Stephen Belafonte is refusing to allow his ex-wife and America's Got Talent host Mel B to retain custody of the couple's two children, Madison and Angel, claiming that she has a crippling alcohol addiction that would create a destructive environment for the kids, according to reports from TMZ.
Belafonte made these claims in court on Friday, armed with documentation of Mel B's destructive behavior, including statements and accounts from some of her closest associates. Mel B was also present as Belafonte laid out his case, and she was noticeably sweating throughout the hearing.
Among the documentation that Belafonte provided includes information provided by Russell Updegraff, a friend of the family who claims that he's had the responsibility of watching the two children thrust upon him with alarming regularity due to Mel B's lifestyle, which he believes is dictated by a profound drinking problem.
TMZ reports Updegraff accused Mel B of drinking alcohol throughout the day, beginning as early as 10:00 a.m., with the strength of the alcohol consumed increasing as the day goes on. For example, Updegraff alleges that a morning for Mel B would consist of beer, which would eventually move into wine before settling on hard liquor, often of the vodka, tequila, and gin variety. Throughout the day Mel B would pass out in a drunken stupor, only to wake up later more angry and belligerent than she was before.Updegraff specifically recounted a time when Mel B sent him to pick up alcohol. Mel B's order consisted of 12 bottles of wine, two bottles of vodka and one to two 12-packs of beer, which Updegraff acquired. By his account, the entirety of that purchase was gone within five days.
Updegraff spoke about his experience with her children who he described as scared and stressed. Updegraff accused Mel B of being physically abusive to the older daughter Angel, specifically saying she would dig her nails into her, grab her and shake her.
He also claimed that Mel B uses cocaine, even though her alcoholism is the more destructive aspect of her lifestyle. Mel b would also leave her home for up to two weeks at a time, while never checking in on her children. Accusations also included Mel B bringing various men home regularly, while her children are present. Updegraff personally recalled an occasion where he had to step in and stop things when an unfamiliar man tried to bring her daughter Madison into the shower.
Belafonte claims that he only wants temporary custody for a period so that Mel B can go to rehab and focus on her sobriety. He does not want sole custody, but fears for the situation that the children are currently in and cannot let it continue.
The judge will make a ruling later today.