Geri Halliwell holds ‘crisis talks’ over Christian Horner’s text leak turmoil: ‘Fragile’ Spice Girl didn’t want to meet her F1 boss husband but was ‘talked into it by his family’ – as it emerges she knew about the female employee he was messaging

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Geri Halliwell is said to have approved of the woman working for Horner’s team 

Geri Halliwell is holding ‘crisis talks’ over Christian Horner’s leaked text messages and did not want to meet her husband in Bahrain until she was talked into it by his family, sources claimed last night.

The former Spice Girl, 51, and her husband, 50, had breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday when Red Bull cleared Horner of inappropriate behaviour allegations which were made by a female employee.

But 24 hours later, flirtatious WhatsApp messages apparently exchanged between Horner and the female complainant were leaked to 149 F1 figures while Halliwell was on a flight to see her husband ahead of this weekend’s season opener in Bahrain.

Halliwell, who married the Red Bull team principal in 2015, went ‘into meltdown’ when she touched down in the Gulf state on a private jet on Thursday and discovered the bombshell messages had been plastered all over social media.

Friends of the star, who is understood to have known about and approved of the woman working for her husband’s team, have told Mail+ they are ‘deeply concerned’ about her and said the singer appeared ‘fragile’ when they saw her some weeks ago. 

A source told The Mirror last night: ‘Geri has been locked in crisis talks with her team this week about how to manage all of this.’ While Horner is said to have ‘played down’ the drama to his wife, ‘she can’t bear the fact it is now all out in the open’.

The source said that Halliwell, who shares seven-year-old son Monty with Horner, ‘feels like a fool’, adding: ‘It has really taken its toll on her and she told pals this week she would not be in Bahrain.’

It’s understood that the singer was adamant on not meeting her husband but Horner’s mother has been pleading with her to publicly back him in a show of solidarity. 

Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and Red Bull boss Christian Horner are pictured at the Baftas in February last year

Friends of Geri (pictured at Wimbledon in 2019) say they are 'deeply concerned' for the former Spice Girl and that she appeared 'fragile' when they saw her some weeks ago

Friends of Halliwell (pictured at Wimbledon in 2019) say they are ‘deeply concerned’ for the former Spice Girl and that she appeared ‘fragile’ when they saw her some weeks ago

The couple are pictured on their wedding day in Woburn on May 15, 2015

Spice Girl Halliwell and Horner are pictured on their wedding day in Woburn on May 15, 2015

It's understood that the singer was adamant on not meeting her husband but Horner's mother Sara (pictured with the couple) has been pleading with her to publicly back him in a show of solidarity

It’s understood that the singer was adamant on not meeting her husband but Horner’s mother Sara (pictured with the couple) has been pleading with her to publicly back him in a show of solidarity

In stark contrast, her own team are said to be urging her to keep her distance as they fear her brand and reputation could be tarnished. The source claimed that Halliwell is ‘torn’ between both camps.

The Sun reports that Halliwell knew of the female employee at the centre of the drama, with Red Bull insiders claiming that she even approved of the woman working for her husband’s team.

A source close to the Spice Girl told the newspaper this was ‘humiliation on an international scale’. They said: ‘Of course, to leave Christian — and walk away from the blissful life they’ve built for themselves — would be the ultimate act of girl power.

‘But as anyone with kids knows — not to mention a hinterland of love and connection — that is easier said than done.’

It’s also reported that Halliwell has cut herself off from the Spice Girls, who were set to be reunited soon to discuss tour dates for a comeback.

The girl band, minus Victoria Beckham, were set to mark their 30-year anniversary with some shows this year but sources say this is now unlikely. 

An F1 source also said that Red Bull workers are fearing there may be more leaked messages to come, which would overshadow world champion Max Verstappen’s bid to win the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Geri Halliwell and her husband Christian Horner are pictured together in Las Vegas last November

Geri Halliwell and her husband Christian Horner are pictured together in Las Vegas last November

Christian had been cleared to continue as Red Bull team principal on Wednesday and was pictured in Bahrain on Thursday

Horner had been cleared to continue as Red Bull team principal on Wednesday and was pictured in Bahrain on Thursday

Geri Halliwell has not yet been pictured in the paddock in Bahrain. Here, she is seen at Silverstone last July

Geri Halliwell has not yet been pictured in the paddock in Bahrain. Here, she is seen at Silverstone last July

Horner has vowed to fight and is now preparing for tomorrow's Bahrain GP

Horner has vowed to fight and is now preparing for tomorrow’s Bahrain GP 

It’s believed that the drama has put the couple’s marriage ‘in question for the first time’.

