Melanie “Mel C” Chisholm just got very candid in her new memoir, Who I Am: My Story (titled The Sporty One: My Life as a Spice Girl in the US). The book doesn’t officially come out until Thursday, but DailyMail.com snagged a sneak peek of some of its contents — revealing a very horrific moment of the singer’s past.
In an excerpt revealed on Wednesday, Mel shared she was sexually assaulted the night before the Spice Girls’ first ever full-length concert in Istanbul, Turkey in 1997, when she was just 23. So terrifying.
According to Sporty Spice, she was in Istanbul for the pop group’s big concert, and after a lot of rehearsal and preparation, she decided to treat herself to a massage at the hotel the night before taking the stage. Unfortunately, the “professional” took advantage of her and the circumstances, she explained:
“It happened to me on the night before the first ever Spice Girls 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 rehearsed for weeks ahead, costume fittings, make-up here, everything was leading towards the pinnacle of everything I’d ever wanted to do and ever wanted to be.”
She was living the dream, with things only looking up. To celebrate and prepare for the big first performance, her self-care moment turned into a nightmare:
“What drives me is being on stage, being a performer, so here we were the eve of the first ever Spice Girls show, so I treat myself to a massage in the hotel. 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.”
On why the assault was especially jarring for her, she added:
“I was in an environment where you take your clothes off with this professional person.”
So f**ked up that the massage therapist would violate her like that! The 48-year-old continued:
“I suppose in a version of sexual assault it’s a mild version but I felt violated. I felt very vulnerable. I felt embarrassed, and then I felt unsure ‘have I got this right, what’s going on?’”
All assault is assault — no matter how “mild” it may seem. Acknowledging how many victims struggle with similar doubts as she did, the singer noted:
“It has affected me. But I buried it. Lots of people do.”
After the incident, she remembered walking out of the room and trying to forget it ever happened. She may have successfully “buried” the horrible incident, but we’re sure subconsciously it weighed heavily on her. Interestingly, it wasn’t until she set out to write her book that the memory resurfaced, she explained:
“Because I didn’t deal with it at the time, I realise that I allowed that to be buried for years and years and years. And then when I was writing the book it came to me in a dream, or I kind of woke up and it was in my mind and it was like ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t even thought about having that in the book.’”
What a thing to suddenly remember and then have to process. We’re sure it wasn’t easy to deal with her trauma or decide to share it with the world! The choice to share her personal story of sexual assault was something she considered for a bit, until she realized how important it was for her to be honest, saying:
“Then of course I had to think ‘Do I want to reveal this?’, and I just thought ‘I think it’s really important for me to say it and to finally deal with it and process it’ — and for other people.”
A post shared by Melanie C / Mel C (@melaniecmusic)
Sharing these accounts can be so empowering and impactful. Of course, Mel’s no stranger to getting vulnerable in public, either. On Wednesday’s episode of the How to Fail podcast, she also opened up about struggling with depression over the years, especially as a result of fame, media, and being body-shamed. While she doesn’t think she was ever “suicidal,” she did recall nights when she “wished to not wake up,” explaining:
“I like to think I’ve never felt suicidal, but I have wished to not wake up which is awful — which is an awful, awful place to be in. Sometimes it felt like my spark had gone out. But most of the time it’s there. There’s a little flicker even in my darkest moments and it’s pulled me through.”
Depression still affects her today, though she has learned many coping mechanisms, sharing:
“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. 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.”
It’s so important to seek help when needed. We’re so, so sorry Mel ever had to go through this and we hope sharing her story helps with the healing process.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
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