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In a new essay, Melanie Chisholm, better known as Mel C or Melanie C, opens up about the dark times she went through while she was part of the '90s pop group the Spice Girls. Specifically, she addresses the negative tabloid coverage and how it pushed her "to the point of illness," and she is candid about her struggle with depression and disordered eating.
Chisholm's essay was written with Michael Segalov for The Guardian and published on Saturday, September 26th. Mel C, aka "Sporty Spice" was (and is, if you consider the potential upcoming reunion) part of the Spice Girls with Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown (Mel B), Emma Bunton, and Geri Halliwell. Though the girl group always looked like they were having a great time during their blast into stardom, Chisholm says the fame actually launched her into a very challenging time.
"The lows of being famous were devastatingly hard," Chisholm writes.
"I was vulnerable, and the tabloids were cruel and heartless," she adds. "It pushed me to the point of illness. I was struggling with an eating disorder and suffering from depression. I had everything I’d ever dreamed of, and was desperately unhappy."
She explains part of the reason she thinks why the coverage is often so "cruel.": "It’s often forgotten that people in the public eye are human," she says. But, she has some advice for people who are going through similar things, inside or away from the spotlight.
"You need to get to the point where you’re ready for help—that’s the hardest bit of starting to get better," Chisholm writes. "People around me knew things weren’t right, but I was ashamed and could see no way out, so avoided them. When the time came, it was down to the professionals. Remember this: You deserve a better life. I continue to say it to myself and to others."
A post shared by Mel C / Melanie C (@melaniecmusic) on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:15am PST
She writes that the music industry is "behind" in terms of the #MeToo movement, and it's only now that Mel C is thinking back on her own questionable experiences. She was thankful that the Spice Girls "had power in numbers."
"Nobody would dare with one of us, because you’d have had to deal with all five," she writes.
In 1994 five girls answered an advert in The Stage newspaper for a new girl band. 25 years later, those five girls headline Wembley Stadium, for the third night in a row! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that all these years later we would be playing to sold out stadiums, performing what I believe to be the best show we’ve ever done. It’s an honour and a privilege to share a stage with my fellow Spices, @therealgerihalliwell @officialmelb @emmaleebunton and the gorgeous @victoriabeckham will always be missed (hopefully someday to return)! I never forget though, none of this would have been possible without you - the unbelievable fans. You have made a very normal girl feel incredibly special and I can never thank you enough for this. I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to live this amazing life.
A post shared by Mel C / Melanie C (@melaniecmusic) on Jun 15, 2019 at 5:00am PDT
Even though Chisholm went through hell after being launched into the spotlight, she's still extremely grateful for her time as a Spice Girl and the relationships she forged with her bandmates.
"The Spice Girls were a fiery combination," she writes, noting that "some personalities...were bigger than others." But motherhood and adulthood has formed the Spice Girls into more respectful people. "We got together recently at Geri’s house: no business, just catching up. Conversation turned to what incredible lives we all have. We know that without each other we might never have lived them."
Chisholm still busy producing music. Her upcoming self-titled album is due out on October 2nd. This will be her seventh studio album and latest release since 2016's Version of Me.