Former Spice Girls member Melanie Chisholm has talked about what happened when she met her estranged half-sister for the first time, and it exposes yet more dark truths about tabloid culture.
Following the death of Caroline Flack, who was hounded by the red-top papers during the last few months of her life, tabloid culture is under particular scrutiny right now. But the way they intrude on the private lives of celebrities is nothing new. You just need to look at their treatment of Meghan Markle, Britney Spears and Princess Diana to see how they’ve targeted women over the years. And that’s just a handful of examples.
Now, former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm has recalled a story that proves just how bad the intrusion can be. And it’s a wake-up call for how badly this targeted treatment can affect someone for the rest of their life.
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Speaking to Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs, Chisholm talked about how she felt like a “spare part” growing up with her siblings. She also told the story of how she first met her estranged half-sister.
“My dad had fathered a girl years before, but the relationship hadn’t worked out and he hadn’t kept in touch,” she started.
“It’s a crazy story: a tabloid paper got hold of the story and basically said to my dad ‘either you tell her or we will’. So he told me.
“And I went to meet her. She was 15 at the time, I was in my 20s.”
She continued to explain how “intense” this period of her life was, and how it was just “expected” for the tabloids to expose private details about her life.
“It was so intense and our lives were so bizarre. It was almost like there was this press intrusion but that was the way it was and you [had] to deal with it.”
Explaining what ACTUALLY happened when she met her sister, Chisholm added: “When I met my sister, a newspaper was actually there. And they photographed us and interviewed us. And when I think about that now I just think ‘what? Why on earth did I agree to that?’
“And why did anybody allow me to do that? It’s insane. I’m so private now. And oh god it just makes me cringe and shudder to think about it.
“But it was just the way it was. That was my normal day life. I would have a tabloid newspaper to follow me round to do something really personal and heart wrenching. It’s so bizarre isn’t it? So weird.”
Although this happened to Chisholm and her family around 20 years ago, it’s worryingly still relevant to the conversations we’re having around press intrusion today.
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…
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