Capital Radio DJ Roman Kemp was born in Los Angeles LA, but he was very nearly born in Los Angeles International airport!
His dad, Martin Kemp, revealed the story of his arrival on the Yahoo podcast White Wine Question Time. Speaking to host Kate Thornton, Martin explained he was working on a film in LA at the time and didn’t want to miss the birth – even though his wife Shirlie was nine months pregnant at the time.
“Now this is completely not allowed,” he explained, talking about how airlines don’t let pregnant women fly after 36 weeks. “Shirlie was the size of a house. We get all the coats and the bags and everything and we put it on top of Shirliee's big old belly. I'm trying to hide the fact that she's pregnant.”
Their attempt to ‘smuggle’ her and the bump into LA nearly didn’t go to plan: Shirlie started having contractions as she walked up to customs.
“I'm thinking, ‘No!’,” laughed Martin. “Just as the contractions stopped, we walked through, and the guy stamps her passport and we get to the other side. Contractions came back again! That was the luckiest thing that ever happened!”
The pair then went straight to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where Roman was born. Of the birth, Shirlie said: “It was quite an experience having a baby when you've got no family or friends there. It gave Roman an American passport at the end of the day, which I didn't intend for!”
Becoming a mum was always a must for the former Wham! backing singer, but Shirlie told Kate she didn’t know if would be a possibility when she was younger.
“I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was very young,” she revealed. “I was told I may not be able to have children, so I think that also sparks something. Once you're told you can't do something, you're like: I am.”
Shirlie went on to say that having children was the best experience ever for both her and Martin.
“Martin was such a great father,” she said. “I felt like I was a full 100% mother; Martin was that 100% father as well. We were putting everything into it.”
Even though she misses her kids now they’ve left home, Shirlie isn’t sure she’s ready to be a grandmother just yet! “I just don't know” she said. “I'll be so worried about them. I think I would annoy my kids – ‘Are they strapped in? Did you get home OK?’. My brain won’t switch off.”
Hear Martin and Shirlie Kemp talk about their new album together, why George Michael was instrumental in them getting together and how they got through Martin’s brain tumours in the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now now on iTunes and Spotify.