Emma Bunton

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Emma Bunton
Emma bunton at Britain Pride 2011.jpg
Bunton at The Pride of Britain Awards in October 2011
Born Emma Lee Bunton
(1976-01-21) 21 January 1976 (age 39)
Finchley, London, England
Other names Baby Spice
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actress
  • presenter
  • fashion designer
Years active 1994–present
Partner(s) Jade Jones (2000–present)
Children 2
Musical career
Associated acts

Emma Lee Bunton (born 21 January 1976) is an English pop singer, best known as a member of the girl group the Spice Girls formed in the 1990s. Bunton is known as Baby Spice as she is the youngest member. In 2009 she began as a radio presenter on the Heart Breakfast show in London with Jamie Theakston and presenting her own show on Saturday between 5 pm and 7 pm.

Bunton's debut solo album, A Girl Like Me, was released in the United Kingdom on 16 April 2001 by Virgin Records. The album debuted and peaked at number four on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 100,000 copies,[1] ultimately becoming the 147th best-selling album in the UK for 2001.[2] The album brought the UK and New Zealand No. 1 single "What Took You So Long?" as well as top five hits "What I Am" and "Take My Breath Away" and the top 20 hit "We're Not Gonna Sleep Tonight".

Bunton's second album, Free Me, was released in 2004 through 19 Entertainment/Universal Records. Four singles were taken from it: "Free Me", "Maybe", "I'll Be There" and "Crickets Sing for Anamaria". She reunited with the Spice Girls in 2007 for an international tour and greatest hits album. From 2003 to 2012 Bunton had a recurring role on the BBC comedy series Absolutely Fabulous. She performed at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony on 12 August with the Spice Girls.

Bunton's television appearances include being a judge on the ITV skating show Dancing on Ice and the ITV entertainment series Your Face Sounds Familiar. She has guest hosted a number of shows including GMTV, Lorraine and This Morning Summer.

Music career[edit]

1976–92: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Bunton was born in Finchley, North London. Her parents, Pauline, a karate instructor, and Trevor, a milkman, split up when she was 11, after which she stayed with her mother. She has a younger brother, Paul James.[3] Bunton went to St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Primary School, N3 2TD in Finchley. She appeared briefly in the BBC series EastEnders in 1992 as a mugger.[4] In 1993, she appeared in the ITV police series, The Bill, and also made a brief appearance as a prostitute in the BBC drama series To Play the King. Bunton also appeared in a public information film for the British government concerning fire safety.[5]

1993–2000: Spice Girls[edit]

Main article: Spice Girls

Bunton joined the Spice Girls (then called Touch) in 1994. She was known as Baby Spice. She was the youngest, had long blonde pigtails, wore babydoll dresses and had a girly girl personality.

The debut single "Wannabe" was the first of nine number ones in the United Kingdom for the Spice Girls. As a songwriter, Bunton set the shortest time to achieve six No. 1 UK singles, one year and five months from "Wannabe" to "Too Much".[citation needed] In 1999, she presented Emma on VH1. She recorded "(Hey You) Free Up Your Mind" for the film Pokémon: The First Movie.

2001–05: A Girl Like Me and Free Me[edit]

Bunton's debut solo album, A Girl Like Me, released in the United Kingdom on 16 April 2001 by Virgin Records. The album debuted and peaked at number four on the UK Albums Chart, with 21,500 copies sold in its first week. Although initial success was promising, A Girl Like Me fell down the chart quickly. However, singles "What Took You So Long?", "Take My Breath Away", and "We're Not Gonna Sleep Tonight" helped the album stay on the UK Albums Chart for several weeks. On 7 September 2001, A Girl Like Me was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 100,000 copies,[1] ultimately becoming the 147th best-selling album in the United Kingdom for 2001.[2] Lacklustre sales may be partially explained by the fact that the album was not released in Latin America (except in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile) and North America. The album brought the UK number-one "What Took You So Long?" as well as top five hits "What I Am" (a cover of a 1988 song by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians) and "Take My Breath Away" and the top 20 hit "We're Not Gonna Sleep Tonight". The album sold 125,000 copies in the United Kingdom. Disappointing sales led to Bunton's leaving Virgin in 2002.[6] Bunton performed at Party at the Palace, an event that was held at Buckingham Palace Garden on 3 June 2002 in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Her solo performance at the event was a cover of The Supremes' 1964 hit "Baby Love".

