When I was a little girl, my favorite Spice Girl was Mel B, and as an adult, that hasn’t changed. The Spice Girl of my heart has always been Melanie Brown, aka Scary Spice. I’ve been a fan of hers for the majority of my life, but she’d kind of fallen under my radar for awhile, except for begrudgingly sitting through America’s Got Talent, a show I really dislike. However, that all changed when she hit the news by filing for divorce from soon to be ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte. While we all know that divorce is never the ending you want for a marriage, Mel B’s marriage seems like it was particularly horrible.
This story is still developing, but from what we can tell, Melanie Brown’s husband is a really terrible person. I tend to refrain from judging people as people, but I am confident saying that Stephen Belafonte is terrible. His alleged crimes against her are inexcusable, to the point where she landed in the hospital. Their ten-year relationship was a mess, and the fact that she had to go through that was tragic. Unfortunately, Mel B’s story isn’t an isolated one: countless women have been through this. Their relationship is disturbing, but to make matters worse, relationships like theirs are commonplace. Here are 15 things you need to know about Melanie Brown and Stephen Belafonte’s disturbing relationship.
15. Her Husband Manipulated Her For Years
According to the court documents that got released about Mel B’s divorce from Stephen Belafonte, he’s a grade A terrible human being. I cannot stress that enough, and will probably be stressing that throughout this piece. From the beginning, when they met on the set of a film in 2007, he’s been manipulating her. We’re going to get into the specifics of how for more than a few things, but for now, the thing you need to know is that manipulation can come in a lot of forms. Belafonte would hurl racial slurs at Mel B and go out of his way to treat their nanny like his wife. We’re going to talk more about the nanny later on because she plays a major role in this story, but the court documents reveal a level of abuse that goes far beyond just the nanny. In her own words: “I have tried to leave the Respondent many times. Every time I tried, the Respondent threatened me with violence and threatened to destroy my life in every way.”
14. He Choked Her Before A Dancing With The Stars Appearance
Mel B was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars back in 2007, and while she did really well in the competition (her Spice Girls career was probably really helpful in that respect), she didn’t win. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst thing to happen that night. According to the court reports, on the day of the DWTS finale, he got physical with her as she was getting ready. He wrapped his hands around her neck and started choking her, slamming her down onto their hardwood floors. According to her, this was not a rare occurrence. To make matters worse, he’d do this every time she achieved a modicum of success, just to let her know who was really in charge. This would not be the last time he’d put hands on her before she had to go on TV, and there were times where her bruises and injuries could be seen on TV.
13. Simon Cowell Tried To Step In
While Mel B was taping an episode of the X Factor back in 2012, she was supposed to do a segment with Usher, which was a pretty commonplace thing considering Usher has been a fixture on that show since its inception. Before she was set to film with him, Belafonte flew into a jealous rage and then punched her right in the face so hard that he split her lip. She then asked what she was supposed to do or say when she walked into her on-camera job to work, he responded that she should have thought of that before she decided to “flirt with and f*** Usher.” It got so bad that Simon Cowell found himself horrified and wanted to try and help her. Back in 2014, he tried to help her leave Belafonte by arranging for her to meet with divorce lawyers. He’d been particularly disturbed by how Belafonte would cut her off from her own money, which is another form of abuse.
12. He Tried Releasing Sex Tapes
Stephen Belafonte would regularly threaten to release sex tapes of him and Mel B throughout their relationship if she disapproved of anything going on in their sex life. To make matters worse, he’d post photos of himself with her and other women, publicizing something private. Ironically, when all of this came to light, he responded by saying “It’s a shame that Ms. Brown elected not to proceed in a respectful and amicable fashion in this very private matter.” That’s a lack of self-awareness that’s shocking, but definitely not surprising coming from someone like him. Melanie Brown has never been shy about her sex life. She’d regularly reveal tidbits about her sex life with Stephen and even confessed that she’d kissed every member of the Spice Girls. However, airing out her dirty laundry without her permission definitely isn’t okay.
11. He Said Her Family Would Never See Her Again
According to Melanie’s sister Danielle, Stephen’s abuse tactics hadn’t been isolated to Melanie. Over the course of eight years, he’d call her and their mother, saying things like they’d never see Melanie again. That’s a relatively common abuser tactic that isolates their victim from their support system, leaving them all but entirely dependent on their abuser. Luckily, he was wrong about that, and Danielle told him so.
