Geraldine Estelle "Geri" Halliwell (born 6 August 1972) is an English pop singer-songwriter, clothes designer, author and actress. Halliwell came to international prominence in the 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of girl group the Spice Girls. On 30 May 1998, Halliwell left the Spice Girls due to depression and differences within the group. In 2007, it was announced that the Spice Girls had reunited, and that Halliwell had rejoined the group. Together they embarked on the Return of the Spice Girls tour and released a Greatest Hits album. Halliwell has reportedly amassed a $30 million fortune during her last two years in the group.
In 1999, Halliwell launched her solo career and released her debut album, Schizophonic, which spawned three number ones at the UK Singles Chart: "Mi Chico Latino," "Lift Me Up," and "Bag It Up," while the lead single, "Look at Me," peaked at number 2. In 2001, Halliwell followed up with her second album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster; the first single, "It's Raining Men," was a major hit worldwide, it peaked at number 1 in the UK and peaked in the top 10 in over 27 countries, becoming Halliwell's biggest hit to date. Halliwell released her third studio album, Passion, in 2005. Geri has been nominated for four Brit Awards (in 2000 and 2002).
After a few years of relative obscurity, in April 2010, Halliwell announced that she had started working on new music. In April 2013, the Nine Network announced that she would become the fourth judge on Australia's Got Talent. On 12 September 2013, it was announced that Halliwell would return to the music industry in Australia with the release of her first solo single in nearly eight years, "Half of Me". With 11 number one singles (7 as part of The Spice Girls, 4 as a solo artist) she is the female singer with the third most number one singles in UK chart history.
Halliwell was born at Watford General Hospital, Hertfordshire, to Laurence Francis Halliwell (1922–1993), who was of English and Swedish descent, and his wife Ana María (née Hidalgo), who is a Spaniard from Huesca. Halliwell grew up on a council estate in North Watford. She was educated at Watford Grammar School for Girls.
Before starting her music career, Halliwell had worked as a nightclub dancer in Majorca, a presenter on the Turkish version of Let's Make a Deal, and as a glamour model. At the age of 18, she appeared in The Sun as a Page 3 girl. Following her rise to fame with the Spice Girls, nude photos of Halliwell were republished in a number of magazines in 1992 and 1995 including Playboy and Penthouse.
1994–98: Spice Girls
In 1994 Halliwell, along with Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, and Victoria Adams responded to an advertisement in The Stage magazine. Around 400 women who answered the ad went to Dance Works studios. Halliwell, Chisholm, Adams, Bunton and Brown were ultimately chosen as the members of the group. The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and were frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management was steering them. In October 1994, armed with a catalogue of demos and dance routines, the group began touring management agencies. They persuaded Bob Herbert to set up a showcase performance for the group in front of industry writers, producers and A&R men in December 1994 at the Nomis Studios in Shepherd's Bush where they received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction. Due to the large interest in the group, the Herberts quickly set about creating a binding contract for the group. Encouraged by the reaction they had received at the Nomis showcase, all five members delayed signing contracts on the legal advice from, amongst others, Adams' father Anthony Adams. In March 1995, because of the group's frustration at their management's unwillingness to listen to their visions and ideas, they parted with Heart Management.
The group began a relationship with Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment and finally signed with him in March 1995. During the summer of that year the group toured record labels in London and Los Angeles with Fuller and finally signed a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. From this point on, up to the summer of 1996, the group continued to write and record tracks for their debut album while extensively touring the west coast of the United States, where they had signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific. On 7 June 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut single "Wannabe" in the United Kingdom. In the weeks leading up to the release, the video for "Wannabe", got a trial airing on The Box music channel. The video was an instant hit, and was played 502 times a week. After the video was released, the Spice Girls had their first live TV slot on broadcast on LWT's Surprise Surprise. The song proved to be a global hit, reaching number 1 in 29 countries. and becoming the biggest-selling single by an all-female group of all time. It was followed by nine further number-1 singles from their albums Spice, Spiceworld and Forever. Each member of the group received a nickname from the media. Halliwell was named "Ginger Spice". Other successful releases followed, including "Say You'll Be There" and "2 Become 1" from Spice, and "Spice Up Your Life", "Too Much" and "Stop" from Spiceworld.
