English singer Melanie Janine Brown, popularly known as Mel B, and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte (no relation to singer Harry Belafonte) always claimed to have a special bond in front of the media and their fans.
The close friends painted a picture of a happily married couple, lost in each other.... That facade shattered into a million pieces when the English singer obtained a restraining order against her film producer husband, claiming domestic violence.
And then the tapestry unravelled, one steamy thread at a time: The mother of three shared several shocking incidents: from abuse to threesomes and lesbian romps in public loos. Around teh world curtain twitched and ears snuggled up to the grapevine.
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Here is a look at the 10-year relationship between Mel B and Stephen Belafonte:
Dating and marriage: Scary Spice met her Stephen during the filming of the movie Talk, in February 2007. The couple dated for five months before getting married clandestinely on June 6, the same year.
They renewed the vows for their family and friends on November 8, 2008. Three years later, the couple welcomed their first child, Madison Brown Belafonte.
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Throughout their marriage, the English singer defended her husband against statements made by his ex wife Nicole Contreras, who claimed he was abusive. "They're trying to make him out to be this aggressive, violent, woman batterer and he's not," Mel B said in an interview with Hello! magazine.
Although after the bubble burst, Mel B claimed — in her statement filed in court— that her husband was an "extremely aggressive, hostile and violent individual".
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Obsession with sex and open marriage: The two have never been shy of talking about their sex life in public, but they have dismissed rumours about having an open marriage.
Mel B once stated that there is no harm in talking about sex, especially with a life partner. "Everyone has sex. I mean, I am not talking about it with just anybody, but especially your partner you should be able to feel free to talk about that stuff," the singer said during an interview.
The couple also posed naked for a photoshoot for Cosmopolitan magazine, which aimed at raising breast cancer awareness for charity. They even talked about how they have sex at work and said, "Me and my husband are executive producers on the show so we just send everyone on breaks. We say: 'Off you go, get out!'"
However, people close to them, including family members never believed their claims about a happy married life. Belafonte's brother Jeremiah did not just open about his brother's obsession with sex, but also warned Mel B about his violent nature.
"I know Steve – he's cold, he's hard and he's violent. He loves money. Mel should look after her inner health — and that will never happen around Steve. She should get help. He will destroy her," he said while addressing the media.
Even in the court documents filed to obtain the restraining order, the singer claimed that the Belafonte forced her to "'participate in sexual intercourse with him and random women". The former Spice Girl also claimed that he use to threaten her that he would release sex tapes of them if she "tried to resist threesomes".
Praise for each other amid allegations of domestic violence: The first allegation of domestic violence against Belafonte was raised after his 41-year-old wife appeared with bruises on her face for the finale of The X-Factor UK in December 2014.
When Twitter was flooded with backlash against him, he was forced to deny the allegation and he addressed the issue with a statement on social media.
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
"I don't usually respond to Twitter messages but I will respond to comments of hitting my wife which I think are quite disgusting untrue!," Belafonte wrote, adding, "Who accused me of it, did she accuse me of it, the police, the hospital, who accused me of it?. I thought when you beat someone up the police or the hospital or the person you beat up says it."
Mel was very ill a bunch of doctors helped her get better if fans can't just relax B4 being negative they r not real fans of @OfficialMelB— Stephen Belafonte (@Stephenthinks1) December 15, 2014
In an interview, the Mel B's baby daddy even stated, "I love my wife. I care about my wife. I'd take a bullet for her."
The English singer defnded her Belafonte, and said, "Me and my husband are madly in love. Pls don't believe what you read it's all lies lies lies as usual." While addressing the media, the mother of three also added, "No, my husband didn't hit me. No, I didn't get held hostage."
However, the singer claimed in a court document that the physical and psychological abuse from Belafonte dated back to the first year of their marriage.
"Respondent's name is Stephen Stansbury, but he often goes by the alias Stephen Belafonte. At the time of our marriage, I was unaware that 'Belafonte' was not Respondent's legal surname, nor was I aware that he was previously married," she added.
Lesbian Romps and nanny's pregnancy: Mel B never denied allegations about her relationships with other women. Apart from opening up about her four-year-old relationship with a woman, the singer also revealed that she was not really worried what people thought of her.
"People call me lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, but I know who's in my bed and that's it. I have a huge libido and a great sex life," she said adding, "But I've been very happily married for seven years to a penis. Ha ha! An amazing guy."
Belafonte, however, has always denied accusations about relationships with other women. When he was caught on camera with nanny Lorraine Gilles in Los Angeles, he denied all speculation about their relationship.
"I'm not staying with the nanny in LA but she had to come as I was on a business class ticket and there were no other tickets for Madison. Our nanny is the best nanny in the world," he said.
But Mel B explained through a court document why her estranged husband thinks their nanny is the best. She claimed that he used to have a physical relationship with her and even got her pregnant.
"I was shocked and in disbelief. Respondent later demanded that [the nanny] have an abortion. Respondent used money earned by me to pay for Lorraine's abortion, and he used money earned by me to pay for [the nanny]'s hotel stay while she recuperated," she stated.
Here is how Belafonte responded to the allegations raised against him by Mel B (via TMZ):
"I haven't heard these allegations. You know what my comment on this is, as this is the mother of my children? I'm really really distraught my brain (sic) how this is going to affect our children. and the depths that she's gone to. That's it. I'm shocked at those allegations and that's what it is.
I think someone's set me up to look like a bad guy. Obviously you saw my house got raided and nobody found anything. It's accusation after accusation. But we'll have our day in court. And we have children. If anyone knows our children, we have beautiful children. They're on social media. Why do this?
We were friends two weeks ago. And now all of a sudden the team gets around and now it's got to be this."