I was a huge ’90s pop star but gave up fame as an eco-warrior after contracting a fatal illness

’90s pop star Ben Watt hit the big time in the ’80s and ’90s as one half of Everything But The Girl.

But although he is still heavily involved in music, Ben has turned his back on the bright lights of fame and the dizzying heights of show business.

Everything But The Girl's Ben Watts is now an environmental activist


Everything But The Girl’s Ben Watts is now an environmental activistPhoto credit: Getty
The musician juggles music and fighting for his cause


The musician juggles music and fighting for his causePhoto credit: Redferns

Ben, who is married to his Everything But The Girl (EBTG) co-star Tracey Thorn, now runs his own deep house and techno record label.

He also spends his time running the environmental group Cool Oak, which campaigns for positive changes to Brent Reservoir (Welsh Harp).

Ben and his fellow activists are committed to cleaner water, marshland restoration and increased flood resilience.

The musician told his local newspaper Brent & Kilburn Times: “Unlike other reservoirs in London, it is not a concrete basin. It is an ancient, flat, flooded valley with natural, blurred edges, with delicate, rare plants, a wide variety of visiting birds and a long social history.”

“We need to take inspiration from a place like this and not throw mattresses in it or fill it with toxic water and sediment.”

Ben met his now wife and co-star Tracey at Hull University in 1981 and they shared a love of music.

Both signed – separately – to the same independent record label before later joining forces and forming a duo.

Everything But The Girl was born and they achieved four top 10 singles and 12 top 40 singles in the UK charts.

They also received eight gold and two platinum album BPI certifications.

Fans will best remember the 1988 cover of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It,” which peaked at No. 3 in 1988, and the iconic track “Missing,” which debuted at the same top spot in 1995.

“Missing” also earned Ben and Tracey a Brit Awards nomination for Best British Single and shot to number 2 on the Billboard Top 100 in the US.

During his heyday, Ben struggled with serious health issues behind the scenes.

In 1992, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disease called osinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) and was hospitalized.

The NHS states that it is a form of vasculitis which causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

Ben subsequently wrote about his diagnosis and his life with the disease in his memoir, “Patient – ​​The True Story of a Rare Disease.”

The book was listed as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Sunday Times Book of the Year, and a Village Voice Literary Supplement Favorite Book of the Year.

In 2014, Ben also wrote a second memoir, Romany and Tom.

I rent out my clothes - I earn £1,000 a month but it's hard when things come back stained
I'm a 40 year old mom with a square butt - it's a different shape, I like it

The book is about his parents’ life and marriage.

Ben and Tracey married in 2009 after 21 years together and have three children.

Ben is married to his Everything But The Girl co-star Tracey Thorn


Ben is married to his Everything But The Girl co-star Tracey ThornPhoto credit: Not known, clearly with picture desk

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emmajames@ustimespost.com.

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