culture

Mel B Moved In to Her Mom’s House After Ending an Abusive Marriage

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Mel B may have made millions while singing hit after hit and touring the world with the Spice Girls in the ’90s, but in 2019 — after ending an allegedly emotionally, physically and financially abusive marriage — she was left with so little money that she had no choice but to move back into her mother’s home in the U.K.

“I didn’t realize that I didn’t have as much money as I thought I had. So I literally had to eat humble pie, live with my mum,” she told the BBC in an interview that was published on March 13. Mel B, whose legal name is Melanie Brown, said that throughout her relationship with producer Stephen Belafonte, she “wasn’t just emotionally and physically abused, there was all the financial abuse too.” Brown wrote about the alleged abuse by Belafonte in her 2018 memoir Brutally Honest and has spoken about it in various interviews. Belafonte has denied allegations of abuse.

Brown and Belafonte separated in December 2016 after nine years of marriage. They reached a private out-of-court settlement in 2017 and finalized their divorce in 2018. The settlement required Brown to pay Belafonte $350,000 plus $5,000 a month in child support for their daughter, Madison. In 2019, as legal fees piled up while she was touring with the Spice Girls, Brown decided to leave L.A. and return home to Leeds.

The musician said that once she was there, she had to learn to trust others and herself again, saying, “Obviously any situation is better than being with your abuser, but when you’ve left that kind of abusive situation, it’s like starting all over again.” Brown also had to learn how to live a more frugal lifestyle that includes shopping for groceries at mid-budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl. “I still love shopping in Aldi and Lidl, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop doing that, to be honest,” she said. “I’m still a Leeds girl!”

Brown also told the BBC she finally saved up enough money for her own place, something she thought would “never be on the cards.” She’s now engaged to Rory McPhee and planning to get married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Will fellow Spice Girl Victoria Beckham design her gown? “She’d love to,” Brown told the BBC, but she said she’s considering other options, too.

Mel B on Moving In to Her Mom’s House After Abusive Marriage