Mel B’s daugh­ter Phoenix opens up about her “con­trol­ling” step­dad Stephen Be­la­fonte

The Spice Girl’s daugh­ter speaks out against her abu­sive ex-step­dad he had a fiercely ac­ri­mo­nious split from hus­band Stephen Be­la­fonte last year, amid al­le­ga­tions of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, fi­nan­cial ex­ploita­tion and black­mail. But Mel B’s ten-year mar­riage be

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‘I couldn’t talk to Mum. Some­one who looked like her was in her body’

years old and I’d wo­ken up to the fact that life can just sud­denly turn into a pile of crap. I’d had it so good for years. I had this amaz­ing, funny, strong mother. I had this great fam­ily in Leeds, I had a dad who was my best friend… And then it was like some­one just switched the chan­nel to this to­tal shit storm, The Stephen Show. He was like a kid – a big­ger, sneakier kid.”

She also re­vealed, “He would start scream­ing about things like me leav­ing food, and go so bal­lis­tic, it was as if I’d com­mit­ted a crime. I couldn’t talk to my mum — some­one else who looked like her was in her body. She be­lieved ev­ery word he said. She loved him. Maybe I had to suck it up? I didn’t want to ruin it for her.”

Re­mem­ber­ing the time she found a gun in their LA man­sion – de­spite Stephen be­ing pro­hib­ited from own­ing a firearm due to a pre­vi­ous do­mes­tic vi­o­lence con­vic­tion – Phoenix de­scribed how telling her grandma about the dis­cov­ery led her step­dad to cut An­drea out of their lives. She added, “Ev­ery time I saw my dad, there was a drama…i never re­ally got to see my dad again for what seemed like for­ever.”

As if Phoenix’s rev­e­la­tions weren’t enough, An­drea de­scribed events that led to her eight-year es­trange­ment from her daugh­ter and grand­kids – the ma­jor­ity of the mar­riage. She told how Stephen hit the roof when she voiced her con­cerns over his be­hav­iour.

“His words were un­be­liev­able. ‘You f**king c***, you f**king trash whore… you will never see your grand­chil­dren again,’” she re­vealed. “I’d never felt that words could be like weapons be­fore. So many of them hit­ting me like bul­lets… By the morn­ing, all my emails had bounced back – the email ad­dress had been erased. We got a mes­sage from Me­lanie’s mo­bile, ‘This mo­bile num­ber is no longer in use.’”

At the same time that her old­est daugh­ter and her mother spoke out in pub­lic, Mel, 43, made her own har­row­ing ad­mis­sions in ex­cerpts from her up­com­ing au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Bru­tally Hon­est, con­fess­ing to snort­ing six lines of co­caine while work­ing as a judge on The X Fac­tor in 2014, as a way to cope with the abuse she faced at home, and hav­ing three­somes (some of which were be­ing filmed, un­be­known to her) to ap­pease her con­trol­ling ex. She added that the rea­son she’d turned up to the fi­nale cov­ered in bruises was be­cause, days ear­lier, she’d tried to take her own life.

In the book, Mel de­scribes the mo­ment she fi­nally left her ex last year, say­ing, “I walked away with noth­ing but suit­cases full of clothes, books and toys. I didn’t care. I was happy. My kids were happy. Af­ter ten years, I was free.”

For his part, Stephen de­nied Mel’s claims of abuse when they first split in April 2017, with his lawyers call­ing it “noth­ing more than a smear cam­paign”. He hasn’t pub­licly com­mented on the most re­cent al­le­ga­tions. ■

Stephen: ac­cused of be­ing con­trol­ling

With Stephen and her daugh­ters An­gel, Madi­son and Phoenix in 2015 Mel and her mum An­drea

She ad­mit­ted to tak­ing coke dur­ing her time work­ing on The X Fac­tor in 2014

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