MEL B SETTLES TOXIC DIVORCE
LAST WEEK, AFTER months of public mud-slinging, Mel B sensationally settled the biggest issues in her damaging divorce battle with Stephen Belafonte.
The pair are said to have reached an agreement on the ‘major issues of their divorce’, with Mel apparently withdrawing her restraining order against her estranged husband – a convicted criminal who previously worked as her manager. The order was granted to her earlier this year following accusations of domestic violence.
Grazia understands Mel worked closely with La-based family lawyer Sean Collinson, who acted as chief negotiator in the settlement. It came after the former Spice Girl made an ‘eleventh hour’ change to her legal team just days before the case was set to be heard – to the shock of many in the Hollywood legal profession.
Concerned friends and family had apparently advised the singer to engage a team of legal mediators to pull the plug on the case before Belafonte’s library of pornographic sex tapes was shown in court ( he won the right to submit the videos as evidence in September). The settlement also followed a warning from Judge Mark Juhas last week that the singer could be jailed for contempt. The court case was delayed yet again due to Mel being absent from court (she was filming in Australia at the time). ‘Everyone is at a loss as to why Mel has settled like this,’ said an insider. ‘Her reputation has been tarnished irreversibly by their divorce battle and stories of domestic abuse. Those close to her are wondering why she didn’t just settle at the start and avoid the explosive details of her private life becoming public knowledge. ‘She has allowed all of this to come out and, worst of all, Stephen will still receive a huge amount of money from her.’ In the past seven months, Mel has claimed she suffered domestic violence and alleged Stephen blew her £38m fortune (he said she spent it). He accused her of drug and alcohol abuse and of taking part in threesomes with their ex-nanny, Lorraine Gilles. ‘ This divorce has been spectacularly damaging for Mel,’ said a source. ‘So far, her legal costs have been running up to £1m and she was already paying Stephen £35,000 a month and she is facing a huge bill for going to court. Mel will be counting the cost of this case for years to come. In America, it’s never really about justice, it’s always just about money. It’s an expensive lesson to learn.’
Mel and Stephen (right) arrive at one of their court hearings