Mel B‘s ex-husband Stephen Belafonte is claiming the star’s latest campaign to raise domestic violence awareness has left their daughter Madison, nine, ‘distraught.’
The 46-year-old producer, who was married to the Spice Girls alum from 2007–2017, alleges their little girl ‘started crying’ and became ‘upset’ upon discovering the video, which depicts her mom portraying a battered woman in an abusive relationship.
He also noted in court documents, obtained by TMZ, that the recording was so traumatizing Madison ‘doesn’t want to see her mom at all or travel to be with her this summer.’
Feuding: Mel B’s ex-husband Stephen Belafonte is claiming the star’s latest campaign to raise domestic violence awareness has left their daughter Madison, nine, ‘distraught’ (seen in 2016)
Regardless, a judge approved Mel B’s request for Madison ‘to travel alone’ as they remain locked in a bitter custody war since their divorce.
In November, Mel B, who moved back to her native England from LA in 2019, had to abandon her efforts to move Madison with her because she can’t afford the attorney fees to continue the legal battle due to ‘lack of access to liquid funds.’
‘I maintain my belief that it would be in Madison’s best interest to move to the UK and reside with me and her older sisters (Angel, 14, by Eddie Murphy, and Phoenix, 22, by her ex, Jimmy Gulzar),’ she wrote in her declaration to the court.
The 46-year-old producer, who was married to the Spice Girls alum from 2007–2017, alleges their little girl ‘started crying’ and became ‘upset’ upon discovering the video, which depicts her mom portraying a severely battered woman (pictured with Madison in 2016)
Intense: He also noted in court documents, obtained by TMZ , the footage traumatized ‘she doesn’t want to see her mom at all or travel to be with her this summer’
On Monday, the singer spoke candidly about her traumatic experience with domestic abuse during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
The former America’s Got Talent judge, 45, emotionally admitted being abused ‘does crush your soul’ as she claimed it would take ‘forever to get that back’, and explained how women in situations like hers struggle to get out of it.
Mel has previously accused Belafonte of ’emotional and physical abuse’, which he has vehemently denied, and has claimed she attempted to leave her marriage for a decade but found it to be an ‘impossible’ situation.
Shocking: In a Women’s Aid video released on Thursday, Mel appeared beaten and covered in fake bruises as she attempted to flee a violent partner, to highlight domestic violence
Mel told co-hosts Susanna Reid and Adil Ray: ‘As a woman that’s gone through it, it does crush your soul, it does really strip you… I’m going to be taking forever to get that back.
‘I’ve had to build myself up. One of the good things for me is to speak to other women who have been in a similar situation.’
In the Women’s Aid video, the star, who is a patron of the charity, appeared beaten and covered in fake bruises as she attempted to flee a violent partner.
She said of the clip: ‘You know that’s why this video is so important, because it’s not just my story, [it’s] bits and pieces of my story, but it’s every woman’s story, it’s everybody’s voice, because we are dealing with an epidemic.’
‘It does crush your soul, I’m going to be taking forever to get that back’: Mel B spoke candidly about her traumatic experience with domestic abuse while appearing on Monday’s GMB
The mom-of-three added: ‘You put on your armor and you walk out to the world, but behind closed doors it’s very, very different.
‘It’s embarrassing, shameful and you carry so much guilt having to lie and keep that secret. To do this campaign was so important to me.’
Mel went on to speak about how difficult it is for women in abusive relationships to leave them, saying: ‘People in these situations, they don’t feel like there’s a way out.
‘They’ve been isolated from their friends, their family and that’s one of the major signs somebody is in one of those kinds of relationships.
‘The only way out is sporadically run – you don’t know where you’re running, you don’t know where you’re going to get help, you probably don’t have your own phone anymore, your friends probably haven’t heard from you in months.
‘We wanted to highlight how it can escalate very quickly to feeling trapped and alone.’
Mel added that she experiences good and bad days as a result of her trauma, adding: ‘It doesn’t just go away. It will always be with me, I just have to learn to live with it.’
The singer has returned to Leeds to live with her mum, sisters, and her other family members, and detailed how ‘important’ it was for her to be with them again.
She gushed: ‘Being away from my family for so long – a good 10 years and not having much communication and during that time, my dad died, it was really important for me to get back to my roots, my northern side. My mum, my sister, my kids, we love it there.’
Struggle: Mel spoke about how difficult it is for women to leave abusive relationships, saying: ‘They don’t feel like there’s a way out. They’ve been isolated from their friends, their family’
Mel has also revealed she is currently in a relationship, saying: ‘I’m with somebody who’s very kind, very honest, very loving. I need somebody understanding.’
In an interview with The Guardian on Monday, she said of her abusive relationship: ‘I tried to leave seven times, so you can imagine how desperate I was in those 10 years.
‘I didn’t have anywhere to go, I didn’t have my own credit card, I didn’t have a car, I’ve got three kids, I was very on the edge of self-destruction.’
The performer also insisted she wants to keep her personal life ‘private’ now and that she’s very happy with her ‘very, very kind’ new lover.
She said: ‘I’m with someone who’s very kind. Very, very kind. And more than anything we’re really good friends from way back.’
When asked more about her new partner, Mel claimed she wanted to keep it to herself because ‘everything else is out in the open’ and didn’t want to add more.
