Martin Compston’s life off-screen from famous wife to ‘heartbreaking’ health diagnosis

Martin Compstonis back on our screens as a new series of BBC[1] crime drama Traces. The six-part series will see the star reprise his role as Daniel MacAfee at 9.25pm tonight on BBC One. Best known for his role as Detective Inspector Steve Arnott in Line of Duty[2], he has had a diverse acting career.

He started as a teenager in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen and has since starred in The Wee Man, Monarch of the Glen and The Nest, among others. He's also recently had his own BBC travel show, Martin Compston's Norwegian Fling where he explored modern Norway. But what about Martin's life away from the screen?

Below we take a look at Martin's off-screen life, including his family, his time as a professional footballer, and his health.

Martin Compston's famous wife

Martin married his American wife, Tianna Chanel Flynn, in 2016. She's an actress known for her work in shows like "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader," and she also sells houses. They have a son and live together in Las Vegas, away from the public eye.

Martin once talked about why they picked Las Vegas to live on the Table Manners podcast in 2022, saying: "There's this weird thing. People are very kind and they're just curious, but there's been this weird thing of people taking pictures of my kid and then sending it to me online and it's bizarre. I don't understand why you would.

It's weird, like, they'll DM you. "And that's why I've had to stop looking at DMs altogether because it'll be like: 'I saw you and your kid at the park, didn't want to bother you but here's a picture.' And you're like... It's weird.

Genuinely, I've been out with my wee one and somebody will come up and go: 'Can I get a picture? ' and I'll go, 'I'm really sorry, but I'm with my son,' and they'll go: 'Oh, thingy will hold him.'""And I'm like: 'What? ! ' People genuinely think they're just being nice. That's why Vegas is really good. We can just sort of disappear over there."

Martin first met Tianna during happy hour at a bar. He previously explained: "We met in a bar and she was the hostess. It was happy hour on a Monday so the place was deserted.

Obviously my wife's quite kind of strikingly beautiful you know she's got this incredible hair. "I was a right few [drinks] in, it was happy hour. So she was kind of forced to put up with me and my pal for several hours.

It's just amazing that we walked into that bar on that day and I think about it and go, 'If I didn't, then...' You know, she's my wife and we have a kid together now."

Martin Compston's 'heartbreaking' health diagnosis

In 2022, Martin revealed he had received a 'pretty heartbreaking' health diagnosis. He went for an eye test which showed he has astigmatism, an imperfection in the eye which causes blurred vision, headaches and eye strain according to the NHS[4]. Martin admitted he couldn't read road signs while driving or subtitles when watching television.

He was at first reluctant to get glasses - fearing it would make him middle-aged - but has since posted photographs of him in specs. Speaking on his Restless Natives podcast with Gordon Smart, he said: "The eye test didn't go well, it's pretty heartbreaking. I kind of knew that I needed them but I feel that when I start using them I'll rely on them so I've been putting it off."

I feel that when I start using them I'll rely on them so I've been putting it off. "If I'm on the motorway I can't read road signs but I can see a truck coming towards me and you have got sat navs now so you don't even need that." He shared that his wife Tianna had been urging him to address the problem. He added: "Where it really bothers me is I can't read subtitles on TV, that really struggles me but I can't wear glasses.

The missus has been on at me for a long, long time about it. It's that kind of thing where you start to admit to middle age. "

Martin Compston's major surgery due to serious illness

In 2010, Martin had a major operation to stop an infection in his inner ear from reaching his brain. Doctors had informed him that the ringing noise he was experiencing was indeed an early symptom of a dangerous disease.

After waiting several months after initially seeking medical advice about the ringing in his ear, Martin finally saw a specialist. She told him his ear drum had all but vanished and that the infection could spread to his brain if he didn't proceed with surgery. This was a challenging period for the star, who was told the operation might result in some facial paralysis.

He previously stated: "It was a bit of a shock when I found out. There was quite a head of steam building up work wise and I was going up for jobs like Spider Man, Pirates of The Caribbean and big films like that. It was an exciting time."

He shared: "I'd noticed it most in pubs, busy places. I was struggling a wee bit to hear people when there was a lot of background noise. Sometimes I would hear a ringing, and it took me a while to realise what it was.

I had several investigations done, and eventually I saw a specialist. "It should have been caught well before it was. They told me it could have been much more serious had the infection spread.

They also said there were a few risks with the op, like nerve damage that could have affected my face. I told them I wasn't up for that - I kind of needed my face for work! "But it all went really well, although I wasn't allowed to work for two months, or get my ear wet.

So I basically sat in the house all the time. I couldn't swim, couldn't play football, and the boredom really got to me. I'm active but I couldn't do anything.

I'm not concerned about it at all now. I only find it's a problem when I'm in really loud places and people are talking to me. It won't really make any difference to my work."

Martin Compston's former football career

Before he became an actor, Martin Compston was a promising footballer.

He played for Aberdeen as a teenager, and after leaving school, he signed for his local professional club Greenock Morton. During the 2001-02 season, he only made two appearances for the first team, both times coming on as a substitute. This was the season when the team dropped to the Third Division.

After his time at Morton, he had a short stint playing junior football for Greenock Juniors.


  1. ^ BBC (
  2. ^ Line of Duty (
  3. ^ Gary Barlow opens up about 'anger' after daughter's death and eating disorder (
  4. ^ NHS (