On 30 May 1998, Halliwell left the Spice Girls due to depression and differences between the group. The first official confirmation was an announcement to the media by her solicitor on 31 May. Her action aroused controversy, her former group being due to embark on a North American tour, which they eventually completed without her. Although she had already left the group, the Spice Girls released "Viva Forever", the final music video to feature Halliwell's likeness, plus a one-off supergroup called England United for the official England FC song (Jo Whiley introduced the band saying "...plus Geri as a substitute". After she left, the other girls co-wrote a few songs about her, which appeared on their album Forever: "Goodbye" and "Let Love Lead the Way" and "Tell Me Why". The group is among the best-selling girl groups of all time, selling over 75 million albums.
1999–2005: Schizophonic, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster, and Passion
In 1999, Halliwell launched her solo career and released her debut album Schizophonic, with the lead single "Look at Me," produced by Absolute and Phil Bucknall. "Look at Me" was followed by further number ones at the UK Singles Chart "Mi Chico Latino," "Lift Me Up," and "Bag It Up." The album itself reached a peak at number 4 United Kingdom, and sold 600,000 copies there, making it 2× Platinum. Halliwell was nominated at BRIT Awards ceremony in 2000, for Best British Female Solo Artist and Best Pop Act, she also performed "Bag It Up" during the show, emerging between giant inflatable legs, ripping off her shirt and walking in stiletto heels over the backs of topless pink-haired men whilst performing the song. "Look at Me" was released to radio in the United States in late 1999, receiving limited airplay. With only a radio single, Schizophonic debuted at number forty-two on the Billboard 200 before dropping out within the next month. The album was eventually certified Gold, distributing over 500,000 copies. "Mi Chico Latino" did not have a big impact on American radio, and no further singles from Schizophonic or albums were released in the United States. Schizophonic ended up selling around 2,300,000 copies worldwide, and remains Halliwells biggest selling album todate.
In 2001, Halliwell followed up with her second album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster, the album peaked at number 5 in the United Kingdom, and sold 200,000 copies there and was certified Gold. It included her cover version of the Weather Girls' 1983 hit, "It's Raining Men," was also used on the Bridget Jones's Diary film soundtrack, and the video game, DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution 7thMix. The song was released as the lead single from the album. "It's Raining Men" became a major hit worldwide, it peaked at number 1 in the UK and peaked in the top 10 in over 27 countries, becoming Halliwell's biggest hit to date. The song won her the International Song of the Year award at the 2002 NRJ Music Awards. The song originally been added to the album at the last minute, and another song, "Feels Like Sex," had already been slated as the lead single. The singles that followed, "Scream If You Wanna Go Faster" and "Calling," reached, respectively, number eight and number seven in the United Kingdom. Halliwell released a special French edition of the single, titled "Au Nom de L'amour." Scream If You Wanna Go Faster achieved lower success outside the UK than Schizophonic and was not released in the United States. In 2002, Halliwell was once again nominated at the BRIT Awards, this time for Best British Female Solo Artist and Best British Single for "It's Raining Men." "Scream If You Wanna Go Faster" has sold a little less than 1,300,000 copies worldwide. In 2002, Halliwell was featured alongside Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh as a judge on the television series Popstars: The Rivals, which created Girls Aloud.
In late 2004, Halliwell made a return to music with the single "Ride It," which reached number four in the United Kingdom and number one on the dance charts. However, several months elapsed before another single was released, during which time she was apparently instructed to record some new tracks for the as yet unreleased album by her record company, which was unhappy with the setlist. Halliwell planned her first solo tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, but due to lack of ticket sales, compounded by the label's pressure on Halliwell to record additional songs, led to the cancellation of the tour. Eventually, a new single, "Desire," was released on 30 May 2005, reaching number 22 in the UK Singles Chart and number one on the UK Dance Charts. Released shortly after, the source album, Passion, similarly received little attention from the public or critics, and stalled at number 41 in the UK charts. Halliwell's recording contract with EMI was subsequently not renewed, and in subsequent interviews, Halliwell stated that she was not interested in recording another album at that time and was content with writing children's books and being a mother.
