A Complete Timeline Of Emma Bunton's Love Life

Emma Bunton first crashed into our collective consciousness as Baby Spice, one fifth of legendary '90s girlband the Spice Girls. She enjoyed great success as a musician both when she was in the band and as a solo artist, and has since gone on to appear as a competitor on "Strictly Come Dancing," act as a judge on "Dancing on Ice," and be a presenter on Heart radio programs. She has been involved in charity work with UNICEF and has even released a book, titled "Mama You Got This."

In and among all of these many achievements, Bunton still found the time to date some pretty cool people, including many fellow singers. She has been the subject of many a relationship rumor, and — unfortunately for us — we may never know for sure whether any of them were true or not. In more recent years, though, Bunton has been very candid about her long-term relationship with Jade Jones, and we love hearing what she has to say. In the meantime, here's everything we know about Baby Spice's sometimes spicy love life over the years.

Emma Bunton's fling with Lee Brennan 'fizzled out'

Before Zayn Malik and Perrie Edwards, there was another girlband member/boyband member couple that unfortunately didn't make it in the end. Emma Bunton apparently once had a bit of a fling with Lee Brennan, who was part of British band 911 at the time. "I ended up going to a castle in Ireland with the Spice Girls and David Beckham for New Year [1998]," Brennan told The Sun in 2013, explaining that he'd met the "gorgeous" Bunton a few days beforehand. "It was bizarre to get that peek inside their mad world. It was a proper whirlwind. They were all great girls and Beckham was a legend."

As for their love story, it was definitely fleeting — especially considering this 2013 testimony from Brennan is basically the only public information on it there is. But short-lived or not, it was a great time, it seems. "I remember Emma and I going for a walk at midnight and there were no paps or anything so we were really relaxed, and I was teaching her the Bodyshakin' moves," Brennan continued. "It was a really fun romance but it just kind of fizzled out. Then she met Jade Jones, who she's still with now." As for those "Bodyshakin'" moves? They certainly made an impression on Bunton, who tweeted in May 2013, "@MrLeeBrennan you were brilliant at the o2, body shaking!!!!!" A flattered Brennan replied, "Hey, thanks Emma, heard you were singing it on #HeartFM !:)"

Did Emma Bunton date Leonardo DiCaprio?

The world of celebrity gossip can sometimes be a thorny one — and it's up to us to take wild claims with a grain of salt. We all love to "ship" famous people, or think about what it would be like if, say, there was something to the theory about Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, but sometimes we sadly have to give up on those dreams. That certainly seems to be the case with the 1997 rumor that Emma Bunton dated Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, or that they at the very least "hooked up."

Outlets such as Wonderwall, TheThings, and Betches have addressed this piece of gossip, but it was never confirmed at the time, and Baby Spice appeared to straight up deny it in an interview with Express in 2013. When asked about the "strangest thing" said about her in the press, Bunton replied, "All of us girls were linked to lots of celebrities back in the day. I was seeing Leonardo DiCaprio at one point, which was quite a good one." To be honest, if it was true, she would probably be bragging about it, right? So we'll just have to take her word for it this time around. In other news, Bunton has also been linked to actor Nigel Harman, according to Digital Spy, but this was never confirmed either. Gossip to the left if you're havin' a good time, mystery to the right if you know that you feel fine.

In the late '90s, Emma Bunton and Jade Jones hit it off

Sparks flew the first time Emma Bunton crossed paths with Jade Jones when, according to OK!, his group opened for her group in 1998. After finding fame as the lead singer of boyband Damage, he went on to become a chef. Chatting with The Sunday Telegraph in 2020, Jones shared that his "dream" is to "move out to the country and ... open a gastropub somewhere." It feels safe to say he's got a place in his heart for spices.

When Express asked Bunton if she believed in "love at first sight" in 2014, the former Spice Girl totally delivered. "I fell in love with Jade at first sight," she said. "He was sitting across a table from me and I actually said to him, 'you're coming with me.' I made the move, very girl power. So, yes, I do." We love to see it.

