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Mel C reveals she was sexually assaulted before Spice Girls’ first performance

The singer discussed the incident on the ‘How to Fail’ podcast

By Joe Goggins

Mel C onstage in Cologne, 2019
Mel C's autobiography is entitled 'Who I Am'. (Photo: Raimond Spekking)

Melanie Chisholm has revealed that she was sexually assaulted before her first performance with the Spice Girls.

The Liverpudlian singer, better known as Mel C or Sporty Spice during her time with the iconic pop group, was speaking with the novelist and journalist Elizabeth Day on the latter’s How to Fail podcast, as she continues to do the press rounds promoting her new autobiography, Who I Am.

Chisholm recounted that the incident occurred at a hotel in Istanbul, just before she took to the stage with her bandmates for the first time. The alleged perpetrator was a masseur; Chisholm said that she had suppressed the memory from the start.

“What happened to me, I kind of buried immediately, because there was other things to focus on,” she said. “Everything was leading towards the pinnacle of everything I’d ever wanted to do.”

Only now has the singer decided to discuss the assault, saying that she was spurred to do so having remembered what she characterised as a “mild” assault in a dream.

“I didn’t want to make a fuss, but also I didn’t have time to deal with it,” she continued. “I think it’s really important to me to say it and to finally deal with it and process it.”

She went on to suggest that such transgressions are par for the course within the music industry, and claimed that her conflicted feelings over the incident were amplified by being in “an environment where you take your clothes off with this professional person”.

“Terrible things happen all the time, and this situation wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” she reflected. “I felt very vulnerable, I felt embarrassed.”

Chisholm has been increasingly candid about the pressures she faced during her time with the Spice Girls in recent years, having first discussed her experiences with depression and an eating disorder back in 2020. She touches upon the subjects again in Who I Am, and told MailOnline last week (September 8) that she had been diagnosed with clinical depression, anorexia, a binge-eating disorder, severe anxiety and agoraphobia.

For advice and information on sexual harassment, assault and rape, visit the Rape Crisis UK website.