Martin and Roman appeared together in Celebrity Gogglebox and now present a father-and-son daytime show on ITV, Sunday Best!. ‘It’s great fun doing the show with Roman,’ he says. ‘I’m loving it.’
It is all testament to how close the family are. After his brain tumour Martin forgot how to play the Spandau Ballet songs, so Roman taught himself them in order to teach them back to his dad.
‘We don’t talk much about the old days,’ says Martin. ‘It’s about what’s going on now. When Spandau Ballet had some shows at the O2 [in 2015], the kids said, “Dad, do you think you can fill this place?” And then it was packed out. But they don’t really have a clue about how big we were… We are much more focused on them.’
So are they proud that their marriage has survived so many hurdles? After all, to be pop stars who have remained married for 32 years is rare. ‘We don’t think like that,’ says Martin. ‘We chose well. There was never anyone else for me except Shirlie. But the thing we are proudest of is the way we’ve parented our kids. We have great kids.’
‘And that we have got through everything and stayed normal,’ adds Shirlie. ‘We’ve gone through things that a lot of people go through, but it’s just made us closer, stronger and better for it.’
Martin Kemp on money worries and navigating the fickle world of LA, as he battled a brain tumour
Extracted from It’s a Love Story, by Martin and Shirlie Kemp
Money is funny. Gary and I had both grown up with next to nothing, and suddenly had access to absolutely everything. It can be very difficult to keep a sensible head on your shoulders when you’re playing stadiums and staying in lavish hotel suites – when not that long ago you were getting up in the night to pee in a bucket because you were too scared to go out in the dark and use the outdoor toilet. Spandau was a juggernaut, and we were all being looked after – other people made the big money decisions and sorted out our smallest bills. But it seemed strange that we’d gone from being kids who thought nothing of jumping on planes to America, and running up thousand-pound phone bills, to worrying about paying the mortgage each month.
[After my operation to remove the brain tumour] I wanted to run before I could walk. It seemed to be taking me so long to get better from my illness. I felt frustrated, impatient and scared that I’d never get another job again. So, desperate to prove myself, I flew back to L.A.
It was far too soon though. My auditions were disastrous. I could barely remember a single line and I was in a vortex that was sucking me in and spitting me back out. One of the hardest things was the lack of sympathy I encountered. No one was patient, or even friendly, really.