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Emma Thompson's son only realised his mum was famous after seeing movie in class

Emma Thompson's son only realised his mum was famous after seeing movie in class

He only made the realisation after seeing her in a Shakespeare film at college

Emma Thompson’s son only realised he had a seriously famous mum after seeing her on screen while watching a movie in class.

Thompson, 63, is one of the biggest actors not only in her native UK, but also across the globe – having won numerous big awards throughout her career, including two Oscars.

She even became the eighth person in history to be nominated for two Academy Awards in the same year, having landed the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress accolades for Howard’s End and Sense and Sensibility, respectively.

But her success came as a surprise to her son after he was adopted by Thompson, having only realised the extent of her fame when watching a film at college.

Emma Thompson.
Alexi/Alamy Stock Photo

Thompson and husband Greg Wise – who also share a daughter called Gaia born in 1999 – adopted Rwandan orphan Tindyebwa Agaba in 2003, having met at a Refugee Council event when he was a teenager.

In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Thompson revealed her son – who goes by the name of Tindy – didn’t know about her popularity until some time after the adoption.

In the spring of 2004, Agaba found himself in a Shakespeare class at City and Islington College, where he was studying for his GCSEs, when his teacher showed the students Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 film of Much Ado About Nothing.

Agaba was surprised to see Thompson on the screen in front of him, along with her mother – and his grandmother – Phyllida Law.

“I was absolutely shocked,” he recalled.

Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh in Much Ado About Nothing.
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“I went to my teacher and said, ‘How was this film made? Because I know these people.’ She laughed her head off.

“‘Don’t be ridiculous. These are famous actors. She couldn’t believe a word I was saying.”

The following week, his teacher brought in a copy of a newspaper with a photograph of him leaving Thompson’s house on his bike, asking if it was him.

“That was how I got to know that my mother was somehow well known,” Agaba – who has since earned a master’s degree in human-rights law, dedicated a decade to human-rights activism and even become a detective in London’s Criminal Investigation Division – said.

“I had no idea."

Thompson met Agaba, who is now in his mid-thirties, at a Christmas charity event she created in partnership with the Refugee Council, aimed to help welcome people arriving in Britain.

Thompson with husband Greg and kids Gaia and Tindy.
dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

While the actor said her son has 'flourished' in many ways since starting his new life, in an essay for The Times back in 2021, she said it didn't mean he hasn't faced 'shocking incidents'.

"Witnessing Tindy growing up has been a continual lesson in the day-to-day challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face — from language and not being able to express yourself or to say what you need, which is a very vulnerable position to be in, to finding the right kind of schooling, to facing everyday racism," she wrote.

Thankfully, Thompson said Agaba 'received some fantastically open-hearted and open-minded support' from the Refugee Council, the local authority and staff at the Sixth Form College in Islington and Exeter University.

"It all formed a part of the package that anyone who's in a situation like that needs if they're to survive and to develop," she added.

Featured Image Credit: Alexi/dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Celebrity, TV And Film