Melanie Chisholm, also known as “Mel C” and Sporty Spice from The Spice Girlsopens up about a night when she claims she was sexually assaulted before her first appearance as a Spice Girl.
In an interview on Elizabeth Day’s This is how you fail podcast ahead of the Sept. 15 release of her upcoming memoir Who I amtold the Spice Girl that she was sexually assaulted by a massage therapist at a spa in a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey in 1997. Chisholm was staying at the hotel the night before the girl group’s first live performance.
“We were in Istanbul. We did two shows over there, and we’d never done a full-length concert before, so obviously we’d been rehearsing for weeks beforehand, costume accessories, makeup, hair, everything leading up to the top of everything ever wanted to do. and ever wanted to be,” Chisholm recalled. “What drives me is to be on stage, to be a performer, so here we were, the night of the first ever Spice Girls show, so I treat myself to a massage at the hotel.”
She continued: “And what happened to me – I kind of buried straight away because there were other things to focus on. I didn’t want to make a fuss, but I didn’t have time to deal with it either.” She added that because she “didn’t deal with it at the time,” she has since realized that it allowed that night to be “buried for years and years and years.”
She said she didn’t think about the incident until she wrote about it in her memoir: “It came to me in a dream or I kind of woke up and it was in my mind. And I thought, ‘Oh, God , I didn’t even think of having that in the book.’ Then of course I had to think: ‘Well, do I want to reveal this?’ And I just thought that I actually think it’s really important for me to say that and finally deal with it and process it.”
“Terrible things happen all the time and this situation was not as bad as it could have been,” she said. Although she did not share further details about the assault, she described her experience as a “mild version” of sexual assault. “But I felt offended. I felt very vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. And then I felt unsure – do I have a handle on this? What happens? I was in an environment where you take your clothes off with this professional person.”
Chisholm went on to say that there were “so many thoughts and feelings” about that moment in her life, but she ultimately wanted to share and talk about it because of the impact it had on her: “It has affected me. But I had buried it, and I’m sure … a lot of people do.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.