Getting real. Melanie Chisholm, aka Mel C, opened up about the experience of being sexually assaulted before her first ever full-length live performance with the Spice Girls in 1997.
“We were in Istanbul, we did two shows over there, and we’d never done a full-length concert before, so obviously we’d rehearsed for weeks ahead, costume fittings, makeup here,” Chisholm, 48, wrote in her upcoming memoir, Who I Am: My Story, per the Daily Mail. “Everything was leading towards the pinnacle of everything I’d ever wanted to do and ever wanted to be.”
She continued, “And what happened to me I kind of buried immediately because there was other things to focus on. I didn’t want to make a fuss, but also I didn’t have time to deal with it. 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.”
The pop star, known by fans as Sporty Spice, was 23 when the incident took place. She shared that while the act of violence “affected” her, she buried the issue due to being “in an environment where you take your clothes off with this professional” — seeming to imply that the person who assaulted her worked in the entertainment industry.
The England native explained that the process of writing her autobiography helped her wake up to the experience, before deciding that it was “really important for me to say it and to finally deal” with what happened.
“I suppose in a version of sexual assault it’s a mild version but I felt violated,” she shared. “I felt very vulnerable. I felt embarrassed, and then I felt unsure: ‘Have I got this right, what’s going on?’”
Chisholm further opened up about the difficulties she faced as a member of the Spice Girls during a Wednesday, September 14, episode of the “How to Fail” podcast, revealing that she still deals with mental health struggles to this day.
“Even now, in 2022, I live with depression. You know, it’s there. I’ve learned very much how to deal with it and cope with it and keep it at bay, but sometimes it can get the better of me,” the Spice World star, who is also in recovery for bulimia and anorexia, shared. “So I think it’s really important to learn what works for you. I think everybody can just have different little tools in the kit to get them through.”
While the “Wannabe” singer said she “wouldn’t change” living life in the spotlight, she does wish she had “done it differently.”
“I’m a warrior. I was struggling and in my eyes, I failed. I failed myself, I failed the public, but I got through it. I got through the other side. My story is that I did succumb to these things and I felt ashamed for that, but the thing that I feel very proud of is that I overcame all those things,” she explained.
Who I Am: My Story will be released on Thursday, September 15.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).