à fait la une du journal
The Mail On Sunday
en donnant une interview exclusive:
Who loves ya, Baby?
by REBECCA HARDY - More by this author »
Last updated at 17:50pm on 2nd February 2007
What will it be for this Valentine's? Yes, you'll tell her you love her endlessly – tell her you must. Besides, that's the easy bit. But what about the treat – how will you spoil her?
Alas, you know in your heart of hearts that chocolates and roses are all a little tired. Diamond earrings are good. Better still is the boutique hotel break – London? Paris? Puglia? Now you're talking...
If you're struggling to equate your bank balance with the kind of luxurious weekend away that you know will speak far more eloquently than a mere bunch of overpriced blooms, spare a thought for Jade Jones.
He is the partner of former Spice Girl Emma Bunton. She is worth about £15 million. How on earth do you woo the girl who has everything?
In fact, it seems he puts most men to shame. The couple met when Jones, who is five years her junior, was 19 and with the band Damage. They separated for a bit, then moved in together. Now he cooks for her, cleans up after her and drives her around.
With one eye on the calendar and February 14 fast approaching, Bunton says she has no worries about him falling short in the Valentine stakes –he's the most romantic person she knows. He constantly surprises her with treats, including taking her for impromptu romantic breaks.
He's clearly something of a Valentine's star but, she says, 'even when I've just had a hard day at work, I'll come home and there'll be dinner in the oven and some flowers. When we're able to get away together we love a trip to the South of France – I can't say where, otherwise I won't be able to go back.'
And this year is positively going to be the most loved-up of them all, because Baby Spice is having a baby. We are discussing the whole business of babies just one day before she makes the official announcement. The baby is due in the summer.
Today, in our shoot – unfolding at London's No 5 Cavendish Square hotel, prime Valentine's night territory – the pregnancy is barely discernible; just the slightest thickening around her waist. Understandably, she can't stop babbling about it, especially when one considers she's wanted a baby for ages but thought it would never happen.
'I'm unbelievably excited. I've got endometriosis [a condition that can make it difficult to conceive]. I was diagnosed with that at 25. I remember the doctor saying at the time, “Fifty per cent of women with endometriosis go on to have children.” I thought, “Only 50 per cent?” It scared the life out of me. I was frightened.
I've been so worried for such a long time that I might not be able to be a mum. Thankfully, I've had work to keep me busy, but it's always been there at the back of my mind.
'I thought, “I've been so bloody lucky in my life that maybe not getting pregnant is payback.” 'My mum told me to be positive.
So I kept up my appointments with my doctor and I've been looking after myself – good food and lots of rest. Jade was with me when the pregnancy was confirmed. It's still so new – we've just told our family and friends.'
She's given up smoking and stopped drinking, and says she and Jade have spoken about marriage, but there's no fixed date.
'I'm one of those people who one day thinks I'd love a wedding and the next I don't know if I can be bothered,' she says. 'The whole press thing makes it harder. If we did get married it would literally have to be in our back garden.'
Just a few days before we meet, Bunton celebrated her 31st birthday. Her mother Pauline, who brought her up virtually single-handedly after separating from her father Trevor, arranged a party; Jade gave her a labrador. The pregnancy, though, was the greatest gift of all.
Now they are intending to move to Hertfordshire from their Hampstead home. 'I want to be able to take the dog for a walk and not have to put my make-up on because there are photographers around. I find it difficult to do that – particularly in Hampstead.
I remember going through a phase of not wanting to go out at all in case I was pictured from a bad angle so they could sell the photo to the papers: “Baby looking a mess.”
It's the kind of headline you'd think the seemingly grounded Bunton couldn't care less about, but in fact she is something of a control freak.
During the Live photo shoot she insisted on the presence of two personal stylists, two PR agents and her own make-up artist, who all rushed around industriously attending to every minor detail, from the freshness of her sandwiches to the exact position of every lock of hair.
