Billie Eilish Didn’t Believe the Spice Girls Were Real Until 2017

It’s taken her almost her entire life to realize they’re not fictional characters.

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Photo by Sebastian Sabal-Bruce, styled by Caroline Grosso. Produced by Biel Parklee. Hair by Bert Ketizerow for Kadus Professional at Artlist New York, Makeup by Morgane Martini for Chanel at The Wall Group. Photography Assistant: John Daniel Powers.

It’s hard to believe that Spice World came out 22 years ago. If that feels like a lifetime ago, well, it literally was for Billie Eilish. The pop star wasn’t born until four years after the girl-power group made their film debut, which almost explains why it took her nearly the duration of her own lifetime to figure out who the Spice Girls are.

While Eilish was familiar with the film Spice World, which was released in 1997, she wasn’t aware that the people in it were playing exaggerated versions of themselves. Instead, she thought that the group the Spice Girls was created simply for the movie, and likewise for the music. While making an appearance on Capital FM’s “Breakfast” program, she revealed that it wasn’t until 2017 that she learned the Spice Girls are a real group. “I thought all the music was written for the movie,” she said. “I thought all the characters were cast for those characters. I didn’t figure it out until two years ago.”

It wasn’t just the Spice Girls that Eilish missed out on when she was growing up; she also missed some other major pop culture moments. “I didn’t have cable growing up so I didn’t really watch TV shows on a channel,” she added. “I had DVDs of things, and I just rewatched them. So I never saw SpongeBob the show. I didn’t know it was a show; I thought it was only a movie.”

Eilish admitted to some of this earlier in the month, when she appeared on Ellen. “I remember seeing the Spice Girls, and I was like, Oh, my God, they’re re-enacting the movie!” she said.

Coincidentally, the Spice Girls are more than familiar with Eilish; Mel C, aka Sporty Spice, is actually a big fan. Back in March, when she met Eilish—who, by then, had learned who the Spice Girls are—Mel C shared a photo of the two of them with words of praise. “Billie is an extraordinary talent and seeing young girls screaming with her every move and singing every word of her lyrics, gave me goosebumps,” she wrote on Instagram. “Billie Eilish you are a phenomenon and I salute you. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!” Maybe it will include a collaboration between the pair?