It's official. Geri Halliwell--better known as her pop alter-ego, Ginger Spice, the so-called "brains" behind the Spice Girls--has quit the chart-topping singing group. And a world--especially its 11 year olds--mourns. A lawyer for Halliwell broke the news to devastated Spiceworld denizens Sunday in London. "Sadly, I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls," Halliwell said, in a statement read by attorney Julian Turton. "This is because of differences between us." "I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best." Halliwell's declaration of independence ended with the warning: "P.S. I'll be back."
The surviving Spice Girls--Scary, Sporty, Baby and Posh--released their own statement of purpose on Sunday, vowing to further the cause of "Girl Power" as a quartet. "We are upset and saddened by Geri's departure, but we are very supportive in whatever she wants to do," they said, in a statement. The Spices apologized to fans "for having to go through all of this" and said the group--and its current world tour--is "here to stay." The bubblegum popsters are scheduled to play 40 dates in the United States and Canada, starting June 15 in Miami. While a spokesman for the group said "there are no problems with the American tour," it remains to be seen if ticked-off Ginger fans will "Wannabe" getting their money back. For now, Ticketmaster reports to the New York Post that it's logging phone calls mostly from ticket-holders who want assurances that the shows will go on. (Current answer: They will.) Overall, though, these are trying times for the Spice Girls faithful. Reads one entry on a newsgroup devoted to the made-to-order band: "Geri, how could you do this to millions of fans?" Halliwell ditched the group last week, skipping two shows from the Euro leg of the Spice Girls tour. The official story, at first, was that Ginger had a bad tummy. But reports of a rift between Halliwell and the other Spices were rampant. It's not exactly clear what caused the riff. Neither Halliwell nor her ex-bandmates got into the dirty details Sunday. A London tab blames a power struggle between Ginger and Scary. "They both wanted to be the leader of the pack and Scary hated not getting everything her own way," a guy identified as the band's chauffeur tells The News of the World. "Scary was always making nasty comments to the other girls about Geri." Oh, yeah? Like what? "'Oh, look! Geri's got her boobs out again,'" the chauffeur says. The wheel man says Geri/Ginger "broke down under the abuse." At 25, Halliwell was the group's resident Old Spice. She also was viewed as its most outspoken member. And certainly its showiest, if the May issue of Playboy (featuring nude shots of a pre-fame Ginger) is any evidence. The Spice Girls were formed in 1994, the by-product of a casting-call magazine ad for "street wise, outgoing" types. As a quintet, they recorded two million-selling albums, Spice and Spiceworld, made one movie, Spice World, and pushed the idea that platform boots were a good idea. The band's camp stressed that Halliwell's departure does not mean an end for any of this. "There will be another album and everything else," spokesman Alan Edwards said. "Spice will live for many years to come." by Joal Ryan June 1, 1998