Emma Thompson opened up about her past family heartache on a U.K. TV show on Sunday, March 28, revealing her beloved grandmother was raped as a child. The "Nanny McPhee" star confessed that her nana, Annie Jackson, was sexually attacked by her employer when she worked as a maid during World War I.
The unnamed man repeatedly raped Annie, then aged 12, and eventually left her pregnant - in the hope she would give up the baby to him and his wife, who were unable to conceive. But Annie fled back to her family home and went on to have the tot, who was Thompson's Uncle.
The actress tells Britain's The Andrew Marr Show, "My gran's story is fascinating, because she went into service when she was 12, and was used in this strange sort of experimentation, as it were, in early surrogate motherhood because she was in fact raped by her employer."
"During the First World War she would go and stay away, and the husband would make his way up into my grandmother's attic room and have his evil way with her. She became pregnant and her father, a clergyman, said: 'You can come back and have the baby', and it was my Uncle Fred."
"Then they found out this couple, who were childless, had done it to three other women who had all kept their babies. They were trying to have a child using a surrogate mother, but obviously in a very unsavory and damaging way."