Creator of Love Actually shares regret over 'fat' jokes after realisation that they are 'no longer funny'

Richard Curtis has shared his regret over including 'fat' jokes in Love Actually

Love Actually 'fat' jokes Richard Curtis
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Richard Curtis, director and screenwriter of iconic films like Love Actually Bridget Jones' Diary and Notting Hill recently explained why he regrets using "fat" jokes in his movies, saying those jokes are no longer "funny". 

Film lovers and rom-com fans around the world are familiar with Richard Curtis' work, whether they know it or not - he's the genius behind rom-com classics like Love Actually, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Notting Hill. So basically, any movie in which Hugh Grant looks extremely dreamy. We digress. 

Recently, Richard attended the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, which ran from 5 October to 15 October, with his daughter, Scarlett Curtis, who is an activist and writer. 

In an interview that the father-daughter duo did together, Scarlett did not shy away from the tough questions, prompting her father to answer for some of the choices he made in his films regarding the treatment of women, people of colour, and body image issues. 

Bridget Jones's Diary Film adaptation still

(Image credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo)

"I think because I came from a very un-diverse school and a bunch of university friends," he said in an audio recording obtained by TODAY. "(With) ‘Notting Hill,’ I think that I hung on to the diversity issue, to the feeling that I wouldn’t know how to write those parts." Notting Hill, a 1999 film, features an all-white cast, and is set in London's Notting Hill neighbourhood, which historically drew in Caribbean Immigrants until it was gentrified, according to History Workshop Journal

"I think I was just sort of stupid and wrong about that," he said of choosing the location for that film. 

As one also may recall, in Love Actually and Bridget Jones' Diary, two of the female leads in those films (Natalie played by Martine McCutcheon and Bridget played by Renee Zellweger, respectively), are the subject of workplace discrimination based on body image. 

"I remember how shocked I was like five years ago when Scarlett said to me, 'You can never use the word fat again,'" he said, recalling an older conversation with his daughter. "And wow, you were right."

Love Actually 'fat' jokes Richard Curtis

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For example, in Love Actually, Natalie is chastised for her "tree trunk thighs" - and Renee Zellweger famously purposefully put on weight to play Bridget Jones, although when she weighs herself in the movie, she is 130 lb. (9.2 stone), which of course is not overweight by any stretch of the imagination. 

"I think I was behind, you know, behind the curve, and those jokes aren’t any longer funny, so I don’t feel I was malicious at the time, but I think I was unobservant and not as, you know, as clever as I should have been," he concluded.

Madeline Merinuk
US Lifestyle News Writer

Madeline Merinuk is woman&home's US lifestyle news writer, covering celebrity, entertainment, fashion, and beauty news.

She graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in Journalism from Hofstra University, winning multiple student journalism awards, including a National Hearst Award, during her time there. After graduating, she worked at, the digital site for the Today Show, where she wrote pop culture news and interviewed big-name personalities like Emily Ratajkowski, Haley Lu Richardson, Emma Corrin, and more.

Her personal interests, in no particular order, are: cheese, Joni Mitchell, reading, hot yoga, traveling, having multiple chapsticks in every handbag at all times, and dancing to ABBA songs as if she were in the Mamma Mia movies.