“Dear all media I won’t be selling a story on my sister never have and never will!! Here is my comment below so you can now leave me and my mum alone and let us be united and grieve the loss of my dad. @stephenthinks11 8 years of abusive calls me and my mum has had stating we would never see Melanie again. I am laughing and celebrating as you were wrong. You are a sorry excuse of a man !! To the left to the left everything you own in the box to the left. I hope you Lorraine Giles and Michael Bleu go to jail and rot in hell!” We’ll be touching upon those names later on, but for now, let’s be happy that Mel B has her support system back, especially as they mourn their father. That was the catalyst for her filing for divorce in the first place.
10. Melanie B Made All The Money
Stephen Belafonte is a Hollywood producer and director. He’s made movies like Thank You For Smoking, The Mutant Chronicles, and Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans, and produced a TV show called I Pity The Fool. You’d be forgiven for having forgotten about those because I only remembered one of those. Weirdly enough, he’s not actually a Belafonte. His real name is Stephen Stansbury and he’s definitely not a descendant from an established Hollywood family. According to his former neighbors, Belafonte was a creepy kid. One anonymous neighbor disclosed a story that involved 13-year-old Belafonte pointing a gun at her after saying she was dead. “I looked up and Stephen, who was about 13 or 14, was holding a rifle. The gun looked ‘antiquey’ so I’ve no idea if it was real. I said to him as casually as I could: “My goodness, that barrel’s almost as tall as you are”. Then I turned away.” Many abusers start showing their abusive traits when they’re young, so this news definitely shouldn’t be surprising.
9. He Gave Her Carpet Burns Before The Olympics
Mel B performed at the 2012 Olympics in London, which is pretty cool. The day after, Belafonte punched her with a closed first and pushed her down onto the carpet. He was so rough with her, she was actually burned by her carpet because she was pushed against it so aggressively. Her face had actually scabbed over because of it. Afterward, he made her tweet out that she’d gotten the injury from running around in 7-inch Christian Louboutin heels. She wasn’t the only person that he’d physically hurt during his life, either. According to his brother, who talked to The Sun, Belafonte had always been violent. “I know Steve—he’s cold, he’s hard and he’s violent. He loves money,” said Stansbury. “Mel should look after her inner health—and that will never happen around Steve. She should get help. He will destroy her. He will stress her out and pressure her until her stomach lining bursts wide open from an ulcer or she falls down and faints.”
8. He Made Her Have Threesomes She Didn’t Want To Have
Part of that stress had to have come from the fact that Mel B was being forced into threesomes she didn’t want to have. Over the course of their relationship, more and more information would come out stating that their marriage was far from traditional. Threesomes are all well and good if everyone involved wants to have them, but if someone isn’t comfortable or is being coerced, that’s abusive. He’s put up pictures on Instagram of him, Mel B, and another woman before, and rumors have swirled around a stripper in Australia who may or may not have been invited to their hotel room. This month, a British socialite named Lady Victoria Hervey claimed that she had sex with Mel B and Belafonte back in 2007, right when they’d just gotten married.
7. He Made Her Have A Threesome With Their German Nanny
One of those threesome stories gained a lot more traction than others was the story of Lorraine Gilles, the German nanny for the family. She spent seven years working for the family before being fired by Mel B. She’s married and living a quiet life now, but she’s been dragged into the spotlight thanks to the court documents. According to her sister, she’s never slept with Belafonte and she certainly didn’t do anything wrong. “She is a country girl from the sticks who landed up in Los Angeles and everything was going great for her until this. Now she, and we her family, have been plunged into this world of fear and uncertainty because of this.” Evidently, she was a dedicated nanny who loved their children like they were her own, and she stayed on the job far longer than she’d intended to.
6. He Got The Nanny Pregnant And Made Her Have An Abortion
While she seems innocent in this whole affair, Belafonte certainly isn’t. According to the court documents, she ended up pregnant by Belafonte, and when they found out, Belafonte made her have an abortion. Mel B’s court documents mention Lorraine a lot, and she’s gone on record saying “all three of us live together.” That was what Stephen had told her when Lorraine ended up pregnant: that the three of them would live together in happiness because he actually wanted the baby. Unfortunately, he’d lied to her, and he’d pushed for Lorraine to get an abortion. She was evidently fired after a horrible family trip to Ibiza.