At first, it definitely looked like Bunton's instincts had been right. When The Guardian asked about her "best kiss" ever, she responded, "My first with Jade. It was at Mel B's house in Leeds a very long time ago and it was very passionate." Though this is seriously cute, the pair split up fairly quickly, going their separate ways in 1999, per The Sun. We don't know what went wrong at the time, but maybe if he wanted to be her lover, he should have gotten with her friends? Just a thought.

Baby Spice reportedly dated soccer player Rio Ferdinand for a while

In another lifetime, Baby Spice could have been part of the WAG (that's Wives and Girlfriends, FYI) club alongside bandmate Posh Spice. As Metro noted, it's generally accepted that Emma Bunton dated soccer player (or footballer, if you will) Rio Ferdinand from 1999 to 2000, but Bunton doesn't seem to have confirmed or denied this, so neither will we.

At the time, gossip blog Spice News reported that there was a rumor going round that Bunton and Ferdinand were an item, and were hanging out in London hotspots with Ferdinand's teammate David Beckham and his new wife Victoria "Posh" Beckham, also a Spice Girl. The website claimed that Bunton had told The Sun, "There is no romance yet. I am young, free and single and having fun. But I've met Rio a few times as we share the same friends, he's a nice guy."

While it's hard to tell what exactly went down between the sportsman and the popstar, we do know that the ex-Manchester United player went on to marry Rebecca Ellison in 2009. They had three children together, but Ellison sadly died from cancer in 2015, according to The Sun. Ferdinand married Kate Wright (now Ferdinand) in 2019, soon giving birth to a baby boy, per Hello!.

Jade Jones, take two

Despite their split in 1999, Emma Bunton and Jade Jones couldn't stay away from each other for long, and rekindled their romance in 2000, two years after their first meeting. As The Sun recounted, they dated for another two years, but they ended up calling it off a couple years later, which led to "rumours circulating that Jade didn't agree with Emma's decision to work with Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller on her solo career."

In context, it would stand to reason that Jones could feel weird about Bunton putting her solo career into Fuller's hands, as there were rumblings that the two had been romantically linked in the past, according to Closer. Although both Bunton and Fuller denied having been involved, some believed that their alleged relationship was the reason the Spice Girls fired him in the first place. That said, Jones refused to play into the drama. "It was a mutual and amicable break-up," he said at the time, according to The Sun. "We've decided to concentrate on our careers. There have been no arguments. I'm delighted Simon is managing her, he's very successful. Emma and I will always be friends." From the outside, it looks like Bunton's decision to give all her attention to her music worked out, since her first solo album sold half a million copies, according to Heart FM. All's well that ends well, et cetera.

Emma Bunton allegedly 'enjoyed a night of passion' with Justin Timberlake

Emma Bunton also reportedly had a thing with another former boyband member. There were whispers that she connected with Justin Timberlake, circa 2003, but all involved parties have been somewhat discreet about this supposed relationship in subsequent years. At the time, though, ContactMusic made the bold claim that Timberlake had "bedded" Bunton and that they had shared a "night of passion." The outlet also reported that Timberlake had told The News of the World, "Emma's really gorgeous. We've been together."

So, how'd that go over? "A lady should never kiss and tell and neither should a gentleman," Bunton apparently told reporters in 2003, according to the Daily Record. "That's all I have to say about him."

When Jonathan Ross asked Bunton about this piece of tittle-tattle in 2004, she gasped and replied, "We hung out and partied a bit, he was very sweet. He spoke about this first, because otherwise, I would've not said a word." Years later, when *NSYNC played a game of "Never Have I Ever" on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Timberlake added fuel to the speculation when he shared that he'd hooked up with a member of the Spice Girls. DeGeneres didn't push for details, but naturally, this answer called to mind a certain reported fling that was churned out by the gossip mill in the '00s. 

Whatever did or did not happen, both have clearly moved on with their lives; Timberlake went on to marry actor Jessica Biel, and the pair share two children

In 2004, Emma Bunton and Jade Jones gave things yet another shot

Emma Bunton and Jade Jones tried to stay apart, but they ultimately found they couldn't. In 2004, they got back together for the third and final time, and have since enjoyed their fairytale romance without further interruptions, according to The Sun. The two now seem more in love than ever, as Jones recently demonstrated in an emotional birthday post for Bunton. "Today we celebrate my Queen, my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my beauty, my partner, my wifey, my love, my Emma," he wrote on Instagram. "Bubba- I love you ore and more everyday! Happy birthday to the most amazing woman and mother in the world. Love you endlessly."