2007–present: Spice Girls reunion, Australia's Got Talent and fourth studio album
In 2007, the Spice Girls re-grouped and announced planns for an reunion tour, from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million). The team's members said that they were still enjoying doing their "own thing." The group decided to release their first compilation album, a collection of their Greatest Hits. This album was released in early November 2007, and the tour began on 2 December 2007. During one Spice Girls performance at London's The O2 Arena, the Spice Girls's children, including Halliwell's children, accompanied her on stage during "Mama," along with the other Spice Children. During the reformation Film maker Bob Smeaton directed an official film of the tour, which he titled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything. As well as their sell-out tour, the Spice Girls were contracted to appear in Tesco advertisements, for which they were paid £1 million each. In March 2010 vocal coach and singer Carrie Grant announced on ITV1's The Alan Titchmarsh Show that Halliwell would be making a return to music. In April 2010, Halliwell posted a message on her website, saying she was back in the studio and referring to Lady Gaga as one of her influences. In May 2011, reports suggested that Halliwell would be making a return to music. On July 31, 2011, Geri confirmed she had been working on her fourth album, stating of it, "The album's pretty much finished."
In February 2012, Halliwell announced that the fourth album was being mastered. In August 2012, she reunited with the Spice Girls to perform at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. In 2010, Halliwell stood in for Dannii Minogue as a guest judge on The X Factor at the Glasgow auditions alongside Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole, and she returned again in 2012 as a guest judge at the Liverpool auditions alongside Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. In October 2012, Halliwell made her first solo performance in seven years at the Breast Cancer Care, debutting a new track, called "Phenomenal Woman". In January 2013, Halliwell claimed that she had decided to shelve the album that was ready and continue writing and recording, moving in a different style direction. In March 2013, a demo version of a song titled "Putting On The Bling" from the old recording sessions was leaked. In April 2013, the Nine Network announced that she would become the fourth judge on Australia's Got Talent.
On 5 September 2013, it was confirmed by Channel 9's NRL Footy Show (one of the longest running shows in Australia) that Geri Halliwell would be performing a world exclusive of "Half of Me", her first solo single in nearly eight years, at its Grand Final Show. The performance took place on 3 October 2013, exactly one year after her last exhibition with new material at the Breast Cancer Care Show. On 12 September 2013, it was announced that the song "Half of Me" would be released exclusively in Australia, as part of a new deal with Sony Music Australia. The single was released on 25 October 2013 and reached a dismal number 281 in the Australian charts. Halliwell then took to her official blog to write about her upsetting experience back in the music business and hinted of possibly retiring for good. On the grand final of Australia's Got Talent, she performed an acoustic version of the Spice Girls' hit single "Wannabe".
In 1999, she wrote an autobiography If Only, in which described her life as a Spice Girl. In 1999 Halliwell became a representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Halliwell appeared in a 90 minute documentary Geri for the British television channel Channel 4 by Molly Dineen. In 2000 Halliwell appeared in the two part documentary series Geri's World Walkabout for the BBC, which followed her work with the UN and other travels. Halliwell picked up further UN work in 2006, by visiting Zambia from 14–16 November, to promote greater international awareness of the urgent need to reduce maternal death and halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. In the run-up to the 1997 UK General Election, Halliwell declared: "I saw a lot of what Mrs Thatcher did. She was definitely the original Spice Girl rising from the greengrocer's daughter to Prime Minister." She claimed that her background was deeply-rooted in support for the Conservative Party and that Thatcher was the pioneer of 'Girl Power' and the spiritual sixth member of the Spice Girls. She claimed in 1996 that Tony Blair was "not a safe pair of hands for the economy". By the 2001 general election Halliwell had switched her support to Tony Blair and the Labour Party, making a cameo appearance in one of their party election broadcasts. In 2002 she released her second autobiography, Just for the Record, detailing her rise to fame and her turbulent celebrity lifestyle. She has also released two Yoga DVDs with her yoga teacher Katy Appleton, Geri Yoga and Geri Body Yoga. In the United States, Halliwell appeared as a judge on the reality programme All American Girl and as a guest reporter on celebrity-based series Extra. She has also made appearances in the television series Sex and the City and in the 2004 film Fat Slags, based on characters from Viz Magazine.
