April 12 1999 from The
By DOMINIC MOHAN
The ONLY journalist she will talk to
GERI HALLIWELL lives in a former monastery,
door to a
nunnery. And she dresses in a habit for her latest video. Is
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
invited over for confession at this critical time in her career.
The artist formerly known as Ginger Spice is about to make her
comeback. Her first solo single, Look At Me, is out May 10 -
as nervous as hell, bless her. An album titled Schizophrenic
will follow in
Gone are the heaving cleavage and platform boots of her Fab Five
Dressed in pink dolly shoes and a matching shirt, she still looks
but the last thing she has time for now is men.
Sipping a bottle of water at MTV's Manhattan HQ, Geri reveals:
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
Obviously Victoria and Mel B have become mothers and there is
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,
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
she was at her lowest ebb. Just talking about him brings a beaming
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
"He knows me really well and can sometimes see through me,
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
Stadium. When Mel B, Mel C, Emma and Victoria disagreed, Geri
them she was leaving anyway - and that the Wembley gig would
last with the group.
As it turned out they didn't even last that long as a five-piece.
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
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
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
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
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
"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.