As for Bunton, she regularly echoes this sentiment, openly describing all the ways her partner makes her life better. When The Guardian asked her who she would like to offer an apology, she responded, "To Jade, my other half, because I can be hard work sometimes, and he is the most calm and understanding person I've ever met." She went on to describe how love feels: "Magical, warm, but also butterflies." Appearing on "The Jonathan Ross Show" in 2019, Bunton also admitted that she and Jones never shy away from a little PDA. "We are quite tactile, Jade and I," she said. "We're quite passionate." Ross said that that's pretty "weird" after all this time together, but hey, we're just very happy for them both.

Emma Bunton and Jade Jones have two kids together

Emma Bunton and Jade Jones aren't the only stars in each other's galaxy; their two kids are also at the centre of their universe. Their first son, Beau Lee Jones, was born in August 2007, while his baby brother, Tate Jones, arrived in May 2011. Beau and Tate are especially precious if you consider that doctors once informed Bunton that her endometriosis could prevent her from having kids at all. "I was told that when I was very young, but here I am with two boys," she told Express.

When asked by MadeForMums whether she was a "strict" mom, Bunton said, "It's about having balance. I love cuddles, so I wouldn't say... I would say my other half Jade is stricter than I am." But that doesn't mean Jade doesn't have a seriously soft side, as he regularly gushes about how much he loves his family on Instagram. For Beau's 13th birthday, Jade wrote, "Th [sic] coolest, funniest, smartest, fun, loving, humble, kindest, handsome, generous, most precious son in the universe!!" Super cute.

As to whether they would consider expanding their family, Bunton shared with You Magazine in 2021 that she would love another child, but that she recently found out she was perimenopausal. "With the baby, some days I think, 'Right! Let's do it,' and then other days I don't know if I can," she said. "If it happens, of course, it would be amazing."

Emma Bunton got engaged to Jade Jones in 2011

In January 2011, 13 years after they first met, seven years after they finally got back together, and four months before their second child was born, Emma Bunton and Jade Jones became engaged. Bunton first announced her betrothal on "Dancing on Ice" (via Daily Mail), then took to Twitter to confirm the good news, writing, "Yahooooo I'm Engaged! Love you Jade! I'm a very happy lady!!"

You might think this was a long time coming, but the truth is Bunton wasn't really bothered about marrying her partner. "We've been rumoured to be engaged about 20 times, but we don't need a wedding to justify our relationship," she told Closer (via the Irish Examiner) in 2008. "But if we ever do get married, I couldn't run off and do it in secret – my family would be so upset." But, lo and behold, the ex-Spice Girl totally contradicted herself in her interview with Express in 2013. When asked if she'd ever "get secretly married," Bunton replied, "Maybe. That's the sort of thing we'd do." Um, so which is it?

Emma Bunton and Jade Jones finally tied the knot in 2021

While 2008 Emma Bunton had no great desire to say "I do," 2021 Emma Bunton was ready to get marriedShe and long-time fiancé Jade Jones finally sealed the deal in July 2021 at exclusive members' club Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, UK. Bunton posted a wedding photo on Instagram, in which a Gucci-clad Jones is pressing his forehead to hers, with the caption, "Mr and Mrs Jones!" and three red hearts. Jones posted a full body shot of the newlyweds gazing into each other's eyes while standing under a magical floral arch. He wrote, "Me & Mrs Jones!" with three red hearts of his own.

Speaking on Heart radio (via The Sun), Bunton addressed her wedding day for avid listeners' benefit. "Firstly, I would like to say a massive, massive thank you for all of your lovely messages and congratulations because yes! I did it! I finally walked down the aisle and married Mr Jade Jones," Bunton said. "It's been a long time coming... 23 years actually, but we had the most perfect day, we didn't take our eyes off each other, it was very romantic." Given the photos, the venue, the love story... we have no problem believing that. A zig-a-zigratulations to the happy couple.