If you grew up in the 90s, you probably thought you knew everything about the Spice Girls, but since their break-up in the early 2000s, the dark truth behind their fame and fortune has finally come to light. Stop right now, thank you very much: Here are 50 facts about the secret trials and tribulations of the most iconic girl group of all time.
When a British magazine advertised auditions for a new girl group in 1993, the venue was absolutely flooded with wannabe singers and dancers. 400 wannabe pop stars turned up to two rounds of auditions thanks to the ads, which read: "R.U. 18-23 with the ability to sing/dance. R.U. streetwise, outgoing, ambitious and dedicated?"
After an intense audition process, Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, and Michelle Stephenson were the chosen members of the band. But in a tragic twist, Stephenson would leave the group to focus on a sick family member and her own schooling, or at least, that's her version of the story. Others would say that Stephenson was fired. Her spot ended up going to Emma Bunton, AKA Baby Spice.
Geri Halliwell, Ginger Spice, almost never made it to auditions, let alone the group. She had been visiting her grandmother in Spain at the time of the first auditions, but thankfully managed to make it to the second round.
The group that would one day we the Spice Girls was originally named “Touch.” One of their first demos, “Sugar and Spice,” would influence the girls to change their name to the now iconic Spice Girls, but not before a scandalous detour. According to Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), the band was going to be called Spicy Girls...until management found out that an adult website was already using that name.
Fame brings wealth but it also courts tragedy , and for Geri Halliwell, her meteoric rise to fame nearly led to her eternal downfall. After struggling with bulimia for years, Geri hit rock bottom when she realized that she weighed just 98 pounds. After a friend and fellow British pop star Robbie Williams urged her to get help, Geri managed to recover from her dangerous illness.
At the beginning of their fame, the Spice Girls shared a town house in Maidenhead, England. According to Emma Bunton, Mel C. and Geri took out the garbage, Emma and Mel B. cooked, and Victoria, despite her nickname of Posh, cleaned the bathroom. When they weren't living that luxurious roomie life, the girls collaborated with producers and songwriters and rehearsed their demos and dance routines.
All bands see their share of in-fighting and drama, and the Spice Girls are no different. When Mel C. became a solo artist, fans noticed that some of her songs suggested that she had been bullied while she was in the Spice Girls. A reporter asked Mel C. about the heartbreaking lyrics, specifically pointing the finger at bandmate Mel B. All Mel C. could do was quietly nod in agreement.
Sadly, it gets worse. Mel C. even turned down two million pounds to perform with the band in 2016 because she had so many bad memories of her time in the group.
The girls weren’t feeling what their initial management team wanted from them–similar outfits, generic songs, and a contract none of the girls were a fan of. So the Spice Girls took their own lessons about "Girl Power." The band bravely took out a loan to buy the managers out and went to Simon Fuller and Virgin Records with six tracks of their own.
In 1996, a writer at Top of the Pops magazine was the one to gift each girl with their nickname: Posh (Victoria), Baby (Emma), Sporty (Mel C.), Ginger (Geri), and Scary (Mel B.). Wonder what Stephenson’s nickname would have been had she stayed.
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When the Spice Girls reunited for a global tour in 2007, all of the band members got a solo song, except for one. Instead of singing, Posh Spice merely strutted up and down the stage as though she was on a cat walk. It was very in-character.
The Spice Girls' mega-hit “Wannabe” was written in what has to be the world's most profitable 20-minute song-writing session. It debuted on the UK charts at number three, climbing to number one while the girls were touring in Japan. The catchy bop quickly became the group's break-out hit, catapulting the Spice Girls to fame and fortune.
The now iconic video for “Wannabe” was shot in just one take on a cold night in London. The record label executives hated the final product, but the girls stood their ground, refusing to do it again. The Spice Girls would be proven right. The video for "Wannabe" won an MTV Video Music Award in 1997. Artists > Suits any day, if you ask me.
In the years since the Spice Girls broke up, no one has had a more brutal time than Mel B. Scary Spice recently published a book all about her horrific marriage to the producer Stephen Belafonte. According to Mel B., Belafonte regularly coerced her into illicit substance use and risque activities, and took advantage of her wealth. But it gets even worse: Mel B. claims that Belafonte became physically abusive. At her lowest point, Mel B. nearly took her own life to escape the pain. Thankfully, she managed to end the relationship.
The Spice Girls' debut album Spice sold over 31 million copies worldwide, becoming the all-time best-selling album released by a girl group. The follow-up, Spiceworld, would sell 20 million albums worldwide.
The girls would go on to sell more than 80 million albums worldwide, which made them the all-time best-selling female group, ranking up with The Beatles in British pop culture.