Candid: Mel said of the Women’s Aid clip: ‘You put on your armour and you walk out to the world, but behind closed doors it’s very, very different’
On Thursday night, Mel appeared beaten and covered in fake bruises for a shocking music video to highlight the effects of domestic violence.
The songwriter can be seen attempting to flee her violent partner in the Women’s Aid video, which was made in collaboration with classical composer Fabio D’Andrea.
In the video, she can be seen wearing makeup to mimic a bloodied face and bruises as she is dragged across the room and beaten by her partner.
While the video shows that the couple’s relationship is the picture of happiness to those around them, behind closed doors she is left terrified by her partner’s violent behavior.
Relationship: Mel added that she experiences good and bad days as a result of her trauma, adding: ‘It doesn’t just go away. It will always be with me’ (pictured with Stephen in 2012)
The clip ends with a bloodied Mel dramatically fleeing her house after her partner leaves, desperate to escape his abusive behaviour.
The singer also welcomed the introduction of The Domestic Abuse Bill into law, with the new Act setting out the definition as being beyond just physical violence, and including coercive control and emotional and sexual abuse.
However Mel also detailed that despite divorcing Stephen, she is still embroiled in a custody arrangement meaning she cannot see her daughter Madison for weeks on end.
Speaking further about the short film, Mel said: ‘I’m so incredibly proud to be part of this project which means so much to me because this is a collaboration of three things that are so important in my life. Music, dance and a way to highlight the ever increasing issue of violence towards women.
Shocking: The former Spice Girl can be seen attempting to flee her violent partner in the Women’s Aid video, which was made in collaboration with classical composer Fabio D’Andrea
‘It seems strange to say I am proud of showing something so brutal and disturbing but it is my mission to raise awareness of something so many women go through every day, every week, every month of their lives.
‘I have had my own experiences of abusive relationships but as patron of Women’s Aid I have spoken to so many other women, listened to what they have gone through and I know how very real the danger is to so many women out there and I’m not going to stop breaking the silence and the shame around this subject because it’s too much and we have to stand up and do something.
‘This performance represents the stories and the experiences of those women I have met, spoken to or heard about.
‘My heart breaks for every single woman and child who suffers from some form of domestic abuse. I want this to count for all victims of abuse. I want to help raise awareness, raise money and do anything I can to put a stop to this epidemic.’
Brutal: In the video, Mel can be seen wearing makeup to mimic a bloodied face and bruises as she is dragged across the room and beaten by her partner
The video is part of a series by D’Andrea that has also included actor Russell Tovey highlighting issues around fame and mental health.
D’Andrea said: ‘So much can be communicated via the arts that cannot be in other ways. We all hope this video can connect with as many people as possible.
‘Domestic violence exists in every section of society but we rarely hear about it. This music and this video aims to change that. This video performance represents the stories and the experiences of many, many women. It is very real, very raw.’
Teresa Parker, head of communications for Women’s Aid, said: ‘Specialist services, such as those run by Women’s Aid nationally and the local services run by our members all around the country, truly help to save lives.
‘We are asking everyone to share this important video, to help us raise awareness, and if you can consider donating to Women’s Aid or your local domestic abuse service to make sure that women fleeing abuse, like the woman that Melanie is playing in the video, are able to access the help and support that they urgently need.’
Alternative sight: The video shows the couple dancing together, alluding to the image of their ‘happy’ relationship
Tough: Speaking to ITV News she said: ‘Some women don’t have access to their phones, even their finances. Like in my situation, you are completely cut off from a regular normal world’
The former couple divorced in 2017, with Mel revealing last year that she now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can lead to flashbacks.
The singer told how she once woke up from a nightmare convinced that her ex had tried to chop off her finger.
Mel said she didn’t realise how traumatised she was until after the release of her book Brutally Honest when she struggled to speak about the alleged abuse during interviews.
She said: ‘I didn’t even realise for so many years that I was in a coercive relationship. It was only through doing my book that I began to fully understand the situation I had been living in for ten years. And I know I’m not the only one like that.’
Mel’s autobiography, Brutally Honest, talks about abuse and her suicide attempt, and the singer said she has no regrets about anything in the book, including her revelations about her ex.
Apart: Mel is living in her native Britain after leaving her job as a judge on America’s Got Talent, with their daughterMadison living in LA with her father. The exes currently share custody
Speaking of their volatile relationship while on GMB in 2018, she said: ‘I had an unfortunate ten year marriage; very coercive and abusive. Something we don’t talk about, because it’s taboo.
‘I wanted to address all these different situations due to living such a life for 10 years. I wanted to own it take back my power in a respectful way, I think.’
Host Piers Morgan said: ‘The opening page talks about a suicide attempt… it was around The X Factor judging time.’
Mel responded: ‘Yeah, I was crushed. I am probably still healing and learning from that whole entire relationship. Writing the book was cathartic and therapeutic… It is a chapter in my life that has been put to rest.’
Talking further about Stephen, she said: ‘I didn’t choose him he chose me and sought me out. It came at a very vulnerable point at my life.
‘There was domestic violence, mental abuse, control, torture….it’s very, not a very nice thing to have gone through. I am happy as I have teamed up with Women’s Aid, educating people, that’s not normal, fair or respectful to treat anyone like that.’
Family: In addition to Madison, Mel B is a mother to daughters Phoenix, 22, whose father is her first husband Jimmy Gulzar, and Angel, 14, whose father is Hollywood star Eddie Murphy. They are pictured in LA in 2018 along with Belafonte’s adult daughter Giselle