Shirlie Kemp and Martin Kemp posing and smiling

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

Martin received a scary diagnosis in the 1990s

Martin Kemp – who is on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip this weekend (Saturday, June 22) – once opened up on a moment that almost ended his relationship with wife Shirlie.

Shirlie and Martin tied the knot in 1988 and have a daughter, Harleymoon, and one son together – none other than Roman Kemp.

Martin Kemp and Shirlie Kemp
Martin and Shirlie married in 1988 (Credit:

Martin Kemp on ‘humongous stress’ with wife Shirlie

Back in 2020, Martin and Shirlie did a joint interview with Classic Pop magazine about their careers and their marriage.

During the interview, Martin opened up about how he was diagnosed with two brain tumours during the 1990s. Due to his diagnosis, he was unable to work for four years. He also developed epilepsy as a result.

“The time when I was really sick was when it could have ended for me and Shirlie,” he told the publication.

“For most couples, that moment makes you or breaks you. It made us stronger, but the stress is so humongous it can tear couples apart,” he then continued.

Shirlie then added: “When you’re with someone who’s that critically ill, it strips away everything. You see life for what it truly is and we realised life is so precious.”

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Martin Kemp on impact of his brain tumour on marriage to Shirlie

Martin has previously confessed that he believes that he only has 10 years left to live.

“I don’t know how long I’ve got left, but I will tell you, since I was the age of 34, when I went through all of that brain tumour scare, I spent two years of my life thinking I was going to die,” he said on the FFS! My Dad is Martin Kemp podcast.

“And I think after that, everything else, every day, every year, every month that I’ve lived, every experience that I’ve had has been a bonus.”

He then went on to say: “And I will tell you something, it’s really strange that when I was 34 and stuff and I went through that brain tumour stuff, I was practically resigned to the fact that I was going to die, but I was quite happy with my lot, because I had lived the most incredible experiences.”

Shirlie Kemp and Martin Kemp posing and smiling
Shirlie and Martin tied the knot in St Lucia (Credit:

Martin fears he never legally married Shirlie

In another episode of his new podcast, Martin confessed he was worried he’d never actually legally married Shirlie.

“Me and mum were in St Lucia. We were standing on this clifftop overlooking the Caribbean,” he told Roman on the pod.

“Mum had this kind of mini skirt, white dress thing on and I remember standing on the clifftop waiting for her and she climbed out the back of a truck to climb up the rocks to get to the clifftop. When she got there, there was this person that we’d collared to be the witness….I don’t remember signing anything,” he then continued.

He went on to say that there were no vows and he has always been worried it wasn’t legal. “I’ve always avoided this. I don’t want to tell mum I don’t think we’re married…I can’t remember signing anything,” he said.

Read more: Roman Kemp can ‘never live up to his dad Martin’ after pop star fame and brain tumour battle

Celebrity Antiques Road Trip airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer at 7.35pm on Saturday (June 22). 

Battle of Truths with Martin Kemp and Roman Kemp | Capital

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer