Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Inside Martin Kemp's feud with Spandau Ballet bandmate Tony Hadley

The British Pop group was officially disbanded in 2019 

John Keeble, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet in 2015
Megan Bull
TV Writer
28 December 2023
Share this:

Revered as one of the most iconic bands of the 1980s, Spandau Ballet shot to fame on the New Romantics scene. Propelling Tony Hadley, Steven Norman, John Keeble, and Gary and Martin Kemp into the spotlight, the group enjoyed huge highs with 25 million albums sold, plus 23 hit singles worldwide. 

Spandau Ballet in 1983 © Getty
Spandau Ballet stars John Keeble, Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp and Steven Norman

But, behind the scenes, the band wasn't exactly gelling. In 1990, Spandau Ballet played their final show, before going their separate ways. After pursuing solo music and acting projects, the former bandmates decided to reunite in 2009, but by 2017, vocalist Tony Hadley announced that he was leaving the group for good. 

"You could offer me all the tea in China and I wouldn't get back with them. There's no way," he declared to The Mirror in March 2023. 

Spandau Ballet in 1980© Getty
The band shot to fame in the 1980s and sold 25 million albums

With Spandau Ballet dissolved in 2019, fans have long wondered what led to their breakdown. But, with hindsight, bassist Martin Kemp, admits that the group hadn't treated Tony fairly. 

Reflecting on their early success, Martin told The Guardian: "If you imagine five boys in the playground, there's always going to be one guy that's going to take the brunt of the jokes. 

"Now, I'm not saying that Tony was bullied, as such but he took all the banter. I can look back at it now with space. And I don't like the way that we used to group up on Tony, and I feel guilty about that … If it was me, I think it would have been too much for me. It was mainly singer envy." 

Explaining that he's never spoken to Tony about the way he treated him, Martin admitted: "I do feel guilty when I look back."

Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley© Getty
Martin Kemp admitted that Tony Hadley wasn't treated fairly in the band

Despite their history, Martin has nothing but admiration for Tony, and while the two don't speak often, Martin has reached out to him. "Tony is lovely," Martin said to The Guardian. "He is a lovely man. I will always, always love him, in the same way I love all the rest of the band. But you drift apart, don't you?"

As for Tony, the 63-year-old has addressed his decision to leave Spandau Ballet, stating that "The band's behaviour wasn't that of friends." 

Tony Hadley singing on stage© Getty
Tony left the band in 2017

"Walking away from Spandau in 2017 was tough, but I had no choice," he admitted to The Guardian in April 2023. The band's behaviour wasn't that of friends – I couldn't do it any longer. I'll never say exactly why. It's on to them to be honourable and step forward to set out what they did. To take responsibility for their actions." 

MORE: Shirlie Kemp is 'cautious' as she shares showstopping festive décor at her home

READ: Everything Roman Kemp has said about his late godfather George Michael

In an interview with The Mirror, Tony stated that the only band member he's stayed in contact with is saxophonist Steven Norman. 

Spandau Ballet on the red carpet in 2015 © Getty
Martin has reached out to Tony over the years

"There's a very specific reason as to why I left and they've never been brave enough to say. It's not for me to say why, because I didn't create the situation," he said. 

"It's for them to be honest with fans and say, 'Look, we [expletive] up. We did this to our ex-lead singer, which caused him to leave the band. We're really sorry, we made a big mistake'. Unfortunately, their actions were such that I couldn't do it any more and I quit. The only one I'm in touch with is Steve."

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Celebrity News

See more