5. He Then Paid The Nanny Off
After all of that, Belafonte ended up paying her $300,000 dollars to stay quiet. It’s why she can’t speak out on her experiences now. He gave her the money for “alleged nanny services,” which is one of the most suspect sounding reasons to get paid for something. Her sister is denying everything, even saying that if Lorraine had been pregnant, her family would have known about it. “I don’t know where this is coming from. She worked for the family for seven years and had nothing but positive experiences. She really loved those kids as if they were her own, so she stayed on much longer than she originally planned to.” Hopefully, everyone will leave her alone, but considering the situation, I’m sure everyone wants to hear her story. She’s not the one accused of abusing their spouse or anything, so hopefully, everyone keeps the criticism where it belongs: on Belafonte.
4. He Nearly Let Her Die From An Aspirin Overdose
In a terrifying story detailed in the court documents, Mel B dealt with a horrifying situation that was made worse by Belafonte’s abuse. Her ordeal had frayed her mental state so badly, she became suicidal. One day in 2014, she was hospitalized for stomach pains that were actually the result of a suicide attempt. She ended up taking an entire bottle of aspirin “in a moment of emotional and physical exhaustion.” She regretted it afterward and tried to call 911, but was stopped by Belafonte. “He threw me in the bedroom (without a phone) and locked the door, telling me to ‘die, b****!’” she writes in the April 3 memo. “I tried to break down the door, and eventually I was able to break the lock as it was very old. Seeing that I opened the door, Respondent pushed it shut.” After that, things got worse. “Each time I would pry the door open and try to squeeze out, Respondent would slam the door on my head,” she continues. “I kept telling him that I wanted to get my stomach pumped and I begged him to let me out.”
3. She Was Hospitalized After He Beat Her
Mel B was hospitalized several times because of Belafonte, even though he’s denying everything. “I’m really, really — I’m really distraught in my brain how this is going to affect our children,” he told TMZ. “And the depths that she’s gone to. That’s it. That’s it. I’m shocked at those allegations and that’s what it is.” She had to go to the hospital after the attack on her before the X-Factor, and she had to do it again when he attacked her when she was dying of an aspirin overdose brought on by his treatment of her. The X-Factor hospitalization really stands out, because she’d been rushed there screaming in agony, which paints a very disturbing picture. People were speculating about whether Belafonte was hitting her even back in 2014 when this happened, and he was denying it then, too.
2. He Was Surrounded By Federal Agents Over Firearms
Belafonte’s history with the law goes beyond domestic abuse. While he’s dealing with this whopper of a divorce case, he’s also going to have to deal with being prosecuted over a firearms search conducted by the feds. They found an empty shell casing and he’s actually not allowed to carry firearms because of an abuse allegation from his last wife that he denied, too. It’s hard to feel bad for him for all of that, considering what he allegedly did to his wife, and if we’re being totally honest, they should probably prosecute him. Mel B is probably going to have to testify, to let the courts know if she’s seen any firearms. According to Mel B’s divorce papers, we know that he has them, so that might very well be a foregone conclusion.
1. She Got A Restraining Order And She’s Safe Now
Luckily, Melanie B has a restraining order against her soon-to-be-ex, and for the time being, she’s safe. Belafonte is also forbidden from seeing her kids, too. According to her, when she told him she wanted a divorce, he didn’t take it well. “After informing him of my decision [to divorce] and having moved out of the family house on March 18, 2017, [he] again threatened that if I did not separate in a manner acceptable to him, he would ruin me by releasing the videotapes he claims to have made of me.” We’re going to hear a lot more of this by the end of the month, because the hearing is scheduled for April 24. Until then, we can only wait to see what happens.
Domestic abuse is horrible, and stories like this remind us that it’s not only horrific but commonplace. It’s important to understand that stories like Mel B’s aren’t isolated, and when we hear about accusations like this, not to immediately dismiss the victim’s claims, like what so often happens in high-profile abuse cases. Mel B has been suffering in silence for quite awhile, but hopefully, her story being released and Belafonte being seen for who he is has allowed her to feel more at peace.