I’m just a working-class girl from Leeds at heart. Always have been, always will be; money and success hasn’t changed that. I was born in Harehills, an inner-city suburb of Leeds, and later we lived in another part of the city, Burley, but I left home in my early teens and I learned about life by myself. My first job was dancing in Blackpool. Then in 1994, when I was 19, I joined a band called Touch, which became the Spice Girls, which was just so full on. My parents, Andrea and Martin, came to see us on tour, but we never had a lot of time together after that.
My husband, Stephen Belafonte, a producer, was a friend first. I had two children, Phoenix Chi, who’s now 12, and Angel, who’s four, and he had a daughter, Giselle, now six, by the time we became a couple. We all get on because I make sure we do. It’s a fine line between being a friend and a parent. But I’m determined that the girls grow up to be respectful. I can’t bear to see children who throw things around and don’t take care of their belongings. I guess I am very strict – I’m always telling them to tidy up their rooms and make their beds.
When the results of the DNA test came in and Angel was, in fact – no surprise – Eddie Murphy’s child, I encouraged their relationship from day one.
My littlest girl thinks she is a princess. Angel is into everything girly – princess shoes and pink dresses. She’s so sweet.
Phoenix is completely different, very curious and thoughtful. She’s also into sport and is a bit of a tomboy. She’s in sixth grade at the moment. I want to make sure all my children get well educated – every mum would like to see their children choose a decent nurturing profession, like medicine and I am no different. But I also want them to enjoy themselves, whether that means becoming a nerdy doctor or opening an orphanage or being a singer.
You have to be dedicated. We went to see Willow Smith perform live in Los Angeles, where we live. Phoenix, who is six months older than Willow, said to me, how cool is that, to be doing what she does? But I said, ‘Darling, if you wanted to be a singer now, you’d be practising all day every day in your room already – you wouldn’t be able to stop …’ But she isn’t like that, and you can’t force children, nor should you.
I have regular therapy sessions. Therapy makes you more aware of your partner. We don’t need counselling – it’s not like that. But it does make you more considerate of each other. It’s helped me to build good relationships with my daughters. It reminds you to check in with your kids every day. It is certainly not about blaming your parents – it just helps you understand events and helps you to change your attitudes and thought processes. It teaches you to respect each other.
I’m six months pregnant and Stephen and I couldn’t be happier. I am eating a lot. Luckily, Stephen is a good cook.
The Spice Girls are still a family. You can’t go through what we did so young and not have a special bond. We don’t have to see each other all the time, and we don’t have to agree on everything, but I know we will always support each other. My friends mean the world to me.”
Hard Rock’s Spice Girls Artist Spotlight T-shirts, featuring a butterfly design and the girls’ signatures, can be bought from Hard Rock cafes in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.