Geri's original dress for the 1997 Brit Awards was just plain black. The spunky redhead thought it was too boring, so Ginger Spice sewed a Union Jack and a peace sign on it, making it the iconic dress we know and love today. Thanks to Geri's alterations, the Ginger Spice dress sold at an auction just one year later for almost $70,000.
Despite being named Baby Spice, Emma Bunton was pretty tough. The blonde singer knew karate and taught the rest of the group how to punch and high kick for their video for “Say You’ll Be There.”
No one said being a pop star was easy. While the Spice Girls shot the music video for "Say You'll Be There" in the sweltering heat of the Mojave Desert, one of the starlets had a close call with injury. After training her bandmates to perform the video's martial arts moves, Emma Bunton was so exhausted and overheated that she passed out from sunstroke.
The Spice Girls led, um, interesting lives before they hit it big. Posh's quirky grandparents kept exotic pets like monkeys and penguins. Ginger was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and worked in the glamorous world of Turkish game shows. Mel C. got into fights because of her Cheshire accent, and Mel B. left home when she was just 16 to pursue dancing.
Few people know that the video for “Viva Forever” is animated for a surprising reason. The girls had become too busy to appear in the film themselves.
The video for "Stop" looks like a high-end production, but in reality, it was anything but. The production team didn't have enough time to ask the filming location to close for the day, which doesn't sound like a big deal...until you realize that the video was shot at a school. The Spice Girls had to deal with screaming children for the entire day.
Sadly, being in the most popular girl group of the late 90s wasn’t all fun all the time. Years after the band split up, Mel C. revealed the dark truth. Known as Sporty Spice, Mel C. struggled with over-exercise and restrictive eating. Sadly this was just the beginning of her pain. She also suffered from depression and was officially diagnosed in 2000. While she manages her symptoms these days, Mel C. has banned all discussions of dieting in her household, hoping to protect her daughter.
The Spice Girls said "Goodbye" to their manager Simon Fuller with an absolutely brutal gesture. After the 1997 MTV Music Awards, the girls shoved all of their belongings into the back of Geri’s car. They took off, leaving Fuller to figure out that he'd just been dumped by the most successful pop group in the entire world. Ouch.
When Geri told Victoria that she was scared before their first live show, Victoria replied with, "Don't worry. They're only here to see your big hair and your big boobs." Honesty is the best policy, right?
Between 1996 and 1998, the Spice Girls grossed about $500-$800 million, making them one of the most successfully marketed groups ever.
In an alternate universe, the Lara Croft films star Posh Spice instead of Angelina Jolie. Yup, Victoria Beckham auditioned to play the iconic video game heroine.
The Spice Girls had hundreds of official products in their hey-day. Chupa Chups, Walkers Crisps, Cadbury Chocolate, Polaroid, official photo albums, and a Sony Playstation video game were among their many, many endorsements. They even had their own Barbie dolls and a contract with Pepsi worth 10 million dollars. Remember their commercial?
Despite all of their worldwide success, the Spice Girls were brutally snubbed by a famous musical organization. The girl group never won a Grammy Award.
Spiceworld: The Movie may have been nominated for seven Razzie Awards (the girls even won collectively for Worst Actress), but the film loosely based on their lives made a cool $100 million. Plus, in recent years, the once-panned movie has become something of a campy cult classic. With hilarious cameos by Elton John, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and ex-James Bond actor Roger Moore, we can see why.
At one point, the Spice Girls even had their own deodorant. It was named “Impulse Spice” because there's nothing more impulsive than deodorant...?
Geri once famously pinched Prince Charles’ royal behind. But few people know that this controversial event occurred at the same time as another major Spice Girls moment. Victoria met her future husband, the soccer player David Beckham on the same day. Apparently, Beckham had a huge crush on Posh Spice and was desperate to take her on a date. Clearly he made the right call. The British super-couple is still married today.
The girls wanted their looks to be attainable by their fans, so they dressed accordingly, often wearing affordable clothes.
When Geri told her bandmates that she was leaving the group, her fellow Spice Girls were utterly shocked. As Geri announced, "I'm gonna say bye now, girls," Mel C., Mel B., Emma, and Victoria simply couldn't believe her. During their first appearance without her, the shocked Spice Girls lied and said that Geri was sick.
When Mel C. first started pursuing a solo career and an edgier, rockier sound, the public responded with utter cruelty. As the ex-Spice Girl took to the stage at a music festival, the crowd threw apples, cereal, and even urine at her. While Mel C. says that the difficult experience helped toughen her up, we think that the crowd went way too far.
