The singer (whose real name is Melanie Chisholm), now 46, shot to fame after responding to an advertisement looking for singers to form a girl group. However, becoming known as the popular 1990s British band's Sporty Spice was much more than she bargained for.
"I didn't have the will any longer to stay in this life," Chisholm confessed. "That is when I decided to go and see my GP... the first thing he wanted to address was my depression. It was a massive relief to me. I just thought I was going mad, it had a name, it was something you could be helped with... recover from."
Though fame was everything she could have hoped for, the singer now reveals it made her "desperately unhappy."
Speaking to The Guardian, Chisholm explained that the pressures of fame pushed her "to the point of illness."
"I was struggling with an eating disorder and suffering from depression," she revealed, adding that seeing her name in the tabloids only made matters worse. "It's often forgotten that people in the public eye are human."
Chisholm, who shares 11-year-old daughter Scarlett with ex Thomas Starr, also suffered from an eating disorder and fitness obsession. During her dark period, "I started exercising obsessively, I stopped eating properly and I began to become very, very ill," said the Spice Girl, who is known for her athleticism. "I think that was around the millennium, when I was feeling very low and was struggling to get out of bed.
"I felt quite hopeless. I wasn’t excited about anything and I was really worried for my sanity. I was binge-eating, as well. I went to my doctor and he said to me, 'The first thing you need to address is your depression,' and I never thought for one second that I could be depressed. But it was a huge relief to me, and that’s when I started my road to recovery."
Chisholm managed to overcome her demons through therapy, acupuncture and medication.
Despite the high highs and low lows, the singer insists she has no regrets. "I've come to realize that I shouldn't regret anything. I should be proud because I survived that and that's what compels me to share it with people," she said.
"I felt like I had spent many years trying to find myself, who I was when I wasn’t Sporty Spice. Then last year I kind of realized that I am Sporty Spice, what am I trying to find?" she added. "I just kind of feel like I can exhale because I don’t need to search any more, I just need to embrace all of these parts of myself. Like everybody, we are so complex, there are so many sides to us."
As for what's next for the Spice Girls, Chisholm said that a reunion is something that her and the other girls (Emma Bunton, 44, Geri Halliwell, 47, and Mel B, 45, Victoria Beckham, 46) are eagerly looking forward to.
As OK! previously reported, the girl group may mark their 25th anniversary by remaking the 1996 ‘Wannabe’ video, but a key member — Beckham — would likely not take part in the reboot. The original music video has over 481 million views on YouTube.