an odd state, and actually I think it’s an odd state for women. I think that we’re locked into certain ideas and certain romantic ideals that have shaped our thinking about relationships for some time. And I do sometimes wonder about whether there are alternatives, and about whether our fury and rage and disbelief and horror about infidelity is quite realistic. I, of course, have got the t-shirt, so I understand the feelings very well but I think as I get older and think about long-term relationships, I do see that they can change.”
Thompson said she had watch “lots” of friends in changing relationships, adding: “We all live so long now! I sometimes wonder whether, whilst there is of course a completely wonderful monogamous model, that we’d all love because it feels safe and secure and there’s probably less work, than say another model that is three relationships over the three stages of your life. Your young life, your middle life, and your late life.”
“All I’m suggesting is that there are other models and I’m also suggesting that we’d been a little bit caught by the happy-ever-after ideal. All the fairy stories end when people get married and go off into the sunset, there are very few stories that deal with the nuts and bolts and actualities of serious relationships.”
She added: “I think that relationships are very hard work, that we can take our eyes off the ball very easily, I think that children can be a huge strain on relationships – it depends on what kind of relationship you have.”
The actress also spoke about misogyny in the film industry and the lack of role models for young women in a “cult of celebrity” and “emptiness”.
Saying she now visited schools to speak to girls, she said she had been “taken aback and saddened” to hear how difficult it was to find “people who are speaking with any kind of muscular integrity and intelligence” in the media. She added there was still “a lot of misogyny in the film industry”, with older women losing jobs once they hit the menopause.
“I tend to think if you’re going to do anything in this industry you just have to be so much better than the guys, and then even if you are, there’s resentment,” she said. “Stories about women are so rare. Films about women are so rare. We just have to keep writing them, and we just have to keep trying, whilst remaining aware of the huge challenges. I’ve travelled around a lot and spoken to a lot of women in a lot of different places and lines of work, and it seems clear to me that the world is simply not woman-friendly at the moment, and there’s a great deal of work to be done on many fronts.”
God, I love her. What a role model. What a queen. What a mentor. I have, as she says, “got the t-shirt” for Emma Thompson. I believe in Emma Thompson. I worship her. As for the particulars of what she’s saying – it’s not like she’s advocating for a whole re-do of how we think of relationships or anything. She’s basically telling women and men to be more realistic about everything, that sometimes the person you love at the age of 20 is not the person you will love at the age of 45. And that all relationships take work and it’s not a fairy tale. And then the bit about feminism and all… she’s magnificent.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.