By her own admissions, it was a world away from the "glamour of Los Angeles where I now live what is, admittedly, a very privileged life."
But when Melanie Brown was invited to take part in ITV documentary 7 Days On The Breadline - to highlight the plight of deprived families in recession-hit Britain - she felt it was a project she couldn't turn down.
In the first episode, viewers saw Mel arrive at the Harehills council estate in Leeds to meet the low income family she would spend the week with.
And she's been talking about the experience of stepping into the shoes of single mum Elaine Henry.
Her challenge was to look after Elaine's five children - aged six, eight, 12, 16 and 18 - all on a budget of £264 in benefits.
"I had to do all the housework and cooking, which was fine as I'm a very hands-on mother to my own daughters, Phoenix, who is now ten, and Angel, two," she tells the Daily Mail.
The former Spice Girl got stuck in organising a picnic for the youngsters and a car wash to help them understand the concept that "money equals work and work equals money".
Doing the show was something of a wake-up call, she says.
"It reminded me just how good my life is. Not that I was ever complacent, but just in case I needed a jolt, that's what it gave me," she admits.
"I live a really amazing life, but I've worked really hard for it. I've not been handed it on a plate. I've gone out there and done it for myself.
The show is on ITV at 9pm.