Martin Kemp speaking on This Morning

Martin Kemp on why brain tumour ordeal left him feeling ’embarrassed’

Martin was diagnosed with with two benign brain tumours in his 30s

Martin Kemp has opened up about his brain tumour ordeal and how he felt ’embarrassed’ during the battle.

The Spandau Ballet star, 62, was diagnosed with two benign brain tumours in the 90s when he was in his 30s.

In his latest podcast episode with son Roman, Martin opened up about how fame has changed him over the years.

Martin Kemp talking during podcast
Martin hosts a podcast with son Roman (Credit: YouTube/FFS! My Dad Is Martin Kemp)

Martin Kemp on brain tumour ordeal

Roman said on the FFS! My Dad Is Martin Kemp episode: “Spandau Ballet; you boys must have been obsessed with it.

“You loved the fact that you were famous, the more people that knew who you were, the better. The more people coming to get autographs, pictures, blah, blah, blah; at what point did you go, ‘nah’?”

Martin replied: “Um, I think when I grew up, and that moment which we’ve spoken about on another episode, was the whole brain tumour thing that I went through.”

Roman asked his dad: “Yeah, so it was that?”

Martin Kemp walking with serious look on his face
Singer Martin has opened up about his brain tumours ordeal (Credit:

Martin and Roman latest podcast episode

Martin admitted: “It was absolutely that, you’re absolutely right, you know. When I was a kid, I used to be in my bedroom, I used to want fame so much, but I wanted fame through a rock band.

I realised I was more concerned about the person behind the desk recognising me.

“I wanted to be a rock star; that’s what I wanted; I wanted to be a rock god and up there with the best. That’s what I dreamt about, and the fame that went with it was all something that I wanted.

“When it happened, you’re absolutely right, we wanted more and more and more, and that’s the whole idea. What I didn’t like about it, the only downside during those times that I remember when we first started, was that I quickly realised that your fame was on a level of what number you were in the charts.”

Martin Kemp on fame

He added: “So, if you were a number 20, you felt like a number 20 person. If you were number one, you’re on top of the world.

“I realised straight away there was something wrong with that in how I was feeling. The time I think I grew up was when I went through that whole brain tumour thing. It was the morning that I had to check in before the operation before they were going to take the brain tumours away.

“I realised I was more concerned about the person behind the desk recognising me, saying ‘there’s Martin Kemp Going in for his neurosurgery’ than I was about the actual the operation.”

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The singer concluded: “I didn’t know what I was more embarrassed about. That moment kind of shook me and I think that was the moment that I realised, hang on a second, I wish I wasn’t famous.

“It was the first time in my life that I could remember that I wished I wasn’t famous when I was checking in for that operation.”

Read more: Martin Kemp on ‘make or break’ moment that could’ve ‘ended’ his relationship with wife Shirlie

FFS! My Dad Is Martin Kemp is available to listen to on all podcast platforms.

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Rebecca Carter
Associate Editor (News)

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