Martin Kemp says ‘make or break’ moment nearly ended 34-year marriage to Shirlie

Martin Kemp and his missus Shirlie have been hitched since 1988 and are proud parents to their kids Harleymoon and Roman – but it could have worked out very differently.

While these two are basically the poster couple for lasting love, the ex-EastEnders lad has shared how a dicey moment nearly shattered them. The silver fox revealed he got a bombshell diagnosis of not one, but two brain tumours back in the ’90s, which knocked him off the work radar for a solid four years and left him dealing with epilepsy.

Spilling the beans to Classic Pop Magazine, Martin shared: “The time when I was really sick was when it could have ended for me and Shirlie.


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.”


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Shirlie, also 62, chipped in: “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.” The pair first crossed paths when Shirlie performed Young Guns with Wham! on Top of the Pops.Martin and Shirlie Kemp

Fast forward five years of romance, and they jetted off to Saint Lucia back in ’88 to tie the knot. A year later, Harleymoon was born, with Shirlie and Martin welcoming son Roman in 1993. Martin recently confessed to his son that he keeps track of the years he has left since dealing with his brain tumours.

Martin and Shirlie Kemp
The Spandau Ballet star said on their FFS! My Dad is Martin Kemp podcast: “Every day, every year every month that I’ve lived has been a bonus.” Asked how long he reckons he has left, Martin answered: “10 years, I don’t know!”

He added: ” I was the age of 34 when I went through all that brain tumour scare and I went through two years of my life thinking I was going to die. When I was 34 and I went through that brain tumour stuff, I was practically resigned to the fact I was gonna die.

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“But I was quite happy, because I’d lived the most incredible experiences. I lived through the 80s in a rock band, the people I met, the things I’d done. When I was 17 I was flying around Europe on jets drinking champagne at 7am.”

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