Leeds' Mel B opens up about domestic abuse hell on Good Morning Britain as she releases powerful Women's Aid film
Leeds' Mel B has opened up about her experiences of domestic abuse on Good Morning Britain (GMB).
The former Spice Girl spoke candidly about her past relationship in a bid to help other people recognise the signs of abuse.
It comes as she joined with Women’s Aid to create short film 'Love Should Not Hurt' exploring domestic violence through dance.
The video, which is directed by and features the music of composer Fabio D’Andrea, sees the Spice Girls star recreating a woman’s escape from an abusive relationship and was inspired by the stories she has heard while a patron of the charity.
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Speaking on GMB, Mel, who grew up in Kirkstall as Melanie Brown, said: "We really wanted to highlight how it can just escalate very, very quickly to you feeling trapped and very alone.
"It doesn't happen immediately, it happens over time.
"It can take months, years for that abuser to get inside your brain that you think, like I did, that its normal to not have my phone or cash or a credit card one me because I was told I 'lose things'.
"Everything was justifiable."
Presenter Susanna Reid said: "I think a lot of people in these sorts of relationships will listen to what you are saying and start to recognise that perhaps they're in a relationship that they can perhaps gain the courage to get out of."
In response, Mel said: "I think you know, but you just don't know how to get out or how to deal with it, especially if there's children involved, you feel responsible that you're children have seen or heard things and I am saying we need to lift that shame."
Mel B, known for her Scary Spice persona, split from producer ex-husband Stephen Belafonte in 2018 after a decade.
She claimed in her 2018 memoir Brutally Honest that she had suffered abuse – allegations Belafonte has repeatedly denied.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian from her home in Leeds, where she lives with her mum Andrea and eldest daughters, she revealed that at times she thought Belafonte would kill her, and other times when she felt suicidal.
Married to Belafonte for 10 years, Mel said that she felt no one would understand how she got into the situation.
However, it was meeting with other abuse survivors at a refuge in Leeds which showed her that she was not alone.
She said: "There were around 20 women sitting cross-legged on the floor and we all told our story. I told mine, then one woman went: ‘Oh my God, I went through the same thing. He took my car keys away on week three.’ We all had exactly the same story.”
The Women's Aid video for Love Should Not Hurt (A Flat Minor) is available on YouTube now.
Mel B described the video as “brutal and disturbing” but said it was important to highlight the issue.
Speaking about the short film, Mel B said: “I’m so incredibly proud to be part of this project which means so much to me because this is a collaboration of three things that are so important in my life. Music, dance and a way to highlight the ever increasing issue of violence towards women.
“It seems strange to say I am proud of showing something so brutal and disturbing but it is my mission to raise awareness of something so many women go through every day, every week, every month of their lives.
“I have had my own experiences of abusive relationships but as patron of Women’s Aid I have spoken to so many other women, listened to what they have gone through and I know how very real the danger is to so many women out there and I’m not going to stop breaking the silence and the shame around this subject because it’s too much and we have to stand up and do something.
“This performance represents the stories and the experiences of those women I have met, spoken to or heard about.
“My heart breaks for every single woman and child who suffers from some form of domestic abuse. I want this to count for all victims of abuse. I want to help raise awareness, raise money and do anything I can to put a stop to this epidemic.”
The video is part of a series by D’Andrea that has also included actor Russell Tovey highlighting issues around fame and mental health.
D’Andrea said: “So much can be communicated via the arts that cannot be in other ways. We all hope this video can connect with as many people as possible.
“Domestic violence exists in every section of society but we rarely hear about it. This music and this video aims to change that.
“This video performance represents the stories and the experiences of many, many women. It is very real, very raw.”
Teresa Parker, head of communications for Women’s Aid, said: “Specialist services, such as those run by Women’s Aid nationally and the local services run by our members all around the country, truly help to save lives.
“We are asking everyone to share this important video, to help us raise awareness, and if you can consider donating to Women’s Aid or your local domestic abuse service to make sure that women fleeing abuse, like the woman that Melanie is playing in the video, are able to access the help and support that they urgently need.”