April 12 1999 from The Sun

The ONLY journalist she will talk to

GERI HALLIWELL lives in a former monastery, next door to a
nunnery. And she dresses in a habit for her latest video. Is she
trying to tell us something?
"I have taken a vow of celibacy," she admits. "I've squeezed out all my
emotions for my solo career - it's been a sacrifice."
I meet up with Geri in New York - the only British journalist she has
invited over for confession at this critical time in her career.
The artist formerly known as Ginger Spice is about to make her big
comeback. Her first solo single, Look At Me, is out May 10 - and she's
as nervous as hell, bless her. An album titled Schizophrenic will follow in
the summer.
Gone are the heaving cleavage and platform boots of her Fab Five days.
Dressed in pink dolly shoes and a matching shirt, she still looks stunning -
but the last thing she has time for now is men.
Sipping a bottle of water at MTV's Manhattan HQ, Geri reveals: "I
haven't been in a serious relationship for five years.
"Working on the album I was just focused on that and I used up all my
feelings and emotions. It made me write better and it has been a sacrifice.
Obviously Victoria and Mel B have become mothers and there is part of
me that wants to be a mum.
"But someone is out there for me and I'm sure my time will come. I just
need to find the right man first. I'm not desperately searching, though."
The one man who *has* been a constant figure in Geri's life since she left
the Spice Girls last May is George Michael.
She describes the former Wham! star as her saviour, rescuing her when
she was at her lowest ebb. Just talking about him brings a beaming smile
to her face.
"He's been a pillar of strength for me," she says. "When I left the group I
was meant to be staying with him for three days and ended up staying
three months.
"He knows me really well and can sometimes see through me, which is
kind of scary. We have a lot in common and it's a real and honest
friendship. "He gives me advice and criticism and really helped me with
my confidence and with the new single."
Geri admits she wanted all five Spice Girls to agree to break up the group
in September last year, after the last night of their world tour at Wembley
Stadium. When Mel B, Mel C, Emma and Victoria disagreed, Geri told
them she was leaving anyway - and that the Wembley gig would be her
last with the group.
As it turned out they didn't even last that long as a five-piece. Geri
walked out four months early after a row about her doing an
interview following her breast cancer scare.
I ask Geri to set the record straight about exactly what happened just under a year ago, when she quit the Spice Girls after
failing to appear on the Lottery TV show.
She explains: "It all started off when The Sun did an interview about my breast cancer fears. I knew I had to do something
about the issue and maybe I did get over-emotional about it.
"The girls were behind me to a point but then an interview I was doing with ITN was cancelled. I was furious.
"I don't really want to get into who made that decision, but I would have felt a liar and a hypocrite if I hadn't done anything
about it. I felt I was losing my soul and integrity and I had to get my priorities right, so I left"
The only time she regretted quitting was when the Wembley spectacular was shown live on TV.
Geri cried herself to sleep that night, and the memory is still obviously painful. She mumbles: "I really regretted my decision that
night, it was tough.
"I was at home and couldn't bring myself to watch the gig. I went to bed really early and there were tears. I felt very sad, but I
made the choice." Geri's new single - perhaps best described as Spice Up Your Life meets Shirley Bassey - proves she has the
talent to launch a successful solo career.
The track is accompanied by a stunning video which shows the 26-year-old beauty in a variety of guises - a bride, a nun, a
vamp and a tough businesswoman.
Chrysalis, the record label behind Robbie Williams' revival, have put £2million into her relaunch and she is currently on a
whistle-stop promotional tour, taking in Rio, New York, Montreal, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan and London in just eight days.
Geri has high hopes for her solo career, but is pilosophical about the possibility of failure. She confesses: "I would be gutted if
this didn't work. I would probably hide under the sofa for a week, but life goes on. "I just want to prove myself because I have
had criticism. I'd rather do my best and have a go at it, even if I fail.
"I'm just doing my own little thing and I hope women will like it and Spice Girls fans will like it.
"Perhaps people aren't expecting much from me and I'll surprise them.
"After all, I can never live up to a girl band with seven number one songs."
So is Geri planning to meet up with her former bandmates?
"I don't know how I'd feel if I saw them again," she admits. "It would be like seeing an ex-lover. I care about them and wish
them luck but I need a little space.
"I'll always have a place in my heart for them and I'll never rule out a reunion, but you have to move on.
"I've no plans to see them at the moment but I'm sure there will be a day when we all meet up and have a laugh about it all."
I suggest that Posh Spice's wedding to soccer star David Beckham on July 4 might be the perfect time for a get-together.
Her reply comes as a surprise. "It won't happen then because I haven't received an invitation."
Geri acts as if it does not bother her, but deep down, I know there is no place