Mel B’s husband Stephen Belafonte denies ‘outrageous’ abuse claims
Former Spice Girl Mel B’s estranged husband has “vehemently” denied allegations he subjected her to years of physical and emotional abuse.
The singer, whose real name is Melanie Brown, was granted a temporary restraining order against Stephen Belafonte after accusing him of abuse throughout their 10-year marriage.
The 41-year-old said Mr Belafonte beat her repeatedly, forced her into unwanted sex acts and threatened to leak sex tapes.
A Los Angeles judge granted the order after the singer filed court papers documenting the allegations.
In a statement, Mr Belafonte’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 the papers filed with Los Angeles Superior Court, Ms Brown described Mr Belafonte, a film producer, as a “large, extremely aggressive, hostile and violent individual” who was “controlling, manipulative and abusive”.
She alleged he punched her in the face while she was working on Australia’s X Factor in July 2012 after he claimed she had been flirting with R&B star Usher.
Ms Brown also claimed she was assaulted by Mr Belafonte after she performed with the Spice Girls at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.
She said Mr Belafonte’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.
She claimed Mr Belafonte locked her in a bedroom without a phone and told her “Die, b****!” after she tried to call 999. She was admitted to hospital the next day.
After the first 12 months of their marriage, Ms Brown, who is now a judge on America’s Got Talent, said she tried to leave Mr Belafonte 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 (Belafonte) would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and career,” she said.
She claimed Mr Belafonte 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, Ms Brown alleged that her husband had an affair with their nanny, who became pregnant but had an abortion.
The couple married in Las Vegas in 2007.
In 2012, Ms Brown posted a photo of herself with a bruise on her chin, claiming she fell while running.
Now, she says her husband had beaten her and forced her to lie about the bruise.
Idon't usually respond to Twitter msgs but I will respond to comments of hitting my wife which I think are quite disgusting un true!
— Stephen Belafonte (@Stephenthinks1) December 15, 2014
In 2014, the couple became the subject of tabloid gossip when Ms Brown was reportedly taken to hospital with stomach pains, leading to rumours of domestic abuse.
Mr Belafonte denied them at the time in a tweet, writing: “I don’t usually respond to Twitter msgs but I will respond to comments of hitting my wife which I think are quite disgusting untrue!”
Ms Brown filed for divorce on 20 March citing “irreconcilable differences”.
She has been granted sole custody of their five-year-old daughter Madison.