'My first kiss was upside down, hanging off a clothes horse at Beckford primary school. A boy called Matthew Fox and I were playing rabbits in the school play and he just leaned in… But if we're talking tongues, it was with Sam Campbell at the village disco. I was twelve and he was seventeen. I followed him around for the rest of the Easter holiday and he was so embarrassed because he'd had no idea how young I was! 

A year later, my friend Patrick Spottiswoode (he runs the Globe theatre now) took me to see The Poseidon Adventure. It was the perfect choice for a first date thanks to that scene where the man’s face is burnt off: I was able to make a noise of distress and he was able to put his arm around me. What Paddy didn’t realise was that I was desperately in love with Gene Hackman in that film- I cried buckets when he died. 

The first time I had my heart properly broken was when I was sixteen. He was a New Zealander who said he was going back to go to university, but he wasn’t; he went to a university here and I found out. I’ve had my heart broken quite a lot, actually. For me, broken means that feeling of: ‘I will never ever recover from this’. 

The notion of ‘happily ever after’ is bonkers. People aren’t honest because of the desire to maintain the romantic ideal. Recently, I was talking about Alan Rickman’s adulterous role in Love Actually and I got into trouble for daring to ask: ‘Don’t you think we might have become desperately punitive about monogamy?’ And, my goodness, the furore that provoked!

I avoid weddings because I don’t like parties. Having said that, I enjoyed both my weddings- very different though they were. My grandmother used to say your heart is no good until it’s been broken ten times. I know what she means: the cicatrices shape the way in which you navigate all your relationships. So what wise words would I impart to my younger self? ‘If whoever he is says he doesn’t love you, believe him! Do not think that you will somehow manage to persuade him to love you.”

- Emma Thompson, from 'Kiss and Tell'The Radio Times (12-18 April 2014)

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