The Spice Girl insists her condition is "nothing to be ashamed of"...

Melanie C has told UK tabloid paper THE MIRROR that depression is “nothing to be ashamed of”, after a year of speculation about her weight and sexuality have led to the star using prescribed anti-depressants.

Professionally Mel‘s year has seen a string of highlights, including two Number One singles (‘Never Be The Same Again’ and ‘I Turn To You’), a sell-out UK tour, and the imminent return of the Spice Girls. But the singer has taken the unusual step of acknowledging her position as an international role model, and has spoken out about the demons which have plagued her.

She says, “Depression is an illness and nothing to be ashamed of. I hope that I can dispel the stigma attached to this condition.”

Mel says that she has been facing increasing pressure over recent months, and claims that the Spice Girl has ballooned in weight, allegations that she is a lesbian, and scrutiny of her relationship with J from Five have taken their toll on the 26-year old.

Earlier this week Melanie took part in a webchat on her official site, [url=], in which she knocked back the idea of duetting with her mother Joan and issued a peculiar snub to Victoria Beckham. When asked “If you weren’t a Spice Girl, who would be your favourite?”, the singer replied: “It [would] probably be between Mel B and Emma (Bunton) cos they’ve got attitude. But I love them all.” Emma Bunton is scheduled to take part in another chat on the site this coming Wednesday (October 18).

The Spice Girls‘ new single, ‘Holler’/’Let Love Lead The Way’, will be released on October 23 amid a flurry of promotional activity.