Halliwell has not yet been seen in the paddock since arriving in Bahrain – where Red Bull’s Verstappen attempted to take the spotlight off Horner by taking pole position in qualifying. 

The world champion was 0.228 seconds quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second, while Mercedes’ George Russell came third and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton had to settle for ninth.

As it stands, Halliwell is planning to be at today’s Grand Prix in a public show of solidarity. 

The plan is that she will be at Horner’s side on the pre-race grid, alongside his major ally on the Red Bull board, Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya, who owns 51 per cent of the energy drinks company. 

One insider told Mail Sport ahead of the GP: ‘She [Halliwell] took off before the email landed. I don’t know whether she will be at the race but it will be mayhem if she is.

‘It would be nuts. She may even be flying home.’

As she arrived, her husband was pulled from the pit wall into a meeting with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. 

Christian Horner pictured on Thursday ahead of a practice session at the Bahrain International Circuit

Christian Horner pictured on Thursday ahead of a practice session at the Bahrain International Circuit

Horner and Geri Halliwell at the Larkhill Royal Artillery Point to Point

Horner and Geri Halliwell at the Larkhill Royal Artillery Point to Point

The Red Bull boss - seen on Thursday - is back in the spotlight after text messages allegedly exchanged between him and a female employee were leaked

The Red Bull boss – seen on Thursday – is back in the spotlight after text messages allegedly exchanged between him and a female employee were leaked 

The couple had breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday when Red Bull cleared Horner of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour allegations following a probe into his alleged relationship with the employee.

But the complainant fired back on Thursday, as a source close to her told MailOnline that she was ‘very unhappy’ at Red Bull’s decision to clear the F1 boss.

A relative of the female employee said: ‘My reaction to all this is that it is disgusting. In the words of Red Bull, Christian Horner has been cleared but I think many people look at that answer and can’t quite fathom out the truth behind it. 

‘It’s obviously not going to rest now because of these leaks. I wasn’t aware of the messages prior to them being picked up by the media and I have no idea at all who is responsible for the leak.

‘You always believe your own, don’t you? I haven’t read the text messages but there was never any relationship between her and Christian – God, no. She doesn’t discuss that sort of stuff with us.

‘If you work for a person like him, you live with many pieces of information that are not to be disclosed. She certainly hasn’t spoken to me about it.’

The source went on: ‘We speak every day and she’s very unhappy – of course. In her way of thinking it’s all very one-sided and she’s been crucified.

‘Are the Red Bull investigation team independent? Who knows? They’ve made comparisons in the newspapers about Christian being grilled for 12 hours or so…well how many hours was she grilled for? They don’t ask that question, but it is a lot more than that.’ 

On Thursday, a series of WhatsApp texts and photographs were released to dozens of journalists and key figures in sport, throwing the allegations back into the public into the spotlight once again.

Horner has vowed to fight on and was pictured in his Red Bull gear ahead of practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix yesterday.

It comes as friends close to Halliwell, who stood by her husband of nine years resolutely throughout the internal probe, revealed she is ‘having the meltdown to end all meltdowns over the leaks’.

Geri Halliwell is facing fresh torment after WhatsApp texts and photos said to have been exchanged between her F1 husband Christian Horner to a female employee are leaked. Pictured: Halliwell and Horner together at the Monaco Grand Prix last May

Friends close to the Spice Girl said she is ‘having the meltdown to all meltdowns over the leaks’

Horner and Halliwell in a holiday photograph taken on an unidentified beach over Christmas

Horner and Halliwell in a holiday photograph taken on an unidentified beach over Christmas

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell pose after the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 7, 2014

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell pose after the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 7, 2014

The couple tied the knot at a star-studded ceremony at St Mary's Church in Woburn in 2015

The couple tied the knot at a star-studded ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Woburn in 2015

Miss Halliwell threw her husband Horner a surprise 50th birthday party in December last year

Miss Halliwell threw her husband Horner a surprise 50th birthday party in December last year

The mother-of-two has been left ‘feeling humiliated’ after the messages were spread ‘so widely out there’, a friend added.

