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Geri: After split with Chris Evans I lost will to live

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Luke Peterson

Sep 1, 2002, 6:29:09 AM9/1/02
From the News of the World:


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[ Picture - - FRESH START:
Video stunt shows Ginger's dead, long live Geri ]

[ Picture - - FIGHTING
BACK: Geri's taken the knocks but won't give in ]

WHEN Geri was first snapped leaving Chris Evans' flat early one morning
their romance was dismissed as a shallow publicity stunt for her new single.

But today, for the first time, she reveals their affair was for real. And
when it ended, the singer, already exhausted after months of gruelling
publicity duties, found her long-standing problems with food going into

For three weeks Geri's life became one long binge. Her eating disorder-which
began years earlier and would ultimately lead to the dustbins in George
Michael's garage- now moved into dangerous territory.

"I didn't want to live, but I didn't want to die either," Geri confesses in
her new autobiography Just For The Record. "I just wanted to be blank and
let the world go by."

Looking back, the star says she can understand why her relationship with
Chris was branded a sham from the start.

At the time, in November 1999, her third solo single, Lift Me Up, was up
against a release by ex-bandmate Emma Bunton.

Geri's relationship with the TV presenter/DJ/media tycoon put her firmly in
the spotlight. But she insists: "It had nothing to do with records or radio
listeners or PR companies.


"It wasn't really such a surprising situation. After all, relationships
often start at work. Celebrities and entertainers are no different."

In fact, by the time the story had broken, Geri and Chris had been dating in
seceret for a month.

She says: "I hadn't had a really serious relationship since I was 21 when I
broke up with a guy from Watford called Sean.

"But now Kenny, George Michael's boyfriend, was telling me: 'Geri, I think
it's time you found a man'.

"I went on a number of blind dates but nothing really worked out. Then out
of the blue, someone came along and pursued me!"

Geri continues: "I had always found Chris attractive. He was a bit of a
pin-up for me because he was such an inspirational person, and sometimes
those qualities outweigh more superficial attractions like looks or

"When I was a wannabe, I had a notice board in my kitchen dedicated to
people whose footsteps I wanted to follow in. Alongside Marlene Dietrich and
Marilyn Monroe, I also had a picture of Chris.

"But although I had always admired him there had been nothing romantic
between us...until Chris called me one day and asked if I fancied meeting

"We went out and I thought he was charming, interesting and funny. After
that, we started seeing a lot of each other and hanging out all the time.

"We were doing the usual things normal people do when they start
dating-going to restaurants and walking in the park.

"The only difference was that, at the same time, we were trying to keep our
relationship a secret."

As part of the promotional campaign for Lift Me Up, Geri was booked to
appear on Chris's cult TV show, TFI Friday. No one suspected they were
already a couple.

Reveals Geri: "It was a strange experience because I was going to be
interviewed by Chris on the show.

"It was like this little in-joke between us-and there we were on national TV
acting as if we were nothing more than good friends!

"It's always difficult dealing with the problems of being in a celebrity
relationship-but this was even worse because nobody seemed to believe it was
for real!

"The relationship had only just started and already it was being suffocated
by all the cynicism and attention. I decided to keep quiet. I didn't want to
feed the frenzy."

When Geri heard that her single had hit the No1 spot, she celebrated quietly
with Chris over a champagne lunch at Cliveden House, the Berkshire stately
home hotel.

With a second solo No 1 under her belt Geri was on top of the world. But in
a matter of days her relationship with the star presenter would be over.
"Chris and I were together for a month," she says. "The ending came like a
change in the weather. Suddenly winter came and everything went cold.

"I can't explain why it happened that way because I don't know.

"There was a story in the papers that he had been seen kissing someone else
and of course that was upsetting-but, in the end, whether that was true or
not, it was over."


Ever the professional, hours after the relationship ended, Geri turned out
for the MTV awards in Dublin, looking stunning. But behind the smile, the
blonde mane and the gorgeous gown, she was in turmoil.

Reveals Geri: "I'd gone through the evening on autopilot, but inside I was
suffering badly. On the outside, I was the golden girl; inside, I was
feeling like s**t.

"I went back to my hotel alone. I felt so empty. My make-up artist had made
a big lemon cake for me. It was waiting for me in the room. I fooled myself
I was only going to have one slice. So I ate one, then another, then
another. I polished off the whole cake in one sitting.

"The following morning, I found myself on the front covers of all the
newspapers and the word DUMPED screaming at me from the headlines.

"One of them said something like: How Could You Dump This, Chris? Are You

"If most people had believed it was a publicity stunt before the split,
everyone definitely would now it had ended so suddenly.

"It looked terrible. And all I could think was-I am famous, blonde, rich,
young, successful and I feel like I've got the word 'DUMPED' stamped across
my forehead.

"1999 had been relentless and I was exhausted after months of promotion. A
period of relexation was what I needed, but this was no recharging of the

"The warning signs had been appearing for some time. But I was about to
lapse severely." It was the start of an eating binge that was to last for
WEEKS. At her Berkshire mansion St Paul's, she went to bed-and stayed there.

"The curtains were drawn and it was going to stay that way," she says. "It
didn't matter to me whether it was day or night anyway. I lay on the bed in
my pyjamas and bathrobe, only moving out for the fix that kept me

"A bag of sweets, cakes and pastries lay by my side on the double bed. I
could count my day as a succcess if I was able to replenish that supply and
never really ran out.

"The Tesco garage was a short drive away and open 24 hours, so they didn't
care whether it was day or night either.

"Food was my drug. I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I
would think about was what I was going to eat. Once I started eating I
couldn't stop.

"I would stir myself once or twice a day or in the middle of the night,
throw a sweatshirt and tracksuit bottoms over my pyjamas, put on a baseball
cap and sunglasses, jump in the car, shoot off to Tesco and leave with a bag
full of supplies-cakes, chocolate and boxes of Celebrations.

"Sugary food has an extreme narcotic effect on me. It gives me a 20 minute
high followed by a dip into depression. I need a steady supply to keep me
up. I felt like a drug addict venturing out to my dealer.


"My life became a permanent binge," she recalls. "I wasn't so concerned
about expelling the food after eating but was keeping up a constant feeling
of being full.

"Sometimes my back would hurt because my stomach was so full but I would
carry on anyway until eventually I would pass out.

"Pretty soon everything else began to slip too. I would lie in the same
pyjamas all day because I couldn't be bothered to change, let alone get
dressed and face the world.

"Every day is a bad hair day when you can't be bothered to wash it and mine
was a greasy, tousled mess. I even stopped brushing my teeth.

"It was a cycle that seemed impossible to break. I had even started to take
Diazepam tranquillisers so I could sleep for 15 hours at a time

"But food was my real drug. I had been so driven by the need to look thin it
was only a matter of time before I would swing completely the other way-and
recent events played a part in triggering it.

"I was a very different figure to the young woman in the show-stopping dress
at the MTV awards.

"I was slipping fast from sadness into depression."

In early December 1999, she was due at the Smash Hits Awards.

Geri says: "As the day approached, I just couldn't face it. I remember
standing there in my darkened room, trying to psych myself up for the
ceremony and finding I was just too big to force myself into the outfit I
wanted to wear.

"I could hardly wear pyjamas to an awards ceremony so I called them up and

Geri still had a long, hard road to tread before facing her problems. Only
now can she say: "Every day, slowly, I am getting stronger."


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