Emma Lee Bunton, who was destined to be the mummy’s girl/hot sexy bitch of the Spice Girls, was born in Finchley, London on January 21, 1976 to Pauline and Trevor Bunton, who separated when Emma was eleven years old; a younger brother, Paul James, completed the family. She attended St. Theresa’s Primary School and admitted that at first, she thought she was simply playing dress-up when she put on the school uniform and was horrified when she found out she was going to school. She later on attended Sylvia Young Theatre School, where many aspiring pop stars and actors begin their training; Emma is just one of many famous British personalities who went to this school. Afterwards, she attended Barnet Technical College to study drama.
Even at a young age, Emma was already exposed to a certain degree of showbiz, having modeled for U.K. brand Mothercare as a young child. She also had extensive experience in catalogue modeling as a young girl, traveling to places like Spain for modeling gigs. Apart from modeling, she was also heavily into karate, taking lessons in her mother’s school and eventually earning a blue belt.
Prior to joining the Spice Girls, Emma dabbled in acting, playing bit parts in The Bill and Eastenders. She was eventually brought in as the replacement for Michelle Stephenson, who backed out of the future Spice Girls, then known as Touch. She and the other girls moved into a small house in Maidenhead, where she dealt with bouts of homesickness, eventually resulting in a closer bond with the rest of the girls, most notably with Geri Halliwell.
Life as Baby Spice
By the time the Spice Girls exploded onto the pop scene, Emma had already established her own style and image, frequently donning babydoll dresses and putting her hair in high pigtails. Her big smile, blue eyes, and youthful style earned her the monicker “Baby Spice”. A survey undertaken in London during 1997 also revealed that many women wished most to be like Emma, a prospect she found overwhelming.
She brought to the Spice Girls a sweet freshness to temper the edgier personalities of Geri and Melanie Brown, and also provided much of the higher tones in the girls’ songs. She also caught the eye of Prince William, who proclaimed her his favorite Spice Girl.
Her time with the Spice Girls was not without its bumps. She endured tabloid ribs about her being less than stick-thin when some photos of her in a swimsuit emerged, and she also had a rumored romance with the Spice Girls manager, “Svengali Spice” Simon Fuller. The romance supposedly drove a wedge between her and the Spice Girls, with Geri and Victoria reportedly putting their foot down to put a stop to it. For the most part, Emma proved to be a vital member of one of the most iconic pop groups in history.
After the Spice Girls
Emma released three albums in the course of her solo career and also appeared in television shows such as Absolutely Fabulous, T4, and a VH1 special simply entitled Emma. She also had guest roles in Bollywood films Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets and Pyaar Mein Twist, and competed in Strictly Come Dancing, where she ended up placing third overall.
She was also rumored to replace Beyoncé Knowles in The Pink Panther 2. She eventually had to back out of the project due to her pregnancy with her baby, Beau Lee, whom she had with her long-time boyfriend, CherryBlackStone singer Jade Jones. The arrival of baby Beau came as a wonderful surprise to Emma, who was diagnosed with endometriosis, which was supposed to make it practically impossible for her to conceive.
Today, Emma is a doting mother to Beau, and there has also been word that she is planning a fourth studio album, and is also planning to launch her acting career.
Emma Bunton’s solo albums
April 16, 2001 saw the release of Emma Bunton’s maiden music offering. A Girl Like Me was a decidedly sweet collection of romantic, pop tracks, most notable of which are her singles “What Took You So Long,” “Take My Breath Away,” “What I Am,” “We’re Not Gonna Sleep Tonight,” and “A Girl Like Me.”
1. What Took You So Long
2. Take My Breath Away
3. A World Without You
4. High On Love
5. A Girl Like Me
6. Spell It O.U.T
7. Sunshine On A Rainy Day
8. Been There, Done That
9. Better Be Careful
10. We’re Not Gonna Sleep Tonight
11. She Was A Friend Of Mine
12. What I Am
Emma Bunton’s sophomore effort, Free Me, possessed a modern, sixties flavor. It was released on February 7, 2004 and peaked at #7 on the U.K. album charts. Three singles emerged from this album: “Free Me,” “I’ll Be There,” and “Crickets Sing for Anamaria.” Emma has always been interested in the sound of Motown, and this clearly influenced the tracks in Free Me.
1. Free Me
3. I’ll Be There
6. Crickets Sing for Anamaria
7. No Sign of Life
8. Who the Hell Are You
9. Lay Your Love on Me
11. You Are
12. Something So Beautiful
The latest album released by Emma Bunton is Life in Mono, which came out on December 4, 2006. The first single, a remake of Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” was released in partnership with BBC Children in Need and “All I Need to Know” followed suit. The tracks maintained the sixties influence heard in her second album.
1. All I Need to Know
2. Life in Mono
4. Perfect Strangers
5. He Loves Me Not
6. I Wasn’t Looking (When I Found Love)
7. Take Me to Another Town
8. Undressing You
9. I’m Not Crying Over Yesterdays
10. All That You’ll Be
Books by Emma Bunton
At present, Emma and her fellow Spice Girl, Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm, are the remaining members of the group who have not written and published their own books. She has, however, been featured in numerous books–official and unofficial–on the Spice Girls.