The last thing Spice Girls alum and America’s Got Talent judge Melanie Brown, or Mel B if you want (if you really, really want) to note her as, is probably feeling from her soon-to-be ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, is love, but I hope she’s feeling lots of it regardless.
Not from that alleged jerk, obviously, but from fans like me — little ol’, still-enamored-with-all-things-zig-a-zig-ah me, who has loudly and proudly rooted for the entertainment icon, 41, to kick her TMZ–reported philandering and domestically-violent soon-to-be former beau, also 41, to the curb since well before her currently-pending divorce proceedings hit the media.
In fact, I’ve wanted him gone from the moment I first heard of the supposed physical assault that landed Mel in the hospital back in December of 2014, right as the finale of that year’s X-Factor U.K. was rolling around.
You know, the one The Sun publicized as a “mysterious illness” that left Mel with bruises all over her body once she returned back to the music competition days later, noticeably gaunt both physically and emotionally? Yeah, that moment.
“I don’t usually respond to Twitter messages,” a defiant Belafonte would fire back on the dark claim, as the Daily Mail shared, “but I will respond to comments of hitting my wife which I think are quite [disgustingly] true!”
They always defend themselves that way, but I temporarily digress.
Additionally, Mel’s own mother, Andrea, by way of her other daughter, Danielle, would go on to admit that she couldn’t even get in contact with her eldest daughter following the terrifying incident.
“You told me and my mum yesterday [that] she [was] fine and not in hospital,” Danielle tweeted to Stephen as a separate Daily Mail article transcribed, “and that [fellow X-Factor judge] Simon Cowell was doing [damage control]. Now, you say she is sick [again].”
“Where is my sister,” she strongly inquired, “[and] what have you done to her?”
That right there, incidentally, was personally all that I ever needed to know to understand that the possible falsehood was wholly true, but the thing is I also knew that despite the outcry of concern from Mel B’s family, as well as her fans, none of us would ever get a proper, honest answer as to what Stephen may have done, mostly because of the rumored act itself.
As strong, loud, and proud as so many of us 90s kids may remember Melanie Janine Brown as being (as still is, by the way!), if the whispers were true, then she was a domestic violence victim and as I’m sure many of us understand, no matter how much it pains us to fully realize or admit it, only Melanie Brown, Mel B, “Scary Spice,” or whatever you choose to call her, would be the one break the cycle and make the moves needed to get herself as far away as humanly possible from Stephen Belafonte.
Without breaking too many past confidences from personal confidantes, I have physically bore witness to more than one of my friends being abused both physically and emotionally by past and present lovers; and each time that I’ve stepped in, also either physically or emotionally, the matter has always ended the same: they both stayed with their lover and ceased being my friend, all in one fell swoop.
At first, I couldn’t begin to fathom just how my defense of someone’s life could somehow led to them leaving mine altogether, but that all changed one day when one close friend in particular, who ultimately moved on from her past violent relationship and married a wonderful man who has also become a very good friend of mine, sat me down to explain her mind frame during the course of her old courtship and paraphrased the following.
“Yours or anyone else’s love for me couldn’t save me from that. Only I could save myself from him. I had to love me more than you loved me.”
It has never been an easy line to accept, especially since I’ve been known in my hey-and-now day to be somewhat of a protector of those who are close to my heart, but I also knew that she told no lies: Like everything else tough in life, the only way to persevere through dark times is to first want to persevere through those times, and only you can know when you’re ready to do so, no one else and regrettably, that’s not always the case in domestic violence situations.
If certain stories are to be believed, then Mel B is lucky, but her life will also be forever altered, thanks to walking down the aisle with Stephen Belafonte in 2007, but at least she still has a life to live and we should all be mindful of her current frame of mind and heart these coming days. May your inner “girl power” continue to protect you, Melanie. We’re so very proud of you, (Spice) girl.
[Featured Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]