Bunton's second album, Free Me, was released in 2003 through 19 Entertainment/Universal Records. Four singles were taken from it: "Free Me", "Maybe", "I'll Be There" and "Crickets Sing For Anamaria". After success in the American dance charts the album was sold in North America.[citation needed] The American edition included remixes and a different cover.[citation needed] The album was the second to follow her 2001 release, A Girl Like Me, and spent over twelve weeks inside the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number seven and selling over 141,712 copies, earning gold award status. The album was widely acclaimed by critics as being the "one of best solo Spice records ever" due to its catchy and fun use of sounds from the Motown and the 1960s era. The album was largely produced by Mike Peden and Yak Bondy, who have produced tracks for S Club 7 and Lucie Silvas, to name a few. Other contributions on the album courtesy of Cathy Dennis, Henry Binns and Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi. "One Thing I Know", an unreleased track co-written by Bunton for Free Me, was recorded by another 19 Management act, S Club 8, for their album Sundown. Bunton's original vocals can clearly be heard on S Club 8's version.

The lead single, "Free Me", was released in the spring of 2003. The song immediately picked up airplay, and the single sold well in the United Kingdom, peaking at number five on the UK Singles Chart. "Maybe" was released as the second single in the autumn of 2003, and also gained extensive airplay throughout the United Kingdom, peaking at number six, one position lower than its predecessor.

In the spring of 2004, the album and its third single, "I'll Be There", were released. The single, like its two predecessors, performed well on the charts, peaking at number seven, one position below "Maybe", and two positions below "Free Me". The album sold more copies in its first week than her debut solo record had, and would ultimately go on to outsell it by 25,000 copies. With this, Bunton became the only Spice Girls member to have sold more copies of her second album than her first in UK. Later in the year, the fourth single, "Crickets Sing for Anamaria", was released. Despite its harder beat and grittier sound, by now the impact of Free Me was beginning to wear off, and the song only came in at number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart, totalling 25,000 copies, and becoming Bunton's lowest-selling single. In the United States, both "Free Me" and "Maybe" were dance club regulars, reaching number four and number six on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play respectively. In 2005, Bunton filmed guest roles in two Bollywood films: Pyaar Mein Twist and Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets.[citation needed]

2006–08: Life in Mono and Spice Girls reunion[edit]

Bunton performing during the return of the Spice Girls tour in 2007

In October 2006, Bunton was a contestant in the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing, partnered by Darren Bennett. She finished third place in the semi-final.[citation needed]

On 13 November 2006, Bunton released the charity single for the BBC Children in Need appeal, recording Petula Clark's 1960s song "Downtown". It reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and was followed by her third studio album, Life in Mono on 4 December.[citation needed] The album was originally set for a November release in the United Kingdom, however it was later pushed back to 4 December 2006. Life in Mono, much like her previous album, Free Me, experimented with elements of 1960s pop music. For this particular album the musical arrangement was more directed towards the 1960s French pop music, with some elements of British 1960s pop and Motown. "All I Need to Know" was released as the second single from this album.

Bunton had been working on her third release since winter 2004. The album's title track is a cover version of the hit "Life in Mono" by 1990s trip hop band Mono, best known through its usage in the 1998 film Great Expectations. The track "Take Me to Another Town" contains a sample from Herb Alpert's 1965 "Green Peppers". Due to Emma's pregnancy all forms of promotion were cancelled after a few months. Rumours of a third single surfaced through sites after Emma stated she was thinking of releasing a third single, however this never came. The songs I Wasn't Looking (When I Found Love), Perfect Strangers and Take Me To Another Town were rumoured.

Although it sold almost 13,000 copies in its first week, the album was Emma's first not to reach the UK Top 10. It debuted on the UK Albums Chart at No.65 on 10 December 2006 falling to No.75 in its second week and dropped out of the chart the following week. On the whole, the album sold around 60,000 copies in the United Kingdom. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at 65, selling 13,000 copies in its first week.[citation needed] The second single from it was "All I Need to Know", on 12 February 2007, intended for Valentine's Day. Bunton shot the video around Old Street in East London, in the week before Christmas 2006.[7] Entering the UK Singles Chart at 60, "All I Need to Know" became the lowest-charting single of Bunton's solo career.[citation needed]

2012–present: Viva Forever musical, second Spice Girls reunion and other projects[edit]

Judy Craymer teamed up with the Spice Girls and Simon Fuller and began to develop a Spice Girls musical entitled Viva Forever. Although the girls were not to star in the show themselves, they were to influence the show's cast and production choices in a story which uses their music but bears no relation to their personal story; similar to that of ABBA's music in Mamma Mia!.[8] On 26 June 2012, all five Spice Girls were in attendance at a press conference in London to promote the launch of Viva Forever: The Musical.[9] The press conference was held at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, the location where the Spice Girls filmed the music video for their breakthrough hit "Wannabe", sixteen years earlier, to the day.[10] The musical opened at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre on 11 December 2012.[9] After poor reviews from critics and "a loss of £5 million", the show has its final performance on 29 June 2013.