Although she is by far the most successful solo Spice Girl – her first single, What Took You So Long? went to No 1; her first two albums, A Girl Like Me and Free Me, went gold, selling twice as many as Posh's – she is driven by a fear of failure.
I suspect it's due in part to spending most of her twenties with the Spice Girls in a goldfish bowl, freeze-framed in short skirts and pigtails. While Scary raged, Posh pouted, Geri vamped, Sporty flexed, Baby's job was to be, well, babyish. Growing up was always going to be tough.
'I remember someone saying once, “God, she's so fluffy I wanted to punch her head in.” How can someone say something like that?' she asks.
'Today it seems you've got to be like Pete Doherty to be cool. What's wrong with being polite? That's not to say I'm perfect – I'm not. I'm moody and controlling. It's probably why I've never touched drugs. Even when I'm out I don't have too much to drink because I prefer to go home and get plastered privately. I know how I want things to be.'
Bunton is determined to continue working after the birth of her baby. Today, she is about to release her new single, All I Need To Know. She wrote the song herself and says it's autobiographical.
'I've been very honest in the single,' she says. 'I think after the Spice Girls I was a bit scared to learn new things – of knocking down barriers. When you've been so successful and had such an amazing experience the thought of failure is scary. I've been wary of being honest and open – of how I answer questions in case of what's made of it.
In a funny way I don't like change, but I've come to learn I'm changing all the time and just to go with it. I've grown up a lot.'
Indeed, while the Bunton I meet has retained the sort of slight frame that many 21-year-olds would envy, the experiences of the past decade show on her face. Still high-cheekboned and fresh-faced with a radiance that only pregnancy brings, there are now lines about her eyes and round her mouth.
'Yeah, I have thought of that [Botox and fillers],' she says. 'I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Because I smile a lot I've got these lines around my eyes. But I hate injections. I think if I could go with a friend and watch her get them done first I'd be fine.'
While she has enjoyed chart success and stability, the other former Spice Girls have fallen victim to all sorts of dramas: Mel C suffered depression, Geri Halliwell poured out her emotional turmoil in two autobiographies and now lives with her daughter Bluebell Madonna, and Mel B, who broke up with the father of her child, Phoenix Chi, is pregnant again, with a child Eddie Murphy denies is his.
Bunton chooses her words carefully when she talks about Posh, Geri, Mel B and Mel C. They remain friends. She lunched with Victoria and Geri shortly before Christmas and Mel C watched from the audience when Bunton wowed viewers on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing.
'It was lovely seeing Geri,' she says. 'To be honest, when she left the Spice Girls I found that very difficult – we had a friendship. Friends that I've known for years wouldn't just go like that.
But we're fine now. Splitting up is a bit like moving on from school, isn't it? 'For a while, we all had our own things to deal with. Mel C had her depression but she's fine now. She came to see me in Strictly and we went out afterwards, got drunk and had a great night.
For me it was getting my own place and living on my own. I'd never done that. I'd lived with my mum and been on tour with the girls. Even when you're on tour you're never alone.'
Was she ever all that sweet? She acknowledges that only the most ambitious make it to the top and today she's one of the richest women in Britain. She says she prefers the word 'focus' to 'ambitious' and says she 'focused' on a career in showbusiness from the age of ten, when she attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
'Anyone who knows me knows I've always been quite grown-up. I'd like to think the other girls would say I looked out for everyone. I was sensible. The girls would want to run out into the crowd and I'd say, “We can't. We might hurt someone.”'
And grown-up she is. Take the subject of Los Angeles – Posh and Becks are, of course, about to join Geri in Hollywood. 'I think it's great,' she says. Would she want to live there? 'No.' Why not? She pauses for a second – and then that ambition returns.
'I want to focus on my solo career – show everyone I'm not just sweet Baby. I've had a few meetings, although it's very difficult – people keep seeing that sweet side. 'But I'd love to do some really gritty drama. I want people to go, “S**t – that's Emma Bunton”.'
'All I Need To Know' is out on February 12