Why Emma Thompson Adopted a 16-Year-Old Boy, and How He Realized She Was a Famous Actress

Emma Thompson is the first person to ever win an Oscar as an actress and as a writer. But Thompson is not only a celebrity but also an activist who cares about the climate and other humanitarian causes. In this article, we wanted to dive deep into her family life to tell you about her relationships, especially the one she shares with her adopted son, Tindy.

Before finding her prince charming and forming her family, she experienced terrible heartbreak.

Mary Evans / AF Archive / Graham Whitby Boot / East News

Thompson’s love story begins with her ex-husband, actor Kenneth Branagh. The couple met in 1987 while filming a movie together, Fortunes of War. The actors quickly hit it off and decided to marry 2 years later. Sadly, after 6 years of marriage, in 1995, they split, leaving fans with many questions.

Later, it was revealed that Branagh had fallen in love with his Frankenstein co-star, Helena Bonham Carter, and the pair had started a relationship. Thompson said in an interview, “I was utterly, utterly blind to the fact that he had relationships with other women on set.”

The affair left the Oscar winner heartbroken. According to her, “I was half alive. Any sense of being a lovable or worthy person had gone completely.”

Thompson and her co-star started a romance.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / East News

Although her marriage to Branagh didn’t work out, we are happy that Thompson didn’t give up on love. Actor Greg Wise and Thompson met on Sense and Sensibility in 1995. At the time, the Nanny McPhee actress was still married to Branagh.

According to Thompson, that and their age difference were why Wise didn’t consider her a romantic partner at first. But things changed after he invited his co-star, Kate Winslet, on a date, where they quickly realized they weren’t meant for each other. According to Wise, Winslet suggested he date Thompson instead of her, and we’re happy he listened.

Scott Garfitt / Invision / East News

Before getting married, the couple welcomed their first baby together.

AFP / East News

3 years before tying the knot, actors Wise and Thompson welcomed their baby girl together in 1999 and married in 2003. They’ve been together for 27 years but have been married for 19 and are still going strong. Thompson gushed in an interview, “As my mother says, ’The first 20 years are the hardest.’”

One special day, she met Tindy, her son.


Wise and Thompson had been trying to have another child through IVF, but it didn’t work out. In 2003, the Oscar-winning actress and her family were throwing a Christmas party for people in need. While serving the food, a 16-year-old boy named Tindyebwa Agaba approached her to thank her.

Tindy didn’t speak the language, but he and Thompson started spending lots of time together. After a while, Agaba started calling the actors “Mom” and “Dad.” In 2004, Thompson and Wise legally adopted Agaba as their son.

Genin Nicolas / ABACA / East News

According to the actress, “One of the questions that we were asked was ‘Why not just be friends? Why make it a family relationship?’” And although the actress finds it hard to answer these questions, she remarked that it was a relationship that developed “organically.”

When talking about the IVF process she had taken before, Thompson said, “I often think if it had worked, there wouldn’t have been space. So I’m very grateful the IVF didn’t work because every day I’m grateful for Tindy.”

Tindy didn’t know she was a famous actress.

Tindy remembers a funny story about realizing his mom was famous. According to him, one day at school, one of his teachers showed the class a movie called Much Ado About Nothing. “I was absolutely shocked. I went to my teacher and said, ‘How was this film made? Because I know these people.’”

Tindy’s teacher didn’t believe him at all, saying, “Don’t be ridiculous. These are famous actors.” The next day, she learned through the paper that Tindy was, in fact, telling the truth, as there was a picture of him leaving Thompson’s house. “That was how I got to know that my mother was somehow well known. I had no idea,” he shared.

What are your thoughts on the adoption system? Tell us in the comments if you’d ever consider adopting a child and why.

Preview photo credit AFP / East News, STEVE PARSONS / AFP / East News


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