“I’m miles happier than when I was younger.” How Helena Bonham Carter Wasn’t Afraid of Having a Child After 40 and Found Love After 50
In a recent interview, Helena Bonham Carter said she wouldn’t like to be young again. On the verge of her 60th birthday, she feels happier than ever. She’s in high demand in her profession and is in love with a handsome man, much younger than her. Moreover, she’s ready to prove to the world that aging is a cool thing if you look at it from the right angle.
Helena Bonham Carter is known for her incredible talent for transformation: Cruel Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter, kind chimp Ari from Planet of the Apes, and Queen Elizabeth from The King’s Speech.
Many other actresses would be jealous of her track record. But such a variety of roles became accessible to her only with age. It’s hard to believe it today, but at the start of her career, Helena kept playing very similar characters.
The first main role she played was Grey in Lady Jane. The film premiered in 1986, and the critics weren’t thrilled. But the young actress was noticed and got many new offers. She’d mostly get characters from the past, damsel-in-distress types, so she often got the offensive nickname “Corset queen.”
“I looked, as someone said, like a bloated chipmunk,” Helena remembers those years. She needed a lot of time to really show her incredible acting talent and prove she was a master of transformation.
As she got older, Carter got more and more offers. Her talent was even appreciated by the royal family. Once, she met Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II. She told the actress, “Oh, Helena, yes, you are getting better at acting.” Of course, nobody knew Helena would play Margaret in the famous series The Crown.
Her private life started to develop later in life. She began dating Tim Burton when she was 35. It wasn’t just a union of a man and a woman, but a team of geniuses.
She became the muse of the director, and she starred in many of his movies: Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. In 2014, they broke up. Carter said, “It might be easier to work together without being together anymore. He always only cast me with great embarrassment.”
The actress had her first child two years after meeting Tim Burton. The 37-year-old mom fully dedicated herself to the new role, “I need to be a mom. It’s much harder being a mom than an actress.” She attended parenting classes, trying to become a better mom for her son.
Many actresses are afraid to go on maternity leave and put their careers on hold. What if there are no offers for roles waiting for them when they return? Helena wasn’t worried about that. She had an exceptionally successful 25-year-long career in the film industry. What she really cared about was having more children.
Getting pregnant a second time wasn’t as quick and easy for Carter. She sought help from doctors, went to acupuncture sessions, and even planned to use IVF. However, a few years later, it all happened naturally. At 41, the actress became a mother again. This time, she and Tim Burton had a daughter.
A new love
“With a divorce, you go through massive grief — it is a death of a relationship, so it’s utterly bewildering. Your identity, everything, changes,” Carter once said after divorcing Burton. And she did change: she started a new life. In 2018, she met art historian Rye Holmboe, who is 21 years younger than her. “Women can be very powerful when they’re older,” the actress laughs when she’s asked about their age difference.
At 56 years old, she finally did something in a relationship she’d never done before. She moved in with her partner. Yes, it’s incredible, but in all the years of marriage with Tim Burton, they lived in different houses. Now, Carter is a homemaker, and she even has rabbits.
Her attitude toward age
Carter is an inspiration for many women. As you can see, she’s only getting happier as she ages. She’s actually said, “I don’t ever want to go back there.” Today, she’s in love, she’s successful and attractive. She states, “I’m definitely the cliché of saying I’m miles happier than I was when I was younger.”
In a recent interview, Helena said that many people consider aging as something shameful. “Every single magazine, Instagram, anything, it’s all about thou shalt not age. It’s a dirty word, aging. We’re all obsessed with it, it’s sort of pathological. It’s almost a crime, the shame attached.”
The actress is nearing her 60th birthday and thinks that aging is synonymous with reaching one’s prime and not the other way around. People can’t control this process, so why waste time on pointless attempts? There are things in life that are worth our attention.