Mel B admits her Spice Girls bandmates knew about her ‘abusive’ marriage


Mel B has revealed her Spice Girls bandmates knew about the abuse she suffered during her marriage to Stephen Belafonte.

The singer, 47, confessed that she became ‘very good at hiding things’ at the height of her ordeal, as she suffered for 10 years during their relationship.

Mel has previously spoken about being in an abusive relationship with ex husband Stephen – something which he has always vehemently denied. 

Speaking on Wednesday’s Newsnight, Mel added that the abuse is something she’ll live with ‘for the rest of her life,’ while noting fellow sufferers have to adapt to not being denied basic rights such as driving or having a credit card.

She also admitted she would not report domestic abuse because she does not know if she can ‘trust the police’.

Candid: Mel B has revealed her Spice Girls bandmates knew about the abuse she suffered during her marriage to Stephen Belafonte

Asked whether the Spice Girls knew about her abuse, Mel said: ‘Yeah, I think some of them did in dribs and drabs. 

‘But I was you know, I was in it for 10 years, I was very good at hiding things, especially anything to do with my then-husband, and what I was going home to or what I’d just come from.’

The singer split from Stephen, 47, in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – which he denies. 

Two years later, Mel reunited with bandmates Mel C, Geri Horner and Emma Bunton for a nationwide tour. 

Mel went onto admit that she will continue to live with her abuse for the rest of her life, adding: ‘I will always haeve to live with what happened to me, and it’s going to be living with me side by side for the rest of my life.

‘For example my mum said the first thing she said to me was like ”well you’re fine now you got away from him.” 

‘No, if anything your world gts turned completely upside down, because if you’ve been, whether you’ve been in an abusive relationship for an hour, a day, month, year, ten years, there’s things that an abuser does to you that will never leave you, from literally telling you what’s wrong with you, putting you in certain situations, where you feel so humiliated.

‘The simplest things like getting dressed in the morning – what do I wear? 

Back together! The singer confessed that she became 'very good at hiding things' at the height of her abuse (pictured  second left with bandmates Emma Bunton, Mel C and Geri Horner)

Back together! The singer confessed that she became ‘very good at hiding things’ at the height of her abuse (pictured  second left with bandmates Emma Bunton, Mel C and Geri Horner)

Candid: Mel also admitted she would not report domestic abuse because she does not know if she can 'trust the police'

Candid: Mel also admitted she would not report domestic abuse because she does not know if she can ‘trust the police’ 

‘I’m used to being told what to wear in such an aggressive way that these are things I didn’t have to think of. I’m not allowed to drive so I have to relearn everything again.’ 

Mel, who is a patron of Women’s Aid and campaigns with the charity on domestic abuse issues, urged the Government to reform ‘the whole entire system’ of justice. 

She said that officers need education on the ‘tell-tale signs’ that someone is in an abusive relationship.

‘I wouldn’t (call the police), because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously,’ Mel said. 

‘Like if I’m living here and I want to report it to the police, I don’t know if I can trust the police. I don’t know if they’re going to take my allegations seriously.

She also said: ‘It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for.’

The singer added that ‘younger and younger’ people are experiencing domestic abuse including ‘kids as soon as they start some kind of intimate relationship’.

In her interview with broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, she also called the issue an ‘epidemic’ and said that the work of statisticians allowed victims to ‘openly talk’.

She said: ‘When I brought my book out, nobody wanted to talk about it. It was like a taboo topic. It was something that everybody knows about but nobody talks about it.

‘It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for’

MailOnline have contacted the Metropolitan Police, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Women’s Aid for comment.

It comes after Mel urged Sir Keir Starmer to make tackling domestic violence one of his ‘national missions’ if he becomes prime minister.

The Labour leader said he would make the issue a priority after being grilled by the Spice Girl, a survivor of domestic abuse who is campaigning for change.

Sir Keir said a ‘powerful strand’ within his pledge to ‘make Britain’s streets safe’ is tackling violence against women and girls.

He unveiled five missions last week to improve the nation, including securing high sustained growth and building an NHS fit for the future.

But Mel , sitting alongside Sir Keir at a Woman’s Aid panel, demanded that he adds a sixth mission: tackling domestic violence.

Ex: The singer split from Stephen, 47, in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage - which he denies

Ex: The singer split from Stephen, 47, in 2017 and claimed he had emotionally and physically abused her during their 10-year marriage – which he denies

‘If you’re going to talk about your five main things you have to add another one on that is specifically domestic abuse,’ she said.

As the audience laughed at her sustained questioning, she said: ‘You may well laugh but I’m being b**ody serious.

‘It needs to be a standalone thing that we get educated on from the ground up, inside out.’

Sir Keir said he ‘absolutely will make it a priority’ if he is prime minister, but did not commit to a sixth national mission.

He said ‘end-to-end change’ is needed and ‘tinkering around the edges isn’t going to make a difference’.

Mel B, a patron of the Women’s Aid charity, described herself as a ‘big fan’ of Sir Keir’s and expressed confidence that he will win the next general election.

But she warned him: ‘Keir, I’m holding you to everything. I will come after you, I will.

‘For every survivor and everybody’s voice out there that can’t be heard I am their voice – so watch out. Because I really do like you.’

Speaking out: Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, Mel described domestic abuse as an 'epidemic' and praised those who collected statistics on it which allows victims to 'openly talk'

Speaking out: Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, Mel described domestic abuse as an ‘epidemic’ and praised those who collected statistics on it which allows victims to ‘openly talk’

Mel B said police need better education about spotting 'tell-tale signs' and added: 'I wouldn't [call the police], because I wouldn't know if they would take it seriously

Mel B said police need better education about spotting ‘tell-tale signs’ and added: ‘I wouldn’t [call the police], because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously

In May 2022, Mel B also dedicated her MBE for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women to ‘all the other women’ who are dealing with domestic violence. 

Mel and Stephen secretly married in 2007 and split in 2017.

They share one daughter, Madison Brown Belafonte, 11 – and Mel has two children from previous relationships: Phoenix Chi Gulzar, 24, who she shares with ex husband Jimmy Gulzar and Angel Iris Murphy Brown, 15, who she co-parents with Eddie Murphy.

The mother-of-three claimed she was financially abused during her marriage to Stephen, having no access to her own money.

Mel admitted while she is renowned for being ‘confident and outspoken as Scary Spice’ – and despite feeling ‘at home’ on stage, she believed many may have viewed her as the last person to feel ‘totally trapped and alone’ in her marriage. 

And it was when writing her book Brutally Honest, Mel discovered ‘to my horror what my daughter Phoenix, 22, had witnessed’.

The Spice Girl star said she finds it ‘very disturbing’ she has ‘no clear memory’ of an incident her daughter described to her ghost writer, due to her PTSD blocking out the trauma.

She added: ‘Knowing what my daughter saw kills me’. 

Watch the full Newsnight interview on BBC iPlayer.

For free and confidential support, connect to a Women’s Aid support worker via their instant messaging service at chat.womensaid.org.uk. 

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