Having baby saved my life, says Mel C

Former Spice Girl Mel C has revealed the birth of her daughter saved her from the grip of an eating disorder.

The chart star turned stage actress has battled bulimia but said becoming pregnant made her focus on someone else, eat healthily and stop worrying about herself.

The singer - whose real name is Melanie Chisholm - told She Magazine: "Scarlet hasn't just changed my life, she's saved it."

She said: "As my bump grew the more proud I became of my body and suddenly I felt more comfortable eating healthily."

The pop star gave birth in February 2009, the last of the Spice Girls to become a mum after concentrating on a successful solo career.

"I put on almost 50lbs and I certainly wasn't in any rush to shed my baby weight. There's too much pressure on mums to ping back into shape."

The 37-year-old - known to fans as Sporty Spice for many years - received critical acclaim for her West End debut and landed an Olivier Award nomination in 2010 for her performance in West End musical Blood Brothers.

In the interview Mel also admitted she used her eating disorder to administer control over her life in the Spice Girls.

She said of her time in the group: "I felt like I wasn't in control of my life, I was public property and I was fixated on my body image.

"Controlling my food was my way of fighting back and not feeling powerless."

And she told of her worries that the group's reunion world tour in 2007 could have led to a relapse.

But she found the experience helped her to replace negative memories of her time in the chart act with positive ones.

"It was cathartic because it created a set of healthier memories," Mel added.