Martin Kemp on the ‘lucky’ discovery of a brain tumor 27 years ago

Watch: Martin Kemp on his devastating brain tumor diagnosis

In 1995, Martin Kemp was living the dream. He enjoyed worldwide success with the Spandau Ballet and received critical acclaim for his role in The Kray Twins. Now he was living in Los Angeles with his family, pursuing an acting career.

Then, while preparing to play an aging man in a sci-fi horror show The outer limitsKemp’s life changed in a second.

“I’m in makeup, and they have to pull this bald cap on my head and little wispy gray hair,” Kemp told Kate Thornton on podcast White Wine Question Time. “And as they shoot [it] Sure, all I remember is the whole makeup cart went quiet, and they’re looking at the back of my head that has this bump on it.

Kemp had felt the bump before, but hadn’t been alarmed. “It wasn’t a soft mass, like you would associate with anything…as far as the tumor goes.”

Martin Kemp was interviewed for the Yahoo UK podcast White Wine Question Time. (White Wine Question Time)

Alerted by the concerns of the make-up team, he consults a doctor. The “hard” mass turned out to be a brain tumor growing in his skull. “[It] had been there for about 12 years, and it was the size of a grapefruit.

There was worse to come. As doctors removed the tumor, they found a second one “deep inside” Kemp’s brain.

A tense wait for the biopsy results began.

Read more: Brain Tumor Symptoms, Treatment and Everything You Need to Know

The ordeal has been “tougher” for Kemp’s family, he told Thornton, than for him. “I was drug addicted…in the middle of a battle, digging myself out of a hole.” In contrast, his family “sat there every day, waiting for the call that I died.”

Fortunately for Kemp and his family, both tumors were benign.

Listen to the full episode to hear Martin Kemp talk about his tumor and EastEnders celebrity

Today, Kemp, 61, considers finding her lump “the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me”. Otherwise, the doctors would not have found the second tumor until it was “too late”.

Although they couldn’t remove it, the tumor responded to radiation therapy. “It’s still there today, he said, but it’s tight. It’s like a pea… and it’s dead.

Martin Kemp at the National Television Awards at the O2 Arena in London in September 2021. (Getty Images)

Martin Kemp at the National Television Awards at the O2 Arena in London in September 2021. (Getty Images)

Martin Kemp at the National Television Awards at the O2 Arena in London in September 2021. (Getty Images)

Read more: “I had life-saving surgery for a brain tumour, but it erased all my childhood memories”

Kemp’s physical recovery took six months. “If I wanted to walk left, I would walk right.” His mental recovery took “a good few years”. It was clear that his Hollywood dream was over. “I couldn’t remember things or… people’s names,” he said. “I couldn’t think straight.”

When an invitation came to audition for Steve Owen in EastEndersKemp was cautious.

“Everyone was telling me, don’t touch it,” he revealed. “At that time, no great actor… had entered EastEnders.” Still, her instincts told her to audition. “I knew it was the only way to pull myself together.

The audition didn’t go well. “I couldn’t even remember my lines because my brain wasn’t working,” he told Thornton. “But luckily…they gave me a second chance, and…I stayed there for three and a half years.”

Although Kemp’s return to the game was a triumph, it brought new problems as his face became familiar to 20 million people. EastEnders the viewers.

Martin Kemp performing with Spandau Ballet in California, July 2015. (Getty Images)

Martin Kemp performing with Spandau Ballet in California, July 2015. (Getty Images)

Martin Kemp performing with Spandau Ballet in California, July 2015. (Getty Images)

“I had never in all my years at Spandau Ballet… felt the glory, as I did in estershe told Thornton. Eventually, he made peace with the situation. “The older I get…you realize most people just want to say hello.”

It has now been 27 years since his health scare. “The question is always, ‘So do you see life differently?’ “, did he declare. “I have to tell you, you know, after about a year you’re done – your body wants you back to normal life.”

Read more: Martin Kemp lifts the lid on 34 years of marriage and his debilitating shyness: ‘I didn’t speak until I was three’

Today, Kemp is enjoying that “normal” life to the fullest, touring as a musician again, married to Shirlie for 34 years now and performing in celebrity glasses box with their son Roman.

His new memoirs Ticket to the World: My New Musical Memoirs Behind the Scenes of Spandau Ballet and the 80s (£22, Harper Collins)looks back on his time at Spandau Ballet, which he described as a “schoolboy fantasy come true”.

Yet, after his health scare, Kemp never takes the good times for granted. “It was an experience…I learned a lot,” he said. “It makes you realize how fragile life is.”

. Martin Kemp on lucky discovery dune tumor brain years

. Martin Kemp lucky discovery brain tumor years

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