Mel C Says Spice Girls Success Led to Depression, Eating Disorders: 'I Was Quite Unwell'

The girl group alum is opening up about the pressures that came with pop stardom during her Sporty Spice days in a new interview

Victoria Beckham, Mel C, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell and Mel B from The Spice Girls
Spice Girls. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Melanie "Mel C" Chisholm is opening up about what she calls the "difficult parts" of her past, in an effort to help young people be better prepared for their own fame.

The Spice Girls alum — known to fans as the iconic Sporty Spice — is preparing to release her autobiography, THE SPORTY ONE: My Life as a Spice Girl , on Sept. 27 and explained some of her early struggles in a new interview with The Daily Mail. When she was part of one of the biggest-selling groups of the '90s, Chisholm now reveals she dealt with both clinical depression and an eating disorder, and looks to that time as a "mixed bag of emotions."

"I was quite unwell for a few years," Chisholm said. "When I look back, I don't know physically how I did it; when you consider how little I lived on and how much exercise I was doing alongside a brutal schedule."

Melanie C
Joe Maher/Getty

In the summer of 1994, Mel C and the group were managed by a man named Chic Murphy, who she says made a comment about her thighs when she did a backflip at a pool.

From there, Chisholm started eliminating food groups and ruling out carbs, and her periods eventually stopped. While the group's eventual manager Simon Fuller sent her to a mental health clinic, by the time Y2K arrived, she said would binge eat until she was "unconscious" and tried to make herself sick.

"It was more the level of fame. And so many of my issues were driven by control or lack of control," she said. "I was binge drinking. I was binge eating. I was embarrassed and ashamed of it. I had to keep it a secret because even though you're in denial about it, there's still that tiny little voice going: 'This isn't right, you can't continue like this.' "

spice girls
Spice Girls in 2007. MJ Kim/getty

Mel C explained that around the time the group disbanded, potential suicidal thoughts were also a concern for her. "My own behavior discouraged me so much," she recalled. "I didn't know how far that could progress. So it was definitely time to get outside help."

Chisholm was diagnosed with clinical depression, anorexia, a binge-eating disorder, severe anxiety and agoraphobia, according to The Daily Mail. She was put on antidepressants.

These days, Chisholm — who noted last year that another Spice Girls reunion isn't totally out of the question — said she sees herself as a "warrior."

"We are f---ing warriors, you know?" she explained. "Sometimes when I think of what I have done and what I now deal with every day; with work, with being a mum, with family stuff. And I'm like, f---, I'm still standing."

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With her autobiography arriving next week, Mel C's book tour hits the U.S. at the end of the month with stops in both New York and Los Angeles. She now joins fellow members Mel B and Victoria Beckham in having her own book.

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