Friday 23 August 2019

Mel B averts trial by settling with estranged husband and ex-nanny

The former Spice Girl has settled the cases with both Stephen Belafonte and Lorraine Gilles.

Mel B divorce
Mel B divorce

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Mel B has settled domestic violence cases against her estranged husband and their former nanny, averting a damaging trial at the last minute.

The former Spice Girl claimed that Stephen Belafonte subjected her to years of physical and mental abuse and that their former nanny, Lorraine Gilles, conspired with him to threaten to release explicit videos of her.

The Leeds-born judge on America’s Got Talent, real name Melanie Brown, applied for restraining orders against the pair after she filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court.

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A domestic violence trial was set to hear further damaging claims and was to be shown intimate videos involving the singer but was heeded on Monday after Brown settled with Belafonte and Ms Gilles.

Judge Mark Juhas told the court that the case had been resolved and the temporary restraining orders had been dissolved, paving the way for divorce hearings between Brown and Belafonte.

The terms of the settlements, first reached with Belafonte last week and then Ms Gilles’s over the weekend, have not been made public.

A source close to Belafonte said the agreement included “substantial custodial time” with his six-year-old daughter with Brown.

The pair, both 42, married in Las Vegas in June 2007 but Brown filed for divorce in March this year citing “irreconcilable differences”.

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The mother of three detailed allegations of domestic abuse and the court was told she claims he drugged her throughout much of their relationship.

Belafonte denied the allegations and claimed her “habitual and consistent addiction” to cocaine and alcohol was a major issue in their marriage.

The court was also told that Brown led an “extravagant” lifestyle and had “wiped out” her 50 million dollar (£38 million) fortune from the Spice Girls.

Ms Gilles denied threatening to release videos of Brown and also denied holding hostage some of her personal belongings, including Spice Girls memorabilia.

Brown and Belafonte are yet to settle their divorce so further hearings are expected.

PA Media

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