Date: 1 August 2022
Originally published in: Hertfordshire Life (UK)
Written by: Karen Pasquali Jones
She’s the most charted British female pop star of the 1980s and is as famous for her green fingers as her voice but did you know Hertfordshire’s Kim Wilde has more than a passing interest in aliens?
Kim Wilde is talking extra-terrestrials. Not little green men exactly, but their space ship at least. ‘I saw a strange orb in the sky,’ she explains, her distinct voice rising with excitement, ‘and it hovered there for several minutes. It was inexplicable and I just can’t explain what I saw. I wasn’t the only witness – there were lots and it made the local newspaper. Everyone was talking about it.’
The UFO sighting was from her Codicote back garden where she’d been having a glass of wine. ‘But I saw what I saw,’ she insists, tongue nowhere near her cheek.
So inspired was she by the close(ish) encounter that the pop star, who’s sold 30 million records worldwide and holds the record for being the most-charted British female solo act of the 1980s with a staggering 17 top 40 hit singles, wrote about it on her 2018 album, Here Come The Aliens.
‘One of the reasons I love my garden is that there is such a big sky where I live. I can go outside and look up at that,’ she says. ‘I find the idea of space and everything about the universe fascinating. I watch everything with Brian Cox [TV science presenter and professor of physics and astronomy] in it and think that the probability of another intelligent life out there is extremely high. Of course, it had an impact on me – an entire album was inspired by that event.’
The 61-year-old has been even more forthcoming in the past about her take on alien life. ‘I do think, obviously, that aliens have been here for ever,’ she told The Guardian. ‘They’ve been watching us forever.’ And her answer to letting the rest of us know they’re real? ‘Maybe they are even using me to put out a pop record with them on it,’ she said. ‘They might think, actually there’s that girl in Hertfordshire, the Kids in America girl. Yes, maybe we can get her, because she might get people to listen.’
With the vast distance to their far-flung planet, perhaps alien radios had just picked up Kim exploding on to the pop scene aged 20 with the smash-hit Kids in America – all attitude, spiky blonde hair and thick, black eyeliner.
Suddenly, she was everywhere, delivering hit after hit – 25 singles made the UK charts top 50 between 1981 and 1996 including You Keep Me Hanging On, Chequered Love and You Came – winning a Brit Award and opening for Michael Jackson’s 1988 Bad world tour.
‘That was amazing,’ she says. ‘It was such a privilege. I did 30-odd shows for Michael Jackson all over the world.’ What was he like? ‘An artist. Such talent. But apart from the publicity photo I didn’t see him. He was so private.’
Another pop legend, David Bowie, who Kim also supported on tour, was more approachable. ‘He would come and wish me luck before the show. He was a positive person but I was star-struck by Bowie. He was doing his Sound + Vision album and he was awesome.’
And then suddenly she was nowhere. Yes, she was still making music and touring, but she seemed to have stepped out of the spotlight to make way for the likes of Madonna. Kim secured a starring role in The Who musical Tommy in the West End, married co-star Hal Fowler and threw herself into family life, going to horticultural college during her first pregnancy so she could learn to create a garden for her children, Harry, now 24, and Rose, 22.
She said she was ecstatic to change her name on her passport, cheque book and driving license. ‘I’d had a career,’ she told The Guardian. ‘It was exhausting, that career, and I was so relieved to be Mrs Fowler, under the radar completely and bringing up kids and taking them to school and cooking toad in the hole.’