Mel C bravely opens up about mental health struggles during height of Spice Girls’ fame

Mel feared she'd lose everything she'd worked for following an argument with Posh Spice Victoria Beckham

Spice Girls

by Grazia |
Updated on

Mel C has revealed how a drunken row with Victoria Beckham led to long-term battles with depression and eating disorders.

Talking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the Spice Girl recalled being threatened with the sack by the group’s managers after telling Posh Spice Victoria to ‘f*** off’ during a clash at the BRIT Awards.

Melanie Chisholm, 46, said that following the incident, she started becoming ‘really hard on (herself)’.

"We’d all had a few bevvies and on the way out, there was a little scuffle between myself and Victoria,’ she told Lauren Laverne. ‘We can’t say this on air but I asked her to go away. I was told if that behaviour ever happened again, then I would be out.’

The incident happened during the 1996 BRITs - just a few months before the group released their debut single, Wannabe. The fear of losing everything Mel had worked so hard for started to seriously impact her mental health, she explained.

"I think that is where the start of some of my problems came because I had to be very, very strict with myself," Mel explained. "I couldn’t allow myself to relax because if I did, I might mess it all up."

In 2016, Sporty Spice revealed that she’d been bullied by unnamed members of the band and had struggled to live up to her public persona as the ‘gobby’, ‘boyish’ one.

In a bid to become ‘perfect’, she developed eating disorders and depression - the diagnosis of which came as a massive ‘relief’.

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BELOW: Shocking facts you NEVER knew about the Spice Girls


14 shocking facts you NEVER knew about the Spice Girls

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1. They were originally called Touch

When the girls first got together, they were called Touch. It wasn't until Geri thought to change their name to Spice that the band eventually agreed on Spice Girls.

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2. Geri MISSED the original audition

After getting sunburnt on a ski trip to Spain, she thought better than to turn up to the auditions with a red face. Thankfully then-manager Robert 'Bob' Herbert gave her a second chance when she called after the original search.

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3. Emma wasn't in the original line-up

Baby Spice was last to join the group after original member Michelle Stephenson quit the band in 1994. Victoria went on to claim Michelle 'just couldn't be arsed' to put in the same work as the rest of the girls.

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4. They're Simon Cowell's 'biggest regret'

Speaking to Jay Leno in 2013, Simon said: "Spice Girls is probably my biggest mistake," before explaining "I offered them a deal, but they didn't want to sign to me, so that kind of hurt at the time."Victoria doesn't agree with Simon's account, though. Claiming he passed up on their offer on Idol in 2009, she said: "He is the only man in the music industry who turned down the Spice Girls – and said we would never work. I like that fact."

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CREDIT: Instagram

5. They didn't come up with their own nicknames

That was the idea of former Top of the Pops Magazine editor Peter Lorraine back in 1996. It just stuck.

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CREDIT: Spice Girls

6. Wannabe almost wasn't their debut single

The girls have explained they had to fight for the pop classic to be their first single, while the record label reportedly wanted Love Thing. IMAGINE.

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7. The Wannabe video was BANNED in some parts of Asia

This was due to Mel B's erect nipples.

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8. Geri's Union Jack dress made a FORTUNE

The infamous dress Ginger wore to perform Wannabe/Who Do You Think You Are? at the 1997 BRIT Awards was sold at auction in 1998 for $68,000 (£41,320) at a Hard Rock Cafe auction. It's since been spotted on display at a casino in the US.

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9. Speaking of the Union Jack dress...

It was actually made of a 'boring' black Gucci dress - the outfit Geri was originally supposed to wear - and a Union Jack tea towel.Explaining how the look came about, Ginger's former stylist Emma Poole told The Telegraph: "Two nights before, Geri said, 'You know what, Emma? I'm not really comfortable with the dress I'm wearing, I've got a much better idea. I'm going around to my sister's, she's got these great Union Jack tea-towels. I'm going to make a dress.'"

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CREDIT: Spice Girls

10. Geri WROTE Goodbye

Sort of. Although the girls' third Christmas number 1 is thought to be written about Geri's departure, she was actually involved in the early stages of the track when it was intended to be included on the Spiceworld album. Mel C explains in the girls' autobiography Forever Spice: "Goodbye was originally about a relationship ending, but now it's about Geri and it's really sad."Ginger isn't credited as a writer for the released version of the track.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

11. They were Nelson Mandela's 'heroes'

His words!

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

12. Victoria's the only member WITHOUT a solo number 1

Out of Your Mind - her collaboration with True Steppers and Dane Bowers - was pipped to the post by Spiller's Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) back in August 2000. Oh, how we miss those big chart battles.

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13. The Viva Forever video is DEEP

As the girls were too busy touring to film a video for Viva Forever - their last single featuring Geri - they turned to Aardman Animations for the treatment.In an interview with Crack magazine, director Steve Box explained that the video's about loss of youth. He said: "It's like the sadness of the song is leaving your childhood behind. "Pop music is all about sex and love, so becoming interested in that, you suddenly put the toys away, you start to grow up in a different way."

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14. And the Spice Up Your Life video's pretty dark

An unreleased alternative ending to the video shows an erotic dancer in front of a 'SEXXXY SPICE GIRLS' sign, somebody seemingly choking and what appears to be a stack of dead bodies. YouTube it. It's SO WEIRD.

Mel added: "I went from being anorexic to having a binge eating disorder. That’s when I went to my GP and I was diagnosed with depression. It was such a weight lifted off my shoulders. It was such a relief because I thought: “Oh my God, there’s a name for it and I can be helped”.’

After the group split up, Mel C went onto to become a solo artist, successful presenter and musical theatre star - and believes that she should have left the Spice Girls before she did.

"I kind of stayed a bit longer than I wanted to,’ she said. ‘A lot of that was because I was so unwell. I was struggling being in the company of the girls. I knew I had to go because I had to sort myself out."

If you want to talk about your mental health, please contact Samaritans: call for help on 116 123 or email

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