Geri Halliwell has walked out of The Spice Girls...

Geri Halliwell confirmed yesterday (Sunday, May 31) that she has quit The Spice Girls.

Ginger Spice’s decision to leave the group comes after days of rabid media speculation in the UK. The press statement released by Halliwell’s lawyer Julian Turton at a press conference in central London yesterday says the split is due to “differences” with the rest of the band. The remaining four Spice Girls – Melanie Brown (Scary), Victoria Adams (Posh), Emma Bunton (Baby) and Melanie Chisholm (Sporty) – have said they are “upset” and “saddened” by Halliwell’s departure.

Geri’s statement was read to waiting reporters by Turton. It says: “This is a message to the fans. Sadly, I would like to confirm that I have left The Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I’m sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best. I have no immediate plans. I wish to apologise to all the fans and to thank them and everyone who’s been there. Lots of love, Geri. PS: I’ll be back.”

Halliwell is believed to be interested in pursuing a career as a TV presenter. A statement from the rest of The Spice Girls expressed support for her in any new venture, whatever it may be and vowed they would continue together. The full Spice Girls statement reads: “We are upset and saddened by Geri’s departure but we are very supportive in whatever she wants to do. The Spice Girls are here to stay – see you at the stadiums! We are sorry to all our fans for having to go through all of this.”

Rather ironically, given rumours of on-tour friction between Halliwell and the rest of the band, their statement closes: “Friendship never ends!”

This newest development in the Spice Girls’ saga was first picked up in the UK media after Geri stormed out of the BBC TV studio of the National Lottery draw show following a raging argument with the other four Spice Girls last Wednesday night (27). Halliwell then refused to fly to Norway to perform at two concerts last Thursday and Friday. Today’s Guardian newspaper reports that Geri quit the group in a phone call to the others on Thursday morning. However, band press agents repeated claims that Geri was unwell with a gastric illness and exhaustion up until yesterday’s press conference.

The Spice Girls will next perform at a concert in Rome with Luciano Pavarotti on June 9 as a foursome. They are also expected to play their forthcoming 40-date US and Canadian tour as planned, beginning in Miami on June 15. Their two UK dates at Wembley Stadium in September will go ahead, however some pundits are already predicting they will be the band’s last shows.