‘Dad taught me to understand that fame is a tool that can be put away’

Gardener and singer Kim Wilde, 46, lives in Hertfordshire with husband, Hal, and their two children, Rose and Harry. Her father, singer and songwriter Marty Wilde, 68, lives nearby with his wife Joyce.

Kim: ‘I was always aware of Dad’s fame. Back in the Sixties, I remember watching him on TV and feeling a bit star struck. But he came home and he was just my dad. He taught me to understand that fame is a tool that can be put away in a box.
Dad was away touring a lot when I was younger so when he did come home I would be beside myself with excitement. When I was a teenager, he became a more active parent. I think he realised what he’d been missing out on and started really learning how to be a dad – picking us up from school and taking us to friends’ parties.
I can always rely on Dad for a straight answer. When I started dating men I knew he probably wouldn’t approve of, I avoided asking his opinion unless I wanted to hear the truth.
One of his best pieces of advice came when my career was in the doldrums about 15 years ago. I was in a dark place and felt very low. Dad told me to push myself to get back out there. At the time, it was the last thing I wanted to hear. But his words rang true and within a few weeks I’d started making plans to try to re-launch my career. It was the best thing I could ever have done and that was down to Dad’s advice. He really did know best.’

Marty: ‘When Kim was signed up over 25 years ago, I remember having real reservations about her going into the music industry. I didn’t want her to be just another ‘celebrity kid’ who had her ego massaged before being dropped like a lead weight.
Watching her walk out on stage for the first time was unbelievably nerve-racking, but within minutes she was playing up the crowd. I felt proud, but there was always a part of me worrying that something might go wrong – was the sound right and the microphone loud enough? I wanted it to be perfect.
I think our relationship began to change as Kim became more famous. I realised she had grown up and wasn’t just my little girl any more.
There have been times during Kim’s career when the pressure of success hsa been too much for her and she’s been utterly exhausted. I’m glad I could be there to support her.