In 2004, Halliwell appeared on Channel Five as one of the hosts of the Party in the Park event for the Prince's Trust, the presenter and main performer of the Tickled Pink Girls' night in Live! event and an appearance in a documentary There's Something About Geri. On 12 April 2007, it was announced that Halliwell had signed a six-book deal with Macmillan Children's Books. The books follow the adventures of nine-year-old Ugenia, a character based on Halliwell, alongside her friends Bronte, Rudy and Trevor. The character Princess Posh Vattoria, a caricature of Halliwell's bandmate Victoria Beckham, was featured in early drafts but has not appeared in the book series. Other characters are said by Halliwell to be loosely based on Gordon Ramsay,George Michael,Marilyn Monroe,Vincent van Gogh,Wayne Rooney and the character Justin Suarez from the TV series Ugly Betty. According to the official site, the book sold more than 250,000 copies in its first 5 months making its author Halliwell 2008’s most successful female celebrity children’s author. Halliwell appeared in the film Crank: High Voltage alongside her friend, actor John Damon, and on the BBC 1's The One Show on 7 May 2009. On 24 May 2009, she spoke to the Speed TV reporter Peter Windsor in the pit lane just prior to the start of the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix.On Christmas Day 2010 she played a cameo in the mockumentary Come Fly with Me. Halliwell released her own range of bikinis through retailer Next in January 2011.
On 14 May 2006 Halliwell gave birth to her daughter, Bluebell Madonna Halliwell, by caesarean section at London's Portland Hospital.Victoria Beckham and Emma Bunton are Bluebell's godmothers. Halliwell is a supporter of Watford Football Club. She has attended the Alpha course at Holy Trinity Brompton in London.
- Schizophonic (1999)
- Scream If You Wanna Go Faster (2001)
- Passion (2005)
- 1999 – If Only
- 2002 – Just for the Record
- 2008 – Ugenia Lavender
|1990||Dance Energy||Herself||Uncredited; Only as Dancer/Stagehand|
|1991||Let's Make a Deal||Herself||Uncredited; Only as Dancer/Stagehand|
|1999||100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll||Presenter||TV show|
|Al Salir de Clase||Herself||"Duelo en las calles" (Episode 63; Season 3)
"Rebelión en las aulas" (Episode 65; Season 3)
|2002||Bo' Selecta!||Various roles||"Geri Halliwell" (Episode 4; Season 1)|
|Popstars: The Rivals||Mentor/Herself/Judge||Season 1|
|2003||All American Girl||Mentor/Herself/Judge||Season 1|
|Sex and the City||Phoebe Herrison||"Boy, Interrupted" (Episode 10; Season 6)|
|2004||Top Gear||Herself||"5.2" (Episode 2; Season 5)|
|2008||Friday Night Project||Presenter/Sely/Lissandra||Episode 5; Season 6|
|American Idol||Mentor/Herself/Judge||Episode 30; Season 7|
|2009||Head Case||Susan Galler||"Back in the Game" (Episode 5; Season 3)|
|2010||Come Fly With Me||Herself||"Pilot" (Episode 1; Season 1)|
|2010||The X Factor||Herself/Judge||Season 7 (Glasgow auditions judge)|
|2012||The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever||Herself||Documentary about the Spice Girls|
|2012||The X Factor||Herself/Judge||Season 9 (Liverpool auditions judge)|
|2013–present||Australia's Got Talent||Herself/Judge||Series 7|
|1995||Foggy Notion||Sami||Main role|
|1999||Geri – A Film by Molly Dineen||Herself||TV film; Documentary|
|2000||Geri's World Walkabouts||Herself||TV film; Documentary|
|2004||Fat Slags: The Film||Paige Stonach||Voice; Animation film|
|2005||There's Something About Geri||Herself||TV film; Documentary|
|2007||Giving You Everything||Herself||TV film; Documentary|
|2009||Crank 2: High Voltage||Karen Chelios|
|Ant & Dec's Christmas Show||Geri Doll||TV film|
Awards and nominations
|1999||Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favourite Actress – Comedy||Spiceworld||Nominated||Shared with the Spice Girls|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Female||Nominated|
|2000||Brit Awards||Best British Female Solo Artist||Nominated|
|Best Pop Act||Nominated|
|Capital FM Awards||Best British Female Singer||Won|
|2001||Comet Awards||Best International Female Singer||Won|
|2002||Brit Awards||Best British Female Solo Artist||Nominated|
|Best British Single||"It's Raining Men"||Nominated|
|NRJ Music Awards||International Song of the Year||"It's Raining Men"||Won|
|International Female Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|2008||Bestselling female celebrity children’s author of 2008.||Ugenia Lavender||Won|
- at the Internet Movie Database