Helena Bonham Carter talks about the 'pathological' obsession with aging: 'It's a dirty word'

Helena Bonham Carter opens up about aging. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
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Helena Bonham Carter just shared her refreshing outlook on aging with BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

The 56-year-old actress, who is currently portraying real-life soap star Noele Gordon on the TV miniseries Nolly said, “I’m definitely the cliche of saying, I’m miles happier than I was younger. I don’t want to ever go back there.”

"Every single magazine, Instagram, anything, it's all about thou shalt not age," the London-born actress explained. "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."

When the interviewer asked Bonham Carter how she avoids succumbing to society’s pressures on aging she replied, "Who says I don’t? I’ll do what makes me happy, you know, and hopefully not make me look ridiculous. At the end of the day, you can get really obsessed. We can't actually control what we look like, but we think we can, and in fact there's so much else we should worry about."

Bonham Carter began acting in 1983. Since then she has played such iconic roles as Marla Singer in Fight Club, Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech and Princess Margaret on The Crown.

In a November 2022 interview with The Sunday Times, Carter spoke about the challenges that come with reaching a certain age as a woman, especially as a parent to two teenagers. (Carter shares her children Billy, 19, and Nell, 15, with her former partner Tim Burton.)

"I'm post-menopausal now, I think, but there's quite an interesting thing when you have these two moments of change: you're going through the menopause and they're going through puberty," she said at the time. "You're both basically going insane at the same time, so that's an interesting challenge."

"There was a shame about it, because I think it's wrapped up with it is this false idea that you're obsolete once you stop producing eggs," she continued. "It's really unfair because people can become very seriously deranged because of the hormones. But also it's a thing of wonder, the gift of being able to make a child — and this is the payback."

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