Five-spice mix feels the heat

The world’s most suc­cess­ful fe­male group are plan­ning a six-night vale­dic­tory tour, but hopes that Posh Spice will join them on stage ap­pear to be dashed amid long-run­ning dis­cord,

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - writes Ali­son Boshoff

THEY sang “friend­ship never ends” but, sadly, that would not seem to be the case when it comes to the Spice Girls.

On Mon­day, to great fan­fare and with megawatt smiles, the most suc­cess­ful girl group of all time an­nounced they are re­form­ing for a vale­dic­tory tour, 24 years af­ter Gin­ger, Posh, Sporty, Baby and Scary first lined up to en­thral a gen­er­a­tion of teenage girls.

Well, four of them are any­way. Posh Spice, aka Vic­to­ria Beck­ham, wife of for­mer foot­ball star David and now a se­ri­ous fash­ion de­signer and mother of four, was con­spic­u­ous by her ab­sence.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions that led to this an­nounce­ment have been fraught, to say the least.

Ac­cord­ing to a well-placed source, there has been a vi­cious fall­ing out be­tween Mel Brown, Mel Chisholm, Emma Bun­ton and Geri Horner (nee Hal­li­well) with Vic­to­ria and their for­mer man­ager Si­mon Fuller. So much so that it led to a four-let­ter text be­ing sent to Vic­to­ria by Mel B ear­lier this year.

The bad feel­ing seems to cen­tre on a sense of be­trayal the re­main­ing four feel about Vic­to­ria and Fuller pulling out of the tour, hav­ing ap­par­ently said at a meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary they were on board.

Stir­ring up ten­sions fur­ther, ac­cord­ing to our source, was Vic­to­ria pos­ing in Spice-in­spired out­fits for her re­cent Vogue shoot, which drove Mel B into a foul­mouthed rage.

Last week, with a typ­i­cally out­ra­geous flour­ish, Mel B dressed up as Vic­to­ria Beck­ham for a Hal­loween party, hold­ing a sign to in­di­cate that she wouldn’t tour, even if the fans begged. She added that they have a “love-hate re­la­tion­ship”.

The miss­ing Spice wasn’t men­tioned in the of­fi­cial video yes­ter­day, al­though she did send a friendly tweet about her for­mer band­mates.

But de­spite re­la­tions reach­ing an all-time low, the four re­main­ing Spice Girls des­per­ately hope she might join them on stage for at least one of the six nights.

So what is the truth about the come­back, which may net them £8 mil­lion ($14.5 mil­lion) or more each?

And will they re­ally be able to sell out Wem­b­ley Sta­dium

with­out Posh on board?

Mel B’s feel­ings to­wards the tour are cer­tainly re­lated to the fact she is broke af­ter ex­it­ing her mar­riage to film pro­ducer Stephen Be­la­fonte. A judge re­cently or­dered her to pay Be­la­fonte £270,000 in le­gal fees, and more than £3000 a month in child sup­port. Some funds will come in from a mem­oir, Bru­tally Hon­est, which comes out this month, and she was given a pay rise by Si­mon Cow­ell for act­ing as a judge on Amer­ica’s Got Ta­lent. But Mel B’s lawyers did re­veal in court last year that she had spent all of her £38 mil­lion for­tune, and that she and Be­la­fonte didn’t even have the cash to pay their tax bills at the end of each year.

But plans to get the “girls” back to­gether ac­tu­ally pre­date the end of Mel B’s un­happy mar­riage. The first mut­ter­ings came in 2015, when the pos­si­bil­ity of a re­union in 2016 to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of their first hit, Wannabe, was mooted.

Vic­to­ria said no, but the rest were on board. Then in April 2016, Mel C said she didn’t want to be part of it ei­ther.

In July that year, the re­main­ing three an­nounced a one-off gig in Hyde Park for later that north­ern sum­mer, but both Mel C and Vic­to­ria re­port­edly threat­ened le­gal ac­tion over it.

By Septem­ber 2016, an­other idea came into view – a TV ta­lent show with the prize be­ing a chance to join the re­main­ing Spice Girls on stage. In Jan­uary last year, Geri said she couldn’t do the re­union be­cause she had just had son Monty with hus­band Chris­tian Horner.