On 12 August 2012, after much speculation, Bunton and the Spice Girls performed a medley of "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, reuniting solely for the event.[11] Their performance was the most tweeted moment of Olympics closing ceremony with over 116,000 tweets on Twitter per minute.[12] Bunton also worked with fellow Spice Girl Melanie C on her 2012 album, Stages for the album track "I Know Him So Well". The song was released as a single on 11 November 2012.[13] In March 2014, Bunton, along with Melanie C, took part in recording England's 2014 World Cup song. She collaborated with the likes of fellow pop stars, Eliza Doolittle, Katy B, Conor Maynard, Kimberley Walsh and Pixie Lott, on "Greatest Day", a track originally performed by British band, Take That. The track was produced by Gary Barlow and recorded at Sarm Studios in London. The track also featured past footballers such as Gary Lineker, Michael Owen, Geoff Hurst, David Seaman, Peter Shilton, Glenn Hoddle and Dion Dublin on backing vocals.[14]

Other work[edit]


In February, and again between May and June 2009, she starred as guest presenter on Heart London's Heart Breakfast alongside Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott.[15] Bunton began hosting her own pre-recorded Saturday drive time[16] radio show on Heart in the Saturday afternoon slot 4pm – 7pm starting on Saturday 13 June 2009.[17] Bunton provided maternity leave cover for Heart Breakfast co-presenter Harriet Scott from 3 October until 23 December 2011 on Heart London.[18] On January 2012, Bunton reprised her role as one of fictional PR manager Edina Monsoon's disgruntled clients in a revival of the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous. Following Harriet Scott's departure from Heart Breakfast in November 2012, it was announced Bunton would succeed her as co-host along with Jamie Theakston from 7 January 2013.[19]

Television and film[edit]

Bunton has been seen in a television commercial for the supermarket chain Tesco. She also had a cameo role on the Australian soap opera Neighbours in the episode "What's a Spice Girl Like You...?", aired on 19 March 2007 in Australia, and on 25 May 2007 in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] Bunton returned to US screens with a nationwide commercial for Prego in May 2007.[citation needed]

In July 2008, Bunton stood in as co-presenter alongside Richard Madeley on the television show Richard & Judy while Judy Finnigan was recovering from a knee operation.

In October 2008, Bunton appeared on the UK series of The X Factor to assist judge Dannii Minogue in choosing the three best over-25s acts to take through to the live shows. In December 2008, Bunton debuted as a member of the panel on Loose Women on ITV.[citation needed] In February 2010, Bunton appeared in a UK National Television campaign first aired during Coronation Street,[20] showing her in the Heart Radio studios at the start and the end of the advert. In January 2010, Bunton joined the "Ice Panel" on ITV dancing show Dancing on Ice replacing former judge Ruthie Henshall. She stepped down from this role on 2 December 2011. Bunton hosted Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing from July to August 2010. In August 2010, Bunton guest presented GMTV with Lorraine on GMTV. On 8 October 2010,[21] 19 November 2010 and 7 January 2011,[22] she guest presented Lorraine on ITV Breakfast.

In August 2012, she made a cameo appearance in Keith Lemon: The Film.[23]

In the summer of 2013, Bunton was a judge on the ITV Saturday night entertainment series Your Face Sounds Familiar alongside Julian Clary and a different guest judge each week.

In October 2014, Bunton appeared on the UK series of The X Factor to assist judge and fellow Spice Girl Mel B in choosing the three best boys acts to take through to the live shows.

Personal life[edit]

Bunton has been in a relationship with Damage singer Jade Jones since 1998. Bunton became engaged to Jones on 23 January 2011. The couple have two sons: Beau Lee Jones (born 10 August 2007)[24] and Tate Lee Jones (born 6 May 2011).[25]



