As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on’ X Factor’ and ‘America's Got Talent’, Melanie Brown, more popularly known as Mel B, is ‘Brutally
As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on’ X Factor’ and ‘America’s Got Talent’, Melanie Brown, more popularly known as Mel B, is ‘Brutally Honest’ is an exposé of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and her success. The memoir reveals the true story behind the Spice Girls, as well as the horror of her most recent marriage with ex husband, Stephan Belafonteand her 10 year struggle to be free. From its opening description of a suicide attempt in 2014, through her raw and unsparing account of the horrifying coercive control she suffered from her ex, to her reflections on relationships with the Spice Girls, ‘Brutally Honest’ lives up to its name.
Here are five takeaways from the book, Brutally Honest.
On her relationship with Eddie Murphy
She described their relationship with the comic actor as almost overwhelming in how much she felt for him all at once. “I never felt so loved I felt I had known this man all my life and that I was staring at my destiny in his face. What had started out as a thunderbolts in his kitchen turned into the most beautiful, nurturing and loving relationship of my life.”
Yet, after the birth of their daughter, Angel, Mel B said she went into shutdown and pushed Eddie out of her life for a few days to figure things out. It was shortly after this that the comedian revealed their relationship status and even said he wasn’t sure the baby was his.
“It was like a hammer blow to my heart. It was completely out of character for him to say something so damning and nasty about someone he loved. The question ‘Why?’ has haunted me for more than a decade.”
It was shortly after things ended between her and Eddie Murphy that she met and married Stephan Belafonte and despite claiming in her 2017 divorce to him that he forced threesomes in their relationship, it was Mel who invited a third party into their bedroom during their marriage because according to her, she found women’s bodies so much more beautiful than men’s bodies. She admitted to having enjoyed relationships with men and women and is proud of her sexualitiy and love of sex. She added that she was in “a beautiful, loving, five-year relationship with a woman” prior to dating Eddie Murphy.
Mel admitted that she reached a point in her life during filming of ‘The X Factor,’ and while married to Belafonte, that she was ‘probably taking five or six lines’ of cocaine a day. As the weeks of filming progressed, though, she said she found herself doing it more and more to stave off depression.
“I didn’t want all the crap in my life to get in the way of the job I wanted to do, and knew, I was doing really well. So, as insane as it may sound, my quick fix answer was cocaine,” she wrote.
Describing it as the saddest moment of her life, Mel B wasn’t referring to her suicide attempt while married to Stephen Belafonte, but rather the aftermath when she woke in the hospital to see her teenage daughter, Pheonix, looking down at her. According to Mel, she was feeling overwhelmed and emotionally battered in her personal life, while putting on a “sham” for the public.
“Behind the glitter of fame, I felt emotionally battered, estranged from my family. I felt ugly and detested by the very man who once promised to love and protect me, my husband and manager, Stephen.”
And so she opted to try and kill herself by overdosing on 200 aspirin shortly before the 2014 “X Factor” finals in London. She later said that she returned to work in time for the finals, against doctors’ orders.
It was shortly after her suicide attempt that Mel first tried to leave her husband, but a psychiatrist warned her that Stephen could have her children taken from her due to her overdose suicide attempt. And so instead, she agreed to drop domestic violence charges against him in exchange for him not showing 65 sex tapes he’d made in open court, thus putting them into the public domain. According to Mel, she doesn’t remember many of the experiences documented on Belafonte’s tapes. “Looking back now, that was a deal I regret,” Mel admitted in her book.
She described him as controlling in almost every way, checking up on her constantly and even manipulating her sense of self-worth.
In all, Brutally Honest is dedicated to all women who have ever been controlled, put down, cheated on, abused, shamed, lied to, used, treated like the eternal underdog and had their spirit and self-esteem completely snatched away’. It ends with a list of 15 signs of domestic abuse.