LONDON -- Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell confirmed Sunday that she has left the mega-million-selling Spice Girls, but the group will continue without her. A 40-city Spice Girls tour of the U. S. and Canada is set to begin on June 14.
"Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls," Halliwell, 25, said in a statement read on Sunday by her lawyer, Julian Turton, at a press conference held outside his law office. "This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best. P.S. I'll be back."
It has been speculated in the British press that Halliwell will go solo, either as a singer or a television personality of some sort.
In a statement also read Sunday, the remaining four spice girls -- Posh Spice (Victoria Adams), Baby Spice (Emma Burton), Sporty Spice (Melanie Chisholm) and Scary Spice (Melanie Brown) -- said the group will soldier on. The Spice Girls said they were "upset and saddened by Geri's departure but we are very
supportive in whatever she wants to do."
Their statement was read by their spokesperson, Alan Edwards. They ended their prepared comments with, "The Spice Girls are here to say -- see you at the stadiums!"
None of the Spice Girls was present at the press conference.
The Spice Girls have released two albums, Spice and Spice World, and a movie, "Spice World." Both albums were international hits that have sold millions of copies to date.
Reports that there were problems in Spice World surfaced in the British press Wednesday after Halliwell missed an appearance with the group at Britain's televised National Lottery Draw. She then failed to show for concerts in Oslo, Norway, that took place Thursday and Friday nights.
By Saturday, Britain's daily tabloids were frothing with news that Halliwell had left the group. A headline in London's Daily Mirror newspaper read "Geri Quits," while its rival, The Sun, added that "Ginger Spice has hired a legal team for her split from the world's top band," according to a
Reuters report. The tabloids speculated that the multi-platinum group was on the brink of a split, due to the alleged defection of Halliwell, who Reuters called "the brains behind the quintet." The singer cited a stomach illness, gastroenteritis, for missing both performances.
The Reuters report, which described Halliwell as a former "cleaner turned topless model turned Turkish game-show hostess," said the singer was expected to announce the launch of a solo career over the weekend. Instead, she announced she was leaving the Spice Girls.
The British press also reported that the split came after a tear-filled midweek argument in a Helsinki, Finland, airport, as well as "sniping on a private jet and flouncing off on touchdown."