OK! brings you an exclusive extract from Spice Girl Mel B’s explosive new book
OK! BRINGS YOU AN EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM THE SPICE GIRL’S EXPLOSIVE NEW BOOK
As a child I was called ‘The Wind’, but to Eddie [Murphy] I was ‘The Whirlwind’. The first day that I went to his house, I shouted, ‘I’m here, where are you?’ and then ran through his beautiful, pristine mansion, and ran around the garden, jumping onto the steps of the swimming pool, listening to my loud voice echo through the giant building. ‘I’m here, where are you?’ he yelled back. ‘Come and find me,’ I hollered back from the top of a giant Gone with the Wind sweeping staircase.
‘Er, excuse me, madam.’ A guy with a seriously anxious expression came running out of a room. ‘Mr Murphy doesn’t like anyone making loud noises,’ he said. ‘Melanie, I can’t see you,’ came Eddie’s voice, bellowing from a room downstairs. ‘I think he does now,’ I said to the man who turned out to be a member of his household staff. And I ran down the stairs, yelling, ‘I’m here,’ before sprinting through another doorway and being chased by Eddie, who was laughing. Right from the get-go we were like two little excitable kids.
His place was gobsmackingly incredible. In the foyer, there was a glass roof and a button you pushed to make the whole ceiling open up. There was a tiny, perfect Wendy house in the playroom, and a vast
jacuzzi which I later discovered he’d never even been in. After a couple of days, I made him get in it. Naked.
I sat in the kids’ teeny Wendy house with [my daughter] Phoenix. Then I asked Eddie if the following day I could have a proper English afternoon tea with his kids in the Wendy house. I arrived in the afternoon to mountains of scones, jam (or ‘jelly’ as it’s called in America) and sandwiches. His cook must have had one hell of a job on her hands finding out exactly how to make everything, as she’d never even heard of a scone. And there were huge pots of tea (Yorkshire tea) in china teapots that looked like they had been specially bought for the occasion. ‘Is this everything you wanted?’ he asked. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I need you to bring it to the Wendy house.’ I got him to crouch down and join us, scoffing cucumber sandwiches and munching on the jam-covered scones.
Phoenix – who came everywhere with
me – loved being with his kids and having this children’s paradise to explore. We’d spend days playing and having fun.
Eddie actually listened to everything I said – something that took me by surprise because so many guys I have dated never took much notice of what I said. I remember when I went into his gym for the first time. It was like some state-of-the-art gym that an Olympic athlete would use. Here was a problem, though. ‘ You’ve got terrible music on your workout playlist,’ I said. The next time I went in there, every playlist had been changed, and all this ’90s music I loved was booming from the speakers. I was switching things up!
‘Melanie,’ Eddie told me after the first day we spent together, ‘I gotta let you know; you really make me laugh.’ I was chuffed to bits. I made the world-famous comedian Eddie Murphy laugh. Eddie had a plan for our relationship right from the start. He doesn’t like surprises; he doesn’t like disorder; he likes to know what’s coming and when. That’s why he’s such a brilliant comedian. All those seemingly impromptu, mad performances are painstakingly constructed, second by second. No mistakes. All great comedians are like this. Nothing is left to chance.
In that six weeks all we did was kiss, cuddle and have fun. We had a proper ‘traditional’ courtship because Eddie is old-fashioned. He was constantly telling me to slow down. ‘I want to know all about you, and I want you to know all about me,’ he said. ‘Well, what bit don’t you know?’ I laughed. ‘I’m Mel B, Scary Spice, and you’re Eddie Murphy.’ He shook his head. ‘But that’s not who we ARE, Melanie. You know that.’
It takes me a while to drop my loud front, which I have always used as my protective armour. Geri used to call our Spice personas (Posh, Scary, Ginger, Sporty and Baby) our ‘Batman suits’, because we could hide behind them. I will always make jokes, laugh and be loud, partly because I actually like to have a laugh, partly because I’m a Northern girl who tries not to take life too seriously, and partly because it gives me time to work out whether I can trust someone enough to open up to them. ‘Tell me about your family,’ Eddie would say as we sat around his pool, having iced tea and bagels with cheese and mayo (strangely I started craving these again as soon as I left Stephen) brought to us by a member of staff.
I’d tell him about working in a jeans shop in Leeds – funnily enough it was called Trading Places, which is the name of one of his most famous films – about my dad working in a factory, about my days dancing at the Horseshoe in Blackpool when I was sixteen, where we’d have money docked for coming onstage late or having a rip in our tights. Sometimes he’d laugh, sometimes he’d ask me to repeat things. He would run through the names of all my mum’s four sisters: ‘Sheila, June, Di, Pamela.’ He barely asked any questions about the Spice Girls. He was more interested in the prizes I’d won for Sports Day at school than the Brit Awards I’d won with the girls.
He’d play old Elvis movies and films like Blazing Saddles, which starred his hero Richard Pryor. (‘ You haven’t seen this, Melanie. You have to watch this.’) He liked to talk about why a film was ‘a classic’, and what made a great director and writer. I would sit and listen, entranced. He’d talk about the movie business and his childhood in the projects in New York, living in foster care with his older brother, Charlie, when his mum was ill.
He was fascinating to me. He’d had a life I could and couldn’t imagine. His real dad had walked out on him when he was three, and had later been stabbed and killed by a girlfriend. His mum had married a guy called Vernon Lynch, the stepfather he adored.
Eddie was all about family. His beautiful brother Charlie, who sadly passed away in 2017, was his closest friend because they’d done everything together. He bounced all his ideas off Charlie, who was also a gifted comedian and writer. But Eddie also needed space to think. We’d have discussions about God and
spirituality. I don’t think there was anything we didn’t talk about. I felt completely safe with him.
His kingdom was magical. You’d walk into one room and Stevie Wonder would be there playing on a piano. I spent hours talking to Stevie about music, and he knew lots about the Spice Girls, which surprised me. Stevie and I would sit and hold hands because that is the way he connects with people, and we’d drink tequila shots together. But then everything and everyone at Eddie’s was a surprise.
Denzel Washington was another regular at Eddie’s. He was someone I was totally in awe of until one night he knocked on our bedroom door (this was months later, when we actually made it to bed) drunk as a lord and talked and joked for hours like one of my uncles after a night out – he even tried to crash out in the bed with us, because he could barely move.
Eddie had an amazing chef, and every evening at 6pm there would be a huge buffet, and tons of people would appear and sit around the house eating. The more time we spent together, the more it became apparent to both of us that we had something incredibly special. Despite the age difference, there was something so young and innocent about our relationship. And like a couple of kids, we spent hours working out when to take our relationship to the next level.
We finally decided it would happen about six weeks after we met, and I was unbelievably excited. I remember going out and buying some green see-through underwear embroidered with cherries, putting it on and making jokes about popping my cherry. When it came to it, I felt more shy and nervous than anything else. It was like poetry, every touch, every kiss, every sense was out of this world. We were completely besotted with each other.
This is an edited extract from Brutally Honest by Melanie Brown with Louise Gannon (Quadrille, $29.99) Available in stores nationally now. ‘HE EVEN TRIED TO CRASH IN THE BED WITH US’