Hundreds of intimate WhatsApp exchanges purportedly between Horner and the colleague were released via an anonymous email account.

Horner was only cleared by Red Bull’s Salzburg-based parent company – and told he could stay on as team principal of the world-championship on a £8million-a-year-salary – 24 hours before the texts dropped.

HORNER PROBE TIMELINE 

February 5 – Red Bull Racing’s parent company GmbH confirms Horner is under investigation following an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. The company says it ‘takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible’.

February 9 – Horner is questioned by a lawyer for eight hours at a secret London location. There is no immediate resolution.

February 15 – Horner appears at Red Bull’s car launch – his first appearance in public since news of the allegations emerged. He vows to be in his role as Red Bull team principal for the first race of the season, and says: ‘For me, it is business as normal.’

February 18 – F1 makes its first public comment on the matter, calling for Horner’s future to be ‘clarified at the earliest opportunity’.

February 20 – Despite the ongoing investigation, Horner flies to Bahrain for three days of testing ahead of the new season.

February 21 – Horner takes his position on the Red Bull pit wall for the opening day of the test. Rival Mercedes boss Toto Wolff demands transparency from Red Bull’s investigation, and says the controversy is ‘an issue for all of Formula One’.

February 22 – Horner appears in a press conference alongside four other F1 team principals. He refuses to comment on the investigation, but says ‘everybody would like a conclusion as soon as possible’.

February 23 – Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen says ‘it will be nice for everyone’ when the investigation into Horner is concluded. Horner heads back to England following the conclusion of the test.

February 28 – Red Bull GmbH announces the ‘independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed’, clearing Horner to remain in his position.

February 29 –  Text messages and photographs allegedly sent by Horner to a female employee are leaked, just hours after the Red Bull boss broke his silence on the investigation, 

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Halliwell had told friends that she was ‘relieved and elated’ that the claims against her partner, with whom she shares seven-year-old son Monty, had finally been dropped.

Friends of the Spice Girl told the Mail she thought the drama had ‘finally gone away’ but have warned the appearance of the intimate messages – to which there are 79 screenshots – could ‘destroy’ her.

One said: ‘All along Christian promised there was nothing in it.’

Another said he now fears for how the star, who has been left mortified at the embarrassing fall out, will be able to comprehend such a public humiliation.

He said: ‘Geri has been living in this happy, happy bubble for so many years now, she thought she had her prince and her knight in shining armour but now this.

‘She thought that it had all gone away, she was delighted and over the moon when she learned Christian had been cleared.

‘Geri was pilloried when she got together with Christian because he had just had another baby with another woman but she has worked hard to rid that image of herself and Christian, and in particular that she is a homewrecker.

‘Now it has all come crashing down. The tears stopped when the judgment came in on Wednesday, now they absolutely will have started again. 

‘This will destroy her. All along Christian promised there was nothing in it.’

One source close to the star said that she ‘wasn’t sure what to believe’ throughout the saga but was determined to get through it with their marriage unscathed.

‘Geri is no fish wife but she finally got the man she wanted and she won’t want to let him go. This could end up being a big dilemma for her,’ the source said.

The tranche of messages were sent to FIA president Mohammad Ben Sulayem and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali. All the team principals were copied in, along with star driver Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

Earlier this month Halliwell had briefly unfollowed world champion Verstappen on Instagram after the allegations against Horner first came to light. Sources close to the star said on Thursday night that this was an ’emotional reaction’ which she thought would go unnoticed.

Reigning world champion Verstappen was quizzed ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix over whether Red Bull’s probe into Horner had impacted or altered the team’s preparations for the season.

The Dutchman, insisting that his focus has not been altered, replied: ‘It doesn’t. I’m very focused on just the performance of the car and myself.

‘Hopefully it will be resolved very soon. It’s a whole team effort that everyone has to stick together and work to more success, so that’s why it’s important to get everything resolved very soon.

‘(Horner) is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.’

