The Spandau Ballet star has been open and honest about his battle with brain tumors and the long term effects they have left him with, including epilepsy and dyslexia

Martin Kemp is well known for being part of band Spandau Ballet and for his role as Steve Owen in Eastenders.

Married to former Wham! star Shirlie Holliman, the couple share son Roman, who has also gone on to become a household name thanks to his radio show and his stint on I’m A Celebrity.

However, what many people may not know about Martin is his health battle.

The musician and actor was diagnosed with two brain tumors in 1995, after discovering a lump, and over the next three years had treatment to remove them.

The brain tumors were first noticed after Martin found a concerning lump on the back of his head. Following an MRI scan, doctors discovered that the bassist had two brain tumors. The larger one was just below his skull, the other embedded deep in his brain.

He underwent an operation and radiotherapy to treat them and has since revealed the impact that it has had on him long term.

The tumors have left him epileptic, dependent on medication and dyslexic.

He has said that in the aftermath of the treatment he got his role in Eastenders and his “brain wasn’t working properly”.

Speaking on the Dish podcast with Nick Grimshaw and Angela Hartnett, he said: “When it was offered to me, it was only really about five years after I had gone through the whole brain tumour business, that I went through in the nineties, about 95, and so for me, I was struggling to get myself together and my brain wasn’t working properly still from the operation.

“To the point where sometimes if I wanted to walk left, I would walk right, or like I couldn’t think about putting things in order, or anything like that. Learning lines was just way out there.

“When EastEnders was offered to me it was a chance for me to get over it, so it wasn’t just me taking EastEnders on because I thought yeah, it was a good gig – it was me trying to get my life back together.

“I honestly didn’t even know if I could remember the lines because my brain was so messed up from it.”


Source:, Erica Carter