EXCLUSIVE Roman Kemp: ‘I love being a nepo baby – and can’t wait to be a dad’

TV presenter and radio host Roman talks parenthood and drinking pints with Niall Horan

roman kemp and his parents

by Closer staff |
Updated on

Joining the likes of budding chef Brooklyn Beckham, model Lily-Rose Depp and reality star Gemma Owen, TV presenter and podcast host Roman Kemp’s status as a “nepo baby” meant that his career was always going to be scrutinised under the spotlight.

But as the son of Spandau Ballet bassist-turned-EastEnders star Martin Kemp and Wham! singer Shirlie Kemp, both 62, Roman, 31, says he couldn’t be more proud of his famous mum and dad, who he launched the hilarious podcast FFS! My Dad Is Martin Kemp alongside last month.

roman kemp
'in this industry, you can be a flash in the pan' ©Getty Images: Jeff Spicer

Now he tells Closer, “I love the nepo thing. It’s a hot word at the moment. The thing is, if you ask me who I’m most proud of, it’s my parents. It hasn’t hindered me having parents in the industry, but I’m not even obsessive over that. My honest opinion is, ‘I don’t care’. I find it fun.

“I love my mum and dad. I’ve learned everything from my parents and the main thing that you learn is work ethic. That’s been the most important.”

And despite growing up under the guidance of two of the UK’s biggest stars, Roman says there are times he has fallen victim to “imposter syndrome” while paving his own career path in TV, which has seen him star on Gogglebox and I’m A Celebrity! before joining BBC’s The Finish Line and The One Show last year.

roman kemp and his parents
with parents martin and shirlie ©Getty Images: Antony Jones

He admits, “Filming the first episode of the first ever series – I was so bad. I called my mum and dad afterwards and I was in tears… like, ‘I am not good enough for this. I thought I was good enough for it. But I am not’.

“But both my mum and dad said to me, ‘Go to bed, sleep and go into it the next day and know what you are going to work on’. They said, ‘You’ve got this’ – and the next day, I did it.”

While Roman has dabbled in TV since 2016 when he joined The X Factor as their digital presenter, last year he made the decision to quit his Capital FM breakfast show after seven years to pursue a new life on-screen.

roman kemp and his girlfriend annie-sophie
with former girlfriend annie-sophie ©David Fisher/Shutterstock

Yet after more than a decade in showbiz, and with the support of TV legend Bradley Walsh and his parents behind him, Roman admits he still fears the ruthlessness of the industry.

He says, “Brad called me the other day to ask how I was getting on. He told me to keep going… He said he’s very glad that there is a new generation of live entertainment coming through. I was pleasantly surprised.

“Of course, there’s one thing about trying to get as much work as you can. I’m the first person to tell you that in this industry you can be a flash in the pan, but then you look at people like Emma Willis and Davina McCall and they’re still there.”

He also boasts a roster of showbiz pals of his own, with Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles and former neighbour Niall Horan all in his contacts, although he says Niall – who he previously said had ditched “the VIP s***” to play football with him in the park – has moved away.

“Niall is no longer part of my running path. And we are no longer down the pub together,” he says.

“But Lewis, I speak to quite a lot. Lewis’ new music is great… he’s just a hit writing machine.”

closer magazine cover

And now Roman is also trying his hand at creating on his own podcast, which has hilariously seen him discussing everything from space to sex with his dad – including some rather explicit tips on positions that Martin was told by Roman’s nan.

However, he also came under fire for revealing on the podcast that Martin has “no friends”, something he says he didn’t mean as an insult.

He explains, “I’ve gotten a lot of stick because I ended up saying that my dad has no friends, which he doesn’t. But it goes back to that thing of, ‘What is your happiness in life?’”

The pursuit of happiness and the state of young people’s mental health is the issue Roman is most passionate about, having released his own BBC documentary, Roman Kemp: The Fight For Young Lives, last year and reaching a million children through the recent Here4U campaign.

Speaking about his own 16-year fight against depression and his ADD diagnosis, he says, “I am still on medication. It has changed my life. But I need to think, ‘Has it positively changed my life and does it continue to do so?’ And the answer is ‘Yes’, so why should I change?

“I have tried to come off Sertraline [an antidepressant], but I have realised that way of life is not for me. The only time where I have had real suicidal and intrusive thoughts has been when I came off it cold turkey.

“ADD can also become a great power because you can become so determined not to let it get the better of you.”

Now Roman, whose only public relationship with scientist Anne-Sophie Flury ended after three years in 2020, is hopeful for the future – revealing that his biggest fear is never becoming a dad.

He says, “I am terrified about not having kids. That is my biggest thing. I even went to have a sperm check when I was 30. I honestly think I’m such a family person. I’m so grateful for the life that I’ve been able to have growing up… I couldn’t think of anything better.

“I’ve always said to my friends, like, no matter what job comes up, they’ll know that I’m truly happy when I call them and say, ‘I’m going to have a baby!’”

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