The actress, 54, and director, 62, announced they were separating in 2014 after famously living in two adjoining houses in
Reflecting on their relationship in an open letter for the May issue of
Role of a lifetime: Helena Bonham Carter has admitted that appearing in her ex Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland films was ‘better than a marriage proposal’ (pictured as Red Queen)
Helena admitted that she thought her ex Tim was going to propose in 2008 after he held a meeting so he could ask her something ‘very important’.
The actress shared that the director instead asked if she could portray the Red Queen in his adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, to which she quipped: ‘Frankly, this was better than a marriage proposal.’
The 2010 film, which grossed over $1billion at the global box office, also saw Mia Wasikowska play Alice, Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as White Queen, the late Alan Rickman as Caterpillar and Stephen Fry as Cheshire Cat.
Helena reprised the role once again in 2016 for the sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass.
The actress penned in her candid open letter: ‘Back in 2008, my ex Tim Burton asked me to have a meeting at his office. This was unusual, for at the time, I shared a home with him and our two young children down the other end of the road.
Split: The actress, 54, and director, 62, announced they were separating in 2014 after famously living in two adjoining houses in London throughout their romance (pictured together in 2013)
‘What was so important that he couldn’t ask me over Cheerios? Seated at his desk, he announced quite formally: “I have something very important to ask you.” At this point I thought he was going to ask me to marry him.’
She continued: ‘”I wonder if you would consider playing the Red Queen in my film of Alice in Wonderland?” and before I could respond, he shoved a sketch toward me.
‘”Look, it’s got to be you, because I’ve drawn you without intending to.” It was a sketch of an overly large-headed scowling queen. Frankly, this was better than a marriage proposal.’
Helena and Tim announced they were separating in 2014, they share two children Billy, 17, and Nell, 13.
Reflective: Reflecting on their relationship in an open letter for the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK , Helena spoke about her love for Alice In Wonderland and author Lewis Carroll (pictured as Red Queen in 2010 film still)
Discussing her love for Lewis Carroll further in her open letter, the actress admitted that her home and children have also been ‘inflicted with Alice-mania too’.
Helena continued: ‘My home is an example of topsy-turvy living, and a labyrinth with many, many doors. There are so many doors… not many visitors leave without assistance.
‘And I’ve dressed up time and time again in Wonderland guises. (Mostly as the Mad Hatter.) I have more top hats than are strictly necessary, waistcoats, tailcoats, blue and white striped stockings, bunny ears… and this is not a complete inventory.’
She added: ‘My children have been inflicted with Alice-mania too. Before she was old enough to have an opinion, I bundled my daughter into Alice pinafores.
Funny: Helena admitted that she thought her ex Tim was going to propose in 2008 after he held a meeting so he could ask her something ‘very important’ (pictured in 2005)
‘And photographed her at the bottom of the long lane that leads from the busy street to the quiet of our home – a lane that, when I first encountered it, I recognised as a Wonderland rabbit hole.’
Helena joked that her daughter has ‘imbibed the Carroll culture and speaks at times with a Wonderland lexicon’.
She continued: ‘I even stuffed her (sort of – no real cruelty involved) into a doll’s house.
‘No wonder she seems to have imbibed the Carroll culture and speaks at times with a Wonderland lexicon: “Mama, I’m confuzzled today.”
Better than marriage! The actress shared that the director instead asked if she could portray the Red Queen in his adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, to which she quipped: ‘Frankly, this was better than a marriage proposal.’ (pictured in film still)
‘Now, as I watch her daily sprouting vertical inches, I feel she looks like Alice herself, outgrowing her girlhood bedroom. I expect one day to see her foot sticking out of her window onto the landing.’
During the open letter, Helena spoke about when she first developed her love for Alice and that she even dressed as the character during her youth at Westminster School.
She said: ‘When I was about 14, I discovered that the real Alice, Carroll’s inspiration for the books, didn’t actually have blue eyes or blonde hair, but brown eyes and brown hair like me.
‘So when I went to Westminster School at 16, I dressed as what I thought was Alice Liddell, not entirely successfully.
Candid: It comes after Helena gave a rare insight into her split from ex Tim six years after they announced they went their separate ways, she also opened up about how she met her current partner, Rye Dag Holmboe, 32 (pictured in 2019)
‘Louis Theroux told me recently that my look was more dairy maid, and even the formidable deputy headmaster stopped me in the middle of Dean’s Yard hollering, “BONHAM CARTER?! What have you come as????”‘
It comes after Helena gave a rare insight into her split from ex Tim six years after they announced they went their separate ways.
The Crown actress hinted while she was ‘reluctant’ to end their relationship, she added: ‘Some are parts of divorce are recommended’
Read more: The May issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from 07 April 2021 (the cover courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK/Betina Du Toit)
During the interview with the Guardian in November, Helena also opened up about how she met her current partner, Rye Dag Holmboe, 32, at a wedding two years ago.
The film star admitted it has taken a while for her family to ‘adjust’ and said that things were ‘really very good now’, after initially struggling with not having her two children, Billy and Nell, around all of the time.
Detailing her experience, Helena revealed: ‘The cruelty of divorce is extraordinary. But then you get to a point where you’re like, “Oh, I get this week off!” Some parts are very much to be recommended.’
Helena also revealed that she believes The Crown’s creator, Peter Morgan, asked her to play Princess Margaret because she was able to relate to her very public break-up.
While Helena insisted she wasn’t able to reveal why she and Tim went their separate ways, she did say: ‘I didn’t leave, put it that way’.
Sweet: Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar UK, the thespian shared: ‘You break up, you grieve, you get bored of grieving. And then you finally move on. I’m very happy with someone else. It’s been a bit of unexpected magic in my life.’ (pictured with Rye in March)
Since the split Helena has been dating ‘magic’ boyfriend Rye.
Explaining how they met, she said: ‘A totally random thing, which both of us nearly didn’t go to, so it was one of those moments that was so chance and ended up determining so much. A really happy accident, and it’s an amazing thing.’
The Cinderella star had a famously unconventional 13-year relationship with director Tim.
On finally moving on, the Enid star – who previously dated Irish actor Kenneth Branagh between 1994 and 1999 – admitted she grew tired of ‘grieving’ their relationship, and now leads a ‘happy’ life with her new boyfriend.
Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar UK, the thespian shared: ‘You break up, you grieve, you get bored of grieving. And then you finally move on.
‘I’m very happy with someone else. It’s been a bit of unexpected magic in my life.’
The May issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from 07 April 2021.