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,
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
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.