Mel B. and Victoria found out enormous personal news during the band's final American Tour. Scary and Posh were both pregnant. In a distinctly un-Posh twist, Victoria says that her pregnancy cravings included pickled onions. While we don't know about Mel B.'s weird cravings, we do know that the bandmates' babies were born just 13 days apart in 1999.
Most Spice Girls fans were fairly young when the pop group hit the big time, so listening to their songs as an adult can be a surprising experience. Tackling risque subjects like feminism, safe sex, and mother-daughter relationships, the Spice Girls' oeuvre was not as squeaky clean as we remembered. Don't believe us? Take another listen to "2 Become 1."
The Spice Girls were an absolute sensation, but they had one particularly surprising fan: the South African political activist Nelson Mandela. He adored the Spice Girls and even said that meeting them in 1997 was among his greatest moments in life. He invited the girl group to his 89th and 90th birthday parties, but sadly, the pop stars couldn't attend.
Simon Cowell revealed that he missed out on the Spice Girls because he offered them a deal too late in the game. However, Victoria says that there's another side to the story. According to Posh, Cowell turned the Spice Girls down, not the other way around. If Victoria's telling the truth, Cowell made the biggest mistake of his career.
Geri's been a busy bee since she left the Spice Girls. Ginger Spice is now a published author, thanks to the children’s book Ugenia Lavender, though these days, most of her time is spent wearing pristine all white outfits on her palatial country manor. Halliwell lives there with her husband, the ex-race car driver Christian Horner, and their children.
Even though Mel B. and Eddie Murphy split up in 2006, she still describes him as "the love of [her] life."
Victoria was the only member of the group who didn’t see much success as a solo musician, but don’t feel too badly for her. She's lived a very charmed life, what with her rock-solid marriage to David Beckham in 1998, the loving couple's brood of celebrity children, and the launch of her successful fashion line. Posh is doing quite well for herself!
When the Spice Girls announced that they would be reuniting for a world tour in 2007, fans immediately booked as many tickets as they could get their hands on. But little did they know, the reunion was doomed to a brutal, mysterious end. After performing in Europe and North America, the Spice Girls abruptly cancelled their shows in South America, Africa, and Australia. To this day, they've never revealed why, though rumors suggested that the bandmates' relationships disintegrated while they were on tour. Yikes.
Victoria and Emma are godmothers to Geri’s daughter, Bluebell Madonna, who was born in 1996. Aww.
The girls were cited as being part of the 1990s version of the British Invasion. Rolling Stone journalist David Sinclair once said, “Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty were the most widely recognized group of individuals since John, Paul, George, and Ringo.”
The girls' final performance occurred at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Though fans didn't know it at the time, this concert would be the last time that all five Spice Girls would sing together to this day. Victoria and Mel C. opted not to return during a 2016 reunion because they wanted to focus on their own careers.
When the band was still relatively new, Mel C. almost got kicked out for a cruel comment. Sporty Spice herself admits that she told Posh to buck off...except she didn't say "buck." When word got around, management gave Sporty a stern talking to, letting her know that if she did something like that again, she wouldn't be part of the Spice Girls for much longer.
In the years since the Spice Girls broke up, Mel C. has enjoyed a stable career as a musician. She's a well-known theatrical actress, especially in England, and she continues to record original music, often under her own record label (get it girl). But few people know the heartbreaking reason that she has trouble performing songs in front of live audiences. When Mel C. sees her fans respond, she gets overwhelmed and starts crying. Aww.
When you're in the biggest pop band in the world, you can bet that a lot of guys will be interested in dating you. Before settling down with David Beckham, Posh dated 80s child actor Corey Haim. Baby Spice was rumored to have a fling with N*SYNC's Justin Timberlake. Mel C. dated the Red Hot Chili Peppers' frontman Anthony Kiedis (he even wrote a song about her). Geri Halliwell dated Russell Brand for two passionate weeks, and finally, Mel B. has a daughter with comedic legend Eddie Murphy.
The Spice Girls have been in high-profile relationships with plenty of famous athletes and musicians—but few people know that their most scandalous tryst happened within the band. Mel B. revealed that at the height of the pop group’s fame, she had a fling with none other than Geri Halliwell. While Mel B. identifies as bisexual, Geri says it was just an experimental fling. Our preteen selves are shook.
For years, fans wondered why Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls. In 2010, she finally revealed the dark reason behind her departure. Originally, Geri said she left because of differences in the group but in a 2010 interview she revealed the truth. She was asked to give an interview about breast cancer, a cause that was very close to her heart, only for the band’s managers to forbid her from doing so. After all the band’s talk of girl power, Halliwell “felt like a hypocrite” and decided to pursue a solo career.
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