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Newspaper Article

Source: Daily Star

Date: January 6, 1999


SPORTY Spice Mel C has struck up an astonishing Girl Power pact with the teenage sister she never knew existed.

Millionaire Melanie Chisholm wasn't sure how she would get on with 17-year-old student Emma Williams after the two were introduced out of the blue just 18 months ago.

But she need not have worried . . . for, as our exclusive snapshot shows, the giggly girls have built up the type of tender sisterly love that would bond any family together.

They've become so inseperable that music biz colleagues working with 24-year-old Mel affectionately refer to pretty Emma as the "Fifth Spice Girl." In the remarkably short time they've known each other, Emma has gone to parties with high-kicking Sporty, travelled abroad with the Fab Four girls on their Spice Bus - and even been given a cherished double-platinum disc for blockbuster sales of the Spiceworld album.

It's an amazing transformation in the life of Emma, who shares the same father as Melanie and clearly boasts the same strong family resemblance.

And in 1999 the sisters are set to get even closer, with Mel on the verge of splashing out £560,000 on a mock Georgian mansion in the Domesday Book town of Knutsford, Cheshire.

She'll be just an hour's drive from where Emma is studying tourism at college in Llandudno, just over the North Wales border 60 miles away.

Emma had never seen her father Alan Chisholm since birth, but always knew that somewhere she had a half-sister called Melanie from her dad's next marriage.

Then one day a friend pointed out a picture of Alan - who split with Mel's mother Joan O'Neill years ago -standing next to Sporty Spice.

"It all fitted in," said Emma, who shortly afterwards met her long-lost dad. He in turn set up a meeting with secret sis Mel C, who for once was lost for words.

Emma said: "He just brought her round one day. I remember that it did not really feel like meeting a Spice Girl. It felt like I was meeting my sister. "We just hugged. We laughed at the same things. There were things that we both did - and we even both suffer from hay fever!

"Mel told me that she was shooting a video when she was told about me. She had not known that I existed at all. She is a real laugh and very down to earth and kind."

Emma was invited to meet the rest of the Spice Girls - Scary Mel B, Posh Victoria Adams, Baby Emma Bunton and Ginger Geri Halliwell (then still in the band) - at a poll winners' party thrown by Smash Hits magazine.

"They were just mad. They were getting ready to go to the bash and it was just like getting ready for a girls' night out," she recalled. "They were all borrowing one another's make-up. The girls are very friendly, easy to get on with and have a great sense of humour. They were all pleased for Mel."

Emma then went to see the girls in action in Paris, taking her gobsmacked boyfriend along for the ride on board the band's famous Spice Bus. "He was really thrilled. He was over the moon as he sat next to David Beckham!" said Emma, who believes that the remaining four Spices have no intention of ever breaking up.

Emma, who lives with her grandma in Llandudno, says she can understand how contact with either her dad or Mel C took so long. When Alan left her mother in Wales, he ended up in Widnes, Cheshire, where he wooed and wed Joan O'Neill. One of their children was an energetic girl they called Melanie, who dreamed of being a dancer.

Emma admits, however, that things got tough when word first leaked out locally about her famous sisterly connection. She said: "At the time it was hard. I did lose some friends, mostly I think through jealousy, but my best mates stuck with me."

Despite her newly-found sister, Mel C hasn't forgotten that she's also got a brother. Would-be racing driver Paul O'Neill is hoping to make a career as a Formula One star, thanks to some help from Sporty's pop fortune. The singer has already splashed out £29,950 on a Trident Ventura 2.5i supercar for 18-year-old Paul.

She gave him the flash motor despite the fact that motorcycle courier Paul wrote off Mel C's £35,000 Mercedes SLK sports car in January last year. Paul escaped with minor injuries, but still hopes to make it as a racing driver and wants a job with the MG sports team.

He said: "I watch her on stage and think 'Look at how hard she works and how good she is' - and I try to be like that myself." Paul got his full racing licence in March and has been driving scaled- down Formula One cars at the Donington Park Circuit in Leicestershire since 1997.