Mel B's Estranged Husband Stephen Belafonte Breaks Silence on Shocking Abuse Allegations
By Antoinette Bueno
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Mel B's estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, is denying the America's Got Talent judge's allegations that he was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her during their nearly 10-year marriage.
Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, was granted a restraining order against Belafonte on Monday. In court papers obtained by ET, she claimed she was in "fear of her safety" and that of her children -- 5-year-old Madison, whom she shares with Belafonte, as well as her two daughters from previous relationships, Phoenix and Angel. ET has reached out to 41-year-old Brown for comment, though she has not responded as of press time.
"What matters most to Mr. Belafonte is the safety and well-being of his daughters and step-daughters," Belafonte's lawyers told ET in a statement on Wednesday. "It's a shame that Ms. Brown elected not to proceed in a respectful and amicable fashion in this very private matter. In due course, Mr. Belafonte will be filing his response to the outrageous and unfounded allegations made by Ms. Brown, which allegations he vehemently denies."
"When the Court determines the truth, it will become clear that this entire charade was nothing more than a smear campaign intended to cover up Ms. Brown's own conduct during the marriage in light of her current involvement with a family television show, and in an effort to unfairly gain leverage both financially and with respect to custody of the children," the statement continues. "When the degree to which Ms. Brown has gone to create a false depiction of her marriage to Mr. Belafonte is uncovered, real victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse will be understandably offended, angry and upset."
Belafonte's lawyers also said their client is "confident that the truth will come out," and requested privacy for both him and his children during this "challenging time."
"Mr. Belafonte is confident that the truth will come out when he has his day in court at which time he looks forward to being reunited with his children," the statement reads.
On Monday, a judge ordered 41-year-old Belafonte to move out of their family home in Hollywood Hills, California, immediately, and to stay 100 yards away from Brown and her three children until the next hearing on April 24. Brown was also granted legal and physical custody of Madison, and