Kim Wilde with friend Mark

The singer about rollerblading, gardening and what her friend has to do with it.

This picture was made in 1991 on a parking in Hertford, north of London. There Mark, one of my best friends, and me were practising rollerblading. We met at 14 or 15 during a ski trip his all boys school and my all girls school made together. He was always happy, was always surrounded by people and parties took place mostly in his room. We liked one another immediately, were like soulmates, but never a lovers couple. When my career started in 1981, we went on tour together, with Mark handling the merchandise sales, and we were always together in the tour bus.

When this picture was made, I was 31 and was just in a very difficult period in my life. I landed in the music business when I was 20 from one day to the next, had enormous success and for ten years I worked almost without a break with concerts, promotions and travelling. My tourmanager planned every single day. Then things got quieter and there I was at 30, with a burnout syndrome and not knowing how to organise my own life. During this time, Mark was a big support. He said: ‘You plan the day. We do everything you like to do.’ It sounds ridiculous, but I simply wasn’t used to that anymore. During this time my friend Sue said: ‘Let’s go and learn rollerblading’. Mark joined us immediately. At the time there were these so-called rollerblading discos. I liked it so much, that in we incorporated some rollerblading scenes in my video for ‘Breakin’ away’ in 1994.

I also went on a backpackers tour around Australia and the USA with Mark. Directly after a tour we met at an airport, I gave my popstar outfits to someone, took up the backpack and went away with him. We stayed overnight in the simplest accommodations – without makeup and in ponytails I was not recognised by anyone.

In 1996 I played in the musical Tommy for a year and met my husband Hal Fowler, whom I married. In 1998 I was pregnant with my son Harry, rediscovered my love for gardening and started studying horticulture. Later I presented two successful gardening programmes in England and six years ago I had my daughter Rose Elisabeth. Mark has three children these days and I am godmother of his twin sons. Whenever I meet him, I still tell him all my secrets.