Television shows and appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1992 EastEnders Mugger "18 August 1992" (Season 8, episode 66)
1993 The Bill Janice "Missionary Work" (Season 9, episode 22)
1993 To Play the King Prostitute "28 November 1993" (Season 1, episode 2)
1999 Emma Herself / Presenter
2001 Emma Bunton Live at MCM Cafe Herself Special television[26]
Absolutely Fabulous Herself "Cleanin'" (Season 5, episode 1)
"Huntin', Shootin', Fishin'" (Season 5, episode 4)
"Comic Relief Sketch" (Season 5, episode 10)
"Job" (Season 6, episode 2)
2006 Neighbours Herself "What's a Spice Girl Like You...?" (Season 1, episode 5171)
2006 Strictly Come Dancing Herself / Contestant Season 4
2008 Richard & Judy Herself / Presenter Season 9; during Judy Finnigan operation
2008 American Idol Herself / Guest judge "One Contestant Eliminated" (Season 7, episode 30)
The X Factor Herself / Guest judge / Mentor "Judges' Houses - Part 1" (Series 5, episode 9)
"Judges' Houses - Part 2" (Season 5, episode 10)
"Judges' Houses 1" (Season 11, episode 12)
"Judges' Houses 2" (Season 11, episode 13)
2008 Loose Women Herself / Panelist Season 11
2008–12 Celebrity Juice Herself / Panelist Season 1, 3 and 57
2010 GMTV with Lorraine Herself / Presenter Season 18; during Lorraine Kelly holiday
2010 Don't Stop Believing Herself / Presenter
2010–11 Lorraine Herself / Presenter Season 1; during Lorraine Kelly holiday
2010–12 Dancing on Ice Herself / Judge / Mentor Seasons 56
2013 Your Face Sounds Familiar Herself / Judge / Mentor
2013 This Morning Summer Herself / Presenter Season 4
2013 I Heart Glee Herself / Presenter Television special about Glee
2015 Britain's Got Talent Guest Judge


Theatrical and television films
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Thatcherworld Josie Jenkins Television film
1997 Spice World Baby Spice
2001 Yes You Can Pop Angel
2004 Pyaar Mein Twist Kylie Milligan
2005 Chocolate Tabetha Gagoh
2007 Giving You Everything Herself Television documentary
2009 Ant & Dec's Christmas Show Evil Stepmother Television film
2012 The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever Herself Television documentary
2012 Keith Lemon: The Film Herself


Year Title Station Role Notes
2009–present The Saturday Show Heart FM Presenter Global Radio programming
2013–present Weekday Morning Slot Heart FM (London only) Presenter Local radio programming with Jamie Theakston



  1. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "UK Year-End Charts 2001". Official Charts Company. ChartsPlus. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (18 November 2006). "Bye-bye Baby". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Secrets of the Square". Highbeam.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  5. ^ A public information film on the dangers of fireworks and alcohol at YouTube
  6. ^ "Spice Girls dismiss comeback plan". BBC News. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2008. ...her album A Girl Like Me sold poorly and she lost a contract with Virgin Records. 
  7. ^ "'All I Need To Know' – Emma Bunton". EntertainmentWise.com. 31 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  8. ^ Hoyle, Ben (22 January 2010). "Viva Forever Mamma Mia creator creates Spice Girls musical". The Times (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Spice Girls unveil West End show". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2012
  10. ^ Sinclair, David (2004). Wannabe: How the Spice Girls Reinvented Pop Fame. Omnibus Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-7119-8643-6
  11. ^ "Spice Girl Mel B Dishes on New Musical". ABC News. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Anker, Jonathan (13 August 2012). "Bolt's fast, but he can't outrun the Spice Girls!". HLNtv.com. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Melanie C featuring Emma Bunton – 'I Know Him So Well' – Out November 11th". MelanieC.net. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "Gary Barlow and Gary Lineker unveil England 2014 World Cup song". itv.com. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Emma Bunton joins Heart". Radio Today. 19 May 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ Westfield, Hannah (5 March 2011). "Emma Bunton protects bump at Heart FM fundraiser". News.carrentals.co.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  17. ^ Emma Joins Heart.
  18. ^ Bunton covers Harriet on Heart Breakfast Radio Today, 29 September 2011
  19. ^ "Emma Bunton joins Jamie Theakston at Heart". Radio Today. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Emma Bunton Video". [dead link]
  21. ^ Pixie Lott performs on Lorraine Lorraine, ITV.com, 8 October 2010
  22. ^ Dionne Warwick & Mica Paris Lorraine, ITV.com, 7 January 2011
  23. ^ Baby Spice to star in new Keith Lemon film, Digital Spy, retrieved 19 August 2012 
  24. ^ "Emma Bunton’s Baby Beau", 10 August 2007, MTV.co.uk.]
  25. ^ "Bunton celebrates birth of second child" 6 May 2011, RTE.ie
  26. ^ "Emma Concert Broadcast". MCM Cafe. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 

External links[edit]