Mel C Reveals She Was Sexually Assaulted Before First Live Spice Girls Show

The revelation comes from her forthcoming memoir.

In her new memoir The Sporty One: My Life as a Spice Girl, Melanie Chisholm is detailing the harrowing experience she had the night before she and the group took to the stage for their first ever live performance in the ‘90s.

While appearing on Tuesday’s episode of How to Fail with Elizabeth Day podcast, Chisholm recalled the weeks leading up to their live show being crammed with costume fittings and hair and makeup trials. The singer, who is affectionately known as Mel C and Sporty Spice by fans, described it as “the pinnacle of everything I’d ever wanted to do and ever wanted to be.”

Less than 24 hours before the concert, Mel C was sexually assaulted at hotel spa in Istanbul, Turkey.

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“And what drives me is being onstage, being a performer, so here we were the eve of the first ever Spice Girls show, so I treat myself to a massage in the hotel. And what happened to me, I kind of buried immediately, because there was other things to focus on,” she said on the podcast.

“You know, I didn’t want to make a fuss, but also I didn’t have time to deal with it,” Chisholm continued. “And because I didn’t deal with it at the time, I realize that I allowed that to be buried for years and years and years.”

Chisholm went on to reveal it was actually her book that pushed her “finally deal with it and process it.” She also shared that the assault wasn’t originally part of her writing plan.

“When I was writing the book, it came to me in a dream, or I kind of woke up and it was in my mind. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t even thought about having that in the book,'” Chisholm recalled. “Then, of course, I had to think, ‘Well, do I want to? Do I want to reveal this?’ And I just thought, ‘Actually, I think it’s really important for me to say it and to finally deal with it and process it.”

The “Wannabe” singer said sharing her story was just as much for her as it was for others who’ve had a similar experience.

“Terrible things happen all the time and this situation wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been,” Chisholm said, referring to what happened as a “mild version” of sexual assault. Nonetheless, it was an experience that left her feeling violated, vulnerable, and embarrassed.

“I felt unsure, ‘Have I got this right, what’s going on?'” Chisholm said. “I was in an environment where you take your clothes off with this professional person.”

Chisholm added she needed to write about it in order to process what happened and heal.

“So there were so many thoughts and feelings, and I just thought, you know what, I do want to talk about it, because it has affected me,” she said. “But I’d buried it, and I’m sure … lots of people do.”

If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). 

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more