The intense spotlight on Horner in recent weeks had already started to take a strain on the couple’s home life – which they split between their farmhouse, and stables, in Oxfordshire and a home in North London. 

A source close to the pair said the last few weeks had been ‘hell for Christian and his family’ and he had always branded the claims as being ‘nuts’.

‘Geri is devastated and has been struggling to eat and sleep. Her family and fellow Spice Girls are worried about her,’ the source said last week ahead of Horner being cleared.

‘I hear Christian is trying to pep her up to stay positive, but she has gone to ground in the way she did after she left the Spice Girls. She’s not speaking to anyone.’ 

Shortly after the leak, Horner released a statement which read: ‘I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations.

‘I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way. 

‘It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister, and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made. I remain fully focused on the start of the season.’

The messages come a day after Horner was told he would be cleared of a Red Bull probe into his behaviour

The messages come a day after Horner was told he would be cleared of a Red Bull probe into his behaviour 

The Spice Girls star said she is 'really grateful' to have Christian Horner as her 'best friend'

The Spice Girls star said she is ‘really grateful’ to have Christian Horner as her ‘best friend’

Horner and Halliwell meet then-Prince Charles at a Prince's Trust event in London in 2019

Horner and Halliwell meet then-Prince Charles at a Prince’s Trust event in London in 2019

Announcing its conclusion on Wednesday, the company said: ‘The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed. 

The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial. ‘

Horner, who has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005, had previously thanked his ‘very supportive wife’ for her backing during the accusations.

Halliwell and Horner mixed in social circles before they struck up a romance, having first met each other at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2009.

‘[Geri] was a guest of [former CEO of the Formula One Group] Bernie Ecclestone’s in Monaco one year and came down the pit lane,’ Horner previously told The Telegraph. ‘I remember [McLaren boss] Ron Dennis was standing next to me and Eddie Jordan was there as well.

‘She gave Ron a kiss on the cheek, and she gave Eddie a kiss on the cheek. So I thought, ‘OK, I’m on for a kiss on the cheek here!’ And I went to give her one and she shoved her hand out at me.’

Their relationship, however, got off to a rocky start, coming under fire after the Red Bull chief left his long-term partner Beverley Allen six months after she gave birth to their daughter Olivia.

While the couple took a short break to see if Horner could rescue his relationship with the mother of his child, just nine months later he announced his engagement to Ginger Spice in an advertisement in the The Times in 2014.

Christian Horner, pictured with Prince Harry before the Texas Grand Prix in October last year

Christian Horner, pictured with Prince Harry before the Texas Grand Prix in October last year

Ginger Spice and Horner are pictured at the World Premiere of 'The Moonwalkers' last December

Ginger Spice and Horner are pictured at the World Premiere of ‘The Moonwalkers’ last December 

Christian and Geri's relationship came under fire after the Formula One boss left his long-term partner Beverley Allen (pictured) six months after the birth of their daughter, Olivia

Christian and Geri’s relationship came under fire after the Formula One boss left his long-term partner Beverley Allen (pictured) six months after the birth of their daughter, Olivia

Halliwell and Horner attend the Gala Dinner for the F1 Grand Prix Of Monaco on May 28, 2023

Halliwell and Horner attend the Gala Dinner for the F1 Grand Prix Of Monaco on May 28, 2023

It said: ‘The engagement is announced between Christian, son of Mr and Mrs G.M. Horner and Geraldine, daughter of the late Mr L.F. Halliwell and Mrs A Parkinson.’

The former Spice Girl and Red Bull boss tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Woburn, Bedfordshire, in 2015.

Halliwell’s A-line lace bridal gown was designed by British designer Phillipa Lepley.

Her nine-year-old daughter, Bluebell, whom she had with screenwriter Sacha Gervasi in 2005, also attended the wedding.

Guests included Geri’s former Spice Girls co-star Emma Bunton, radio presenter and singer Myleene Klass, and TV presenter Amanda Holden.

Christian’s parents were reportedly left devastated when the sporting professional left Ms Allen to be with the chart-topping star and therefore chose not to see the duo tie the knot.

A source close to the couple previously said: ‘Geri and Christian are disappointed that his parents aren’t coming.’

Horner has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005. He was then the youngest team principal on the grid, yet is now its longest-serving.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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