Branagh Alone Again
Shakespeare Star 'Unable to Make a Commitment to His Live-in Lover'

Daily Mail - 26 December 2002,
By Alison Boshoff
**Thanks, Celia, Catherine

Kenneth Branagh is spending Christmas as a single man after breaking up with his girlfriend.

The actor has decided he is 'unable to make a commitment' to Lindsay Brunnock, who has been living with him for more than a year. The couple met on the set of Channel Four's 40 million drama Shackleton in the spring of 2001, during a two-month shoot in Greenland. Branagh, 41, was playing the legendary explorer and Miss Brunnock, thought to be in her 30s, was working as an art director on the production.

Love blossomed quickly and by July she had moved into his 12million mansion in Windsor, Berkshire. But earlier this month the couple decided to go their separate ways because Branagh, previously married to actress Emma Thompson, felt unable to pledge his future to her.

Friends of Branagh's say the break-up is amicable, but they feel for him as the split is nevertheless 'very painful'.

He had been keen to make a go of a relationship after the tortured end to his five-year romance with Helena Bonham-Carter.

Life with Miss Brunnock, who was content to support him and remain in his shadow, was said to be happy. Branagh, known for his reworkings of Shakespearean classics including 'Henry V' and 'Much Ado About Nothing', spent an idyllic six-week holiday with her after they first fell in love. But, after a year and a half together they apparently both realised that there was no further mileage in the affair. It was never going to blossom into an engagement or the children he has said for the past ten years he would like to have.

The break-up marks the failure of Branagh's third serious relationship. He and Miss Thompson, who were divorced in 1996, had one of the most amicable separations in showbusiness and are still great firends. She has since had a baby, Gaia, with actor Greg Wise, following IVF treatment. Miss Thompson, who appeared in Ben Elton's film Maybe Baby about a couple undergoing fertility treatment, suffered a miscarriage towards the end of her marriage to Branagh, which she blamed on stress.

As soon as their separation was announced, it emerged that Branagh was close to Helena Bonham-Carter, his co-star in the 1994 movie Frankenstein. Miss Bonham-Carter occasionally shared Branagh's mansion, but she also retained a small falt close to her parents' North London home. Some thought the two would marry, but they never did.

Branagh can be seen as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But he has refused interviews for both that film and Rabbit-Proof Fence, in which he also has a major role.

Perhaps the prospect of having to admit to yet another failed romance was a little too painful.

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