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Looking back at her relationship with Stephen Belafonte, the Spice Girls member recalls how her controlling ex-husband slowly isolated her away from her family without her realizing.
AceShowbiz -Singer Melanie Brown a.k.a. Mel B only wore white for a year after splitting from her now ex-husband Stephen Belafonte – because she “didn’t know” what colours she liked any more.
The Spice Girls star claims the producer was controlling and manipulative during their 10-year union, and would often insist on Mel wearing clothes of certain hues when they were together, so she overhauled her wardrobe following their separation.
She said, “For the first year when I left my ex, I would only wear white because I felt I was clearing myself of that [his control]. I didn’t even know what colour I liked any more because those choices were taken away from me for so long. And I just accepted it.”
The mother-of-three initially thought her then-husband was being “sweet” when he started buying clothes for her, but ultimately realised it was part of his controlling behaviour.
She told The Guardian newspaper, “It starts with tiny things. ‘Oh, don’t wear that dress – I’ve bought you this dress.’ It wasn’t like: ‘Put this dress on!’ It was: ‘Look what I’ve bought for you! I saw you looking at it on Net-a-Porter.’ And you think: ‘Oh my God, that’s so sweet!’ when actually they’re starting to take over everything.”
And the “Stop” singer explained how Belafonte slowly isolated her away from her family without her realising, “He’d say: ‘Why are you calling your mum today? Come on, let’s go out’,” she recalled. “Then you turn around and realise: ‘S**t, I used to call my mum every day; I haven’t spoken to her in a week!’ Then that becomes a month and two months.”
It was only when Mel began speaking to abuse victims in her native Leeds, England that she realised how common coercive control can be within relationships.
She said, “It’s like abusers have all read the same handbook. Before you know it you don’t have your own front door key, or you don’t even drive your own car any more. Those ‘privileges’ which we worked so hard to get – your nice car, your nice house – are slowly taken away from you. Your power is taken away and the only person you have to rely on is your abuser.”
Mel admits she ignored a warning from one of Belafonte’s previous partners about his behaviour when they were together.
“My then-husband said: ‘Oh, she’s crazy.’ And he was so convincing,” Mel shared. “I believed him over her. I was frightened to believe her.”
Following the couple’s split, Mel also accused Belafonte of abuse – accusations he has always denied.
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