She was part of one of the most famous bands in the world - but Melanie Chisholm has revealed how she should have left the Spice Girls sooner for the sake of her mental health.
The pop star, 46, opened up on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs about her “relief” at being diagnosed with depression after the group disbanded in 2000, which felt a “weight had been lifted” off her shoulders.
Speaking to host Lauren Laverne, she explained: “I kind of stayed a bit longer than I wanted to.
“A lot of that was because I was so unwell. I was struggling being in the company of the girls.
“I knew I had to go because I had to sort myself out.'
Chisholm continued: “I think my body actually took over my mind.
“I went from being anorexic to having a binge eating disorder.
“That's when I went to my GP and I was diagnosed with depression. It was such a weight lifted off my shoulders.
“It was such a relief because I thought, ‘Oh my God, there's a name for it and I can be helped.'“
The singer also admitted her struggle to live up to her “gobby” and “boyish” persona as ‘Sporty Spice’.
She explained: “I think I was described as the plain one at the back that doesn't really do much or doesn't really say much.
“That is really hurtful when you are a young aspiring pop star. I tried to make myself perfect, whatever I deemed perfect to be.”
Added pressure, Chisholm claimed, also came from an incident at the Brit Awards in 1996, before the Spice Girls’ debut single Wannabe had been released.
The star recalled how she and bandmate Victoria Beckham had a “scuffle” and she was disciplined by their management.
She noted: “To think I could have messed that up and lost it all…I began to be really, really hard on myself.
“I think that is where the start of some of my problems came because I had to be very, very strict with myself. I couldn't allow myself to relax because if I did I might mess it all up.”
Since 2015 the singer has been dating boyfriend Joe Marshall, and she has an 11-year-old daughter Scarlet from a previous relationship.