I was only 25 when doc­tors told me that I might never have a baby

Emma Bun­ton opens up to Louise Gan­non about the proud­est achieve­ment of her life – and how she’s fi­nally got en­gaged to her part­ner of 15 years

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

E mma Bun­ton made ‘girl power’ one of the most ubiq­ui­tous phrases of the 1990s, along­side her Spice coun­ter­parts Mel B (Scary), Mel C (Sporty), Geri Hal­li­well (Ginger) and the erst­while Vic­to­ria Adams ( Posh). Now aged 37, ‘Baby Spice’ Emma is all grown up, with two sons, Beau, five, and Tate, two, by her long-term part­ner, Jade Jones — the for­mer lead singer of 1990s boy­band Dam­age. She is mov­ing from pop into tele­vi­sion pre­sent­ing with a new pro­gramme, Your Face Sounds Fa­mil­iar, com­ing to ITV this sum­mer.

What is your ear­li­est mem­ory? I have an in­cred­i­bly pre­cise and clear mem­ory of sit­ting in my pushchair as a very small child and be­ing caught in the rain. Peo­ple don’t be­lieve me when I talk about this be­cause I must have been a baby at the time. But I do have the most vivid rec­ol­lec­tion of my mum strap­ping on the clear plas­tic rain cover and then run­ning as fast as she could into the near­est shel­ter. What I re­mem­ber most about this is that I felt in­cred­i­bly safe, warm and cosy with the sound of the rain on the plas­tic. Even now I can think right back to that mo­ment.

What sort of child were you? I was very shy. I absolutely loved singing and mak­ing up dance rou­tines, but I’d never per­form in front of other peo­ple. I’d go up to my bed­room, shut the door and do it all be­hind closed doors. I’d study shows like Top Of The Pops and then copy the rou­tines. I was ob­sessed with Bana­narama and I’d pre­tend to be a ra­dio host putting on their songs.

When did you last feel re­ally happy? There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween happy and be­ing ut­terly eu­phoric, some­thing which has hap­pened to me twice in my life, both times just af­ter I have given birth. I hon­estly felt crazily, heart-melt­ingly happy. You get a mas­sive rush from be­ing on a stage, singing in front of thou­sands of peo­ple and it is the most in­cred­i­ble feel­ing. It is a form of hap­pi­ness but it’s mixed with nerves, adren­a­line and ex­cite­ment. But the feel­ing I had at the birth of my sons was pure and ab­so­lute joy.

What has been your great­est achieve­ment? When I was 25, I was told by a doc­tor that I had just a 50/50 chance of hav­ing chil­dren be­cause I had en­dometrio­sis. It was dev­a­s­tat- ing. There was a big part of me that thought it was never go­ing to hap­pen. So my two boys are def­i­nitely my big­gest achieve­ment.

… and your big­gest dis­ap­point­ment? Not get­ting the part of Bianca [which was fa­mously played by Patsy Palmer] in EastEn­ders. When I was 17 I was up for the part: I loved the show and thought it was per­fect for me. I got right down to the fi­nal au­di­tions and then got re­jected. It was re­ally up­set­ting, but I learned a very im­por­tant life les­son be­ing at stage school — you don’t get ev­ery­thing in life you want, but some­times it’s for a rea­son; the very next week af­ter fail­ing that au­di­tion I met the guys who put to­gether the Spice Girls...

What is your best char­ac­ter trait? I’m ex­tremely loyal. Not just with friends — who I would do any­thing for — but also at work: I’ll do ev­ery­thing hu­manly pos­si­ble to make some­thing good. I stick with peo­ple and I stick with things. Ev­ery­thing I com­mit to, I see through to the end. … Im­pa­tience and what — is your I can worst put up char­ac­ter with faults flaw? in other peo­ple but not in my­self.

Who is the love of your life? Jade. We have been to­gether 15 years. He’s my best friend, I still re­ally fancy him and he’s the most in­cred­i­ble fa­ther to our boys. We’re fi­nally en­gaged — but we still haven’t made any plans for an ac­tual wed­ding! What ad­vice would you give your younger self?

Stop wor­ry­ing so much. Even when I was in the band I’d be wor­ry­ing that my mum and dad were okay. I worry about get­ting things right and just so many lit­tle things. Wor­ry­ing can take over.

Who would be your dream din­ner date? I had it last week when I went out for a meal with Dawn French and Jennifer Saun­ders. I’ve worked quite a bit with Jennifer on Absolutely Fab­u­lous and the Spice Girls mu­si­cal. It was as hi­lar­i­ous as you’d imag­ine. If I could, though, I’d have added Elvis Pres­ley and Prince Harry. I think Harry might have sat on my knee when he was a lit­tle boy and I was in the Spice Girls.

When did you last cry? I cry a lot: films, ads, peo­ple telling a sad story. I’ve got more emo­tional as I’ve got older.

What would you say you are you best at?

Or­gan­is­ing re­ally good par­ties.

What would you like to be bet­ter at? Sport. I’d like to be able to run with Mel C with­out fall­ing down gasp­ing for breath. I’d just like to be able to keep up with her, but I don’t think it’s ever go­ing to hap­pen.

What is your favourite word? Po­gono­pho­bia. It means fear of beards and I don’t suf­fer from it; I just love the word.

What was the last book you read? Fifty Shades Of Grey. I was very late on the trend but I was dis­ap­pointed — I didn’t think it ac­tu­ally lived up to all the hype... Emma will be a judge, along­side Ju­lian Clary, on Your Face Sounds Fa­mil­iar, a new se­ries com­ing to ITV this sum­mer in which celebri­ties im­per­son­ate mu­sic icons past and present

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