Mel B is “closer now” than ever to family members since her marriage split.
The Spice Girls star and “Wannabe” hitmaker reconciled with her younger sister Danielle and her mother Andrea in 2017 after a near 10-year estrangement caused by Mel’s ex-husband Stephen Belafonte, who through coercive control cut her off from her friends and family.
Since they reconnected, the sisters are determined to make up for the lost time, and one of the best things to come out of the reconciliation is that Mel and Danielle’s children have also become very close.
In a joint interview on UK TV show “This Morning,” Danielle said: “It’s up and down, it’s a roller coaster because it’s a 10-year gap of no contact at all, a lot has been said and done, but we’re good. It’s a healing process, and we’re probably closer now because of it … Our mum is over the moon, just to have her grandchildren and two daughters together. I felt like an only child for almost 10 years but now we’re back.”
Mel added: “I did get really angry because a lot of time has been lost and I’m trying to catch up, but we talk about it with my mum and Phoenix, who is 20. [My mum] is so happy.”
Mel — who as well as having daughter Phoenix with first husband Jimmy Gulzar also has 12-year-old daughter Angel with ex-lover Eddie Murphy and 7-year-old Madison with Belafonte — can vividly recall it was during the time that she and Belafonte renewed their wedding vows in 2008 that he finally succeeded in completely cutting her off from her mother and sister.
The singer — whose real name is Melanie Brown — said: “I was in a 10-year marriage, and it wasn’t the nicest marriage at all. I was very isolated, it was traumatic. I was in a coercive, not-very-nice relationship, and one of the things that happens is you get cut off. It was very emotionally traumatic.
“We were talking at the very beginning of the marriage … Because I lived in LA, my trips back to Leeds got less and less because my then-husband was very controlling and very mean that he did that to our family.
“During the wedding vows he was telling me to say, ‘I don’t want to have any contact with you,’ which isn’t even my words, to my mum and my sister. It was a thing of if I don’t say it like this, there’ll be a big fight, and I didn’t want it to keep happening even though it did for 10 years, so I had to pick my battles, and for me to be isolated from my family was a battle I always lost.”
Danielle claims she had seen Belafonte systematically push away everyone who was close with Mel and the last to go were her and their mother and their late dad Martin.