Victoria Beckham forced the cancellation of a planned £10m ($12m) Spice Girls reunion tour featuring her old bandmates, it had been revealed.
The fashion designer, known as Posh Spice during her time with the pop group, called in lawyers to stop Geri Horner, Melanie Brown (Mel B) and Emma Bunton performing Spice Girls hits.
The trio had planned to reunite for a string of tour dates this summer, including a headline show at Hyde Park, to belatedly commemorate the group's 20th anniversary of debut single Wannabe, released in 1996.
Promoting themselves under the name Spice Girls GEM – an acronym for the remaining member's names – the act had even released a snippet of new material, titled Song For Her.
But Beckham, who, alongside Melanie Chisholm (Mel C), declined to rejoin for the anniversary shows, has poured cold water on even a partial comeback by other Spice Girls.
It represents a fatal blow for the plans, already thrown into disarray by the revelation Horner, 44, would need to take time out to prioritise the birth of her second child.
A source told The Sun: "The girls are devastated. It is an extremely sad way for things to end."
It is thought that Posh Spice, who is married to footballing icon David Beckham, does not want to dilute her reputation in the fashion world, and feels her duty to the band is complete after instigating a full-scale comeback in 2007.
Despite her fashion empire losing £4.6m last year, Posh is still worth £250m – rising to £508m with husband David – considerably more than her former bandmates.
"Victoria is proud of her Spice Girls history but this suggests she wants to cut all links with the group which transformed her life," the insider added.
"Victoria takes herself very seriously now and didn't want to have an association with this project which she felt she would if they sang the classic songs and marketed themselves as the Spice Girls.
"She got lawyers involved as she has a writing credit on the hits and co-owns the companies which control the band's legacy and finances."
The new development follows hints from the 43-year-old that she felt uneasy about the reunion. In an interview with Claudia Winkleman, who asked her whether she wished Gem good luck, the Essex-born star replied:"Of course, as a new group, I do.
"I do think they should sing their own material though, because what we did in the Spice Girls was so special. If they sang Spice Girls songs I think I might be a bit sad."
Mel B, 41, subsequently called Beckham and Mel C, 43, "bitches" in a 'joke' remark on The James Corden show.
It marks a new chapter in a long history of tension between the band members, broken open when Horner, then Ginger Spice, quit the band in 1998 to pursue a solo career.
An insider added: "Victoria is resorting to aggressive legal letters and it is an extremely sad way for things to end after all they have been through together. She was a huge part of their lives".
As of 2016, the Spice Girls had sold a total of 80 million records worldwide and last performed at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.