But by Apriêl 2017, the idea of a tour started to gain mo­men­tum again.

There was a meet­ing last Fe­bru­ary at Geri’s home in Lon­don, where they all – even Posh – agreed to do some­thing, which was the gen­e­sis of the cur­rent plan, al­though a spokes­woman for Vic­to­ria, 44, says she never promised to tour.

Mel B, 43, will be paid £2.15 mil­lion for the 2019 se­ries of

Amer­ica’s Got Ta­lent – and she’s go­ing to need it. Aside from her court-or­dered pay­ments, she has three daugh­ters by three dif­fer­ent men: Phoenix, 19, by first hus­band Jimmy Gulzar; An­gel, 11, by Ed­die Mur­phy; and Madi­son, 7, by sec­ond hus­band Be­la­fonte.

Emma Bun­ton, 42, has a day job as a DJ at Heart FM and is said to be worth £21 mil­lion. She and fi­ance Jade Jones, for­merly of the boy band Dam­age, have two sons, Tate, 11, and Beau, 7, and live in North Lon­don.

Mel C, 44, is said to be worth £27 mil­lion and had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as a solo artist af­ter leav­ing the group. She has a daugh­ter, Scar­let, 9, by prop­erty de­vel­oper Thomas Starr, and is now dat­ing her man­ager, Joe Mar­shall.

Geri, 46, mean­while, is said to be worth £30 mil­lion af­ter a post-Spice ca­reer that in­cludes sing­ing, writ­ing chil­dren’s books and pre­sent­ing a BBC sing­ing com­pe­ti­tion. She has daugh­ter Blue­bell, 12, from a re­la­tion­ship with screen­writer Sacha Ger­vasi, and son Monty, 22 months, from her mar­riage to mo­tor rac­ing ex­ec­u­tive Chris­tian Horner.

Mi­nus Posh, the four re­main­ing women say they couldn’t be more thrilled to an­nounce their sta­dium tour next year. They said in a state­ment: “Bring­ing girl power and our mes­sage of friend­ship and love back to the stage feels more rel­e­vant than ever. We hope ev­ery­one can join us for one big Spice Girls party!”

Vic­to­ria and Mel B haven’t got on for many years – a prob­lem even in the group’s hey­day. The two fell out dur­ing the Spice Girls’ last come­back tour in 2007, and they didn’t speak for at least two years af­ter­wards.

Mel B was then ap­par­ently stung when Vic­to­ria re­fused to lend her any clothes from her fash­ion la­bel when she was try­ing to get her own re­al­ity TV show off the ground.

Then Vic­to­ria started de­clin­ing all in­vi­ta­tions to per­form. She ex­plained: “I en­joy what I’m do­ing now so much more. Be­ing in the Spice Girls was fan­tas­tic, but I was never go­ing to be the best singer, and it wasn’t my pas­sion.” With a per­sonal for­tune of £240 mil­lion, she doesn’t need the cash – al­though her fash­ion empire, which was launched in 2008, con­tin­ues to make huge losses.

Said Mel B on Mon­day: “It’s just the four of us, but she might join us at some point. I hope so. I think it would be a shame if she didn’t.

“She’s got a full-on life with her com­mit­ments and the fash­ion line and her kids, so she’s not com­mit­ting just yet.”

Lessons must surely have been learnt from the dis­as­ters that dogged the group’s last tour of the US and UK, which was cut short in Fe­bru­ary 2008. Geri was the first to say she was think­ing of quit­ting, then Mel B said she wanted out.

This week she said: “I wasn’t in a very good space with my mar­riage, and I didn’t feel I could go on any more, liv­ing in this fake world. It was my fault, so I was de­ter­mined to get us back to­gether, and I’m still de­ter­mined it will be five (of us) at one point.”

Be­ing in the Spice Girls was fan­tas­tic, but I was never go­ing to be the best singer Vic­to­ria Beck­ham

Pic­tures: AP, Getty

FRAC­TIOUS FRIENDS: (main, from left) The Spice Girls in 2012 – Scary, Mel Brown; Sporty, Mel Chisholm; Gin­ger, Geri Horner; Baby, Emma Bun­ton; and Posh, Vic­to­ria Beck­ham; (be­low) David Beck­ham and Vic­to­ria; and Mel B.

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