Geri Halliwell’s seemingly perfect life as a country mum could come crashing down if her F1 boss husband Christian Horner is found to have acted “inappropriately” towards a female colleague.
And a public relations guru has warned the former Spice Girl (now Geri Halliwell-Horner) to think carefully before adopting the approach of former bandmate Victoria Beckham by putting on a show of marital unity, The Sun reports.
The once cheeky Geri, who grew up on a council estate in Watford, famously wore a revealing Union Jack dress at the Brit Awards and patted King Charles’s bum at a Royal Variety performance in 1997.
But these days the 51-year-old has transformed her image, bedding down with the Cotswold set, wearing only white and reportedly hoping that the monarch will reward her with a CBE for her work promoting literacy.
An honour might be under threat if the allegations against Red Bull Racing boss Christian, who has been accused of “controlling behaviour” with a female work colleague, prove to be founded.
Sources say the investigation is set to centre on the employee’s concerns about Horner’s strict work regime and does not relate to any sexual impropriety.
The Spice Girl is said to be “too upset” to talk to “anyone” as her husband, 50, gears up for a D-Day grilling over the claims on Friday.
But the Daily Mail reports that she will follow in the footsteps of bandmate Victoria, who publicly stood by husband David during allegations of an affair in 2004.
A source told the paper: “She will stand by him and be at his side just as much as she always has been. She never misses a race and that will not change.”
However, Geri, who now uses the surname Halliwell-Horner, should be cautious about following Posh Spice’s lead, says PR boss Jack Izzard, CEO of Rhizome Media.
He tells The Sun: “If they’re confident that the allegations are baseless and that the independent investigation will vindicate Mr Horner, they could put on a public show of marital unity like Geri’s fellow Spice Girl Victoria Beckham did when it emerged her husband David had been having an affair.
“But this is risky. Allegations of inappropriate behaviour by a man in a position of power can sometimes have a toxic tinge far beyond that of an extramarital affair.”
In an ultimate PR Catch-22, hiding from the crisis might not be a good idea, either.
Geri, who married Christian in 2015 after a whirlwind romance, is devoted to her husband – so much so that the password for the Wi-Fi at their home was once reportedly “Wonderful Husband.”
They have one son together, seven-year-old Monty, and she has previously insisted they will never get divorced.
By not supporting Christian, she could give the impression that all is not well in the Halliwell-Horner household.
Jack cautions: “Equally, going into lockdown could be interpreted as a sign of a fracture in the couple’s relationship and fuel speculation that there’s no smoke without fire.”
Of course, that would be unfair on Geri, for whom the news of an investigation into Christian’s workplace behaviour is said to have come out of the blue.
Christian vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will be defending himself at the internal hearing on Friday, which is said to be at Red Bull’s headquarters in Milton Keynes.
Geri’s husband has been the head of Red Bull’s Formula One race team since it launched in 2005.
He has brought remarkable success, including seven championship crowns for its drivers and six constructors titles.
But earlier this week the Austrian firm revealed it was investigating allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” by Christian.
It issued a statement, saying: “After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation. The company takes these matters extremely seriously.”
Up until now, the main complaint against Christian has been from his F1 rivals, which appeared to be sour grapes over his success.
He is a workaholic who never misses a race and admits to being driven by a need to win.
Jack comments: “There’s a brutal irony here. The reputation of a woman whose figure-hugging Union Jack dress once made her the avatar of both Girl Power and Cool Britannia now hangs in the balance, not because of something she has done, but because of the allegations swirling around her husband.”
Geri and Christian’s romance was in some ways to the manor born.
Their second-ever meeting was at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which is the setting for the beloved upstairs downstairs TV drama Downton Abbey.
They met at a clay pigeon shoot and realised they had a passion for country pursuits.
Since becoming Mrs Halliwell-Horner, Geri certainly seems to have moved closer to a circle more familiar to her privately-educated husband.
Geri, whose mum was a cleaner, these days counts Baroness Bamford, who lives nearby on a 1500-acre estate in the Cotswolds, among her pals – along with top members of the Royal Family.
In November 2022 the Queen Consort Camilla gave Geri a warm hug at a reception at Buckingham Palace in London.
She was also embraced by Prince William when she appeared with him at an event for his homeless charity Homewards.
And shortly after the King’s coronation last year, Geri gave Charles a peck on the cheek at a Prince’s Trust event.
Everything is all white
The one constant at all these events has been the colour of Geri’s dress. Even when she is out riding her horses at the couple’s Oxfordshire estate, white is preferred.
She explained her stylistic passion to The Sun, saying: “Everything becomes really simple. It’s like wearing a school uniform as an adult.
“It matches with everything and I literally don’t have to think in the mornings. It kind of looks like you’ve made an effort when you haven’t.”
And if you were to look at the singer-turned-children author’s Instagram page, you would think her life was perfect bliss.
A week ago she was celebrating her horse Look at Mee’s first race; five weeks back Christian was awarded a CBE and before Christmas she held a star-studded 50th birthday party for her husband.
The guests included Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart and Gary Barlow.
When it was Geri’s own 50th in 2022, David Walliams, Holly Willoughby, Rylan, Chris Evans, Myleene Klass and Poppy Delevingne joined in the celebrations.
With the couple worth a reported £440 million they can certainly afford to splash out on extravagant parties.
They recently built 14 stables for their horses, which will take part in races. Their home in Banbury has donkeys, goats, ducks and she recently graced the cover of up-market Country & Town House magazine.
Geri’s daughter Bluebell, 17, and Christian’s daughter Olivia, ten – both from previous relationships – also share the plush mansion.
She loves to bake with the kids and cook for her husband, when he’s not away at Grand Prix races.
On Friday Christian will be the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.
If he comes out with his good reputation in-tact, there will be no reason why Geri’s high life among the upper classes can’t go on.
But if not, the glamorous invitations for the power couple are sure to dry up.
Jack concludes: “Ultimately the findings of the investigation will determine whether this is just engine trouble or a high-speed crash for F1’s golden couple.”
This story was published by The Sun and was reproduced with permission