Thursday 22 February 2018

Mel B's husband denies 'outrageous' abuse claims

Stephen Belafonte and Melanie Brown attending the Serious Fun Children's Network London Gala at The Roundhouse, London.
Stephen Belafonte and Melanie Brown attending the Serious Fun Children's Network London Gala at The Roundhouse, London.

By David Mercer

The former Spice Girl has been granted a temporary restraining order over the domestic violence allegations.

The estranged husband of Mel B has “vehemently” denied allegations he subjected her to years of physical and emotional abuse.

Lawyers for Stephen Belafonte issued a statement after the former Spice Girl was granted a temporary restraining order following claims of domestic violence.

The 41-year-old singer, whose real name is Melanie Brown, says she was the victim of “multiple physical beatings” at the hands of Stephen and he had threatened to “destroy” her career by releasing sex tapes of her.

In a statement to the Press Association, Stephen’s legal team said the allegations were “outrageous and unfounded” and “nothing more than a smear campaign”.

“It’s a shame that Ms Brown elected not to proceed in a respectful and amicable fashion in this very private matter,” they said.

“In due course, Mr Belafonte will be filing his response to the outrageous and unfounded allegations made by Ms Brown, which allegations he vehemently denies.

“When the degree to which Ms Brown has gone to create a false depiction of her marriage to Mr Belafonte is uncovered, real victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse will be understandably offended, angry and upset.”

In papers filed with Los Angeles Superior Court, Mel alleged she was repeatedly attacked by Stephen, including while she worked on Australia’s X Factor and after she performed with the Spice Girls at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

In her complaint, Mel said Stephen’s alleged abuse led to her swallowing an entire bottle of painkillers in 2014 when she was a judge on The X Factor in the UK.

After she tried to call 999, she claimed Stephen locked her in a bedroom without a phone and told her “Die, bitch!”, before she was admitted to hospital the next day.

She said she tried to leave Stephen after their first year of marriage but he threatened to release “videos of our sex life and other private moments” to the tabloids.

“I have lived the past decade in fear that (Stephen) would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and career,” she said.

She claimed Stephen was also “emotionally and verbally abusive” during their marriage, calling her “fat, ugly and old” and telling her: “Thank God I’m with you – no one else would want you.”

In the complaint, Mel alleged that her husband had an affair with their nanny, who became pregnant but had an abortion.

Mel, who is now a judge on America’s Got Talent, married film producer Belafonte in Las Vegas in June 2007. She filed for divorce on March 20 citing “irreconcilable differences”.

As well as the temporary restraining order, Mel has been granted sole custody of their five-year-old daughter Madison.

The singer has two other daughters from previous relationships with actor Eddie Murphy and dancer Jimmy Gulzar, while Stephen has another daughter from a previous relationship.

A hearing on the temporary restraining order will take place at Los Angeles Superior Court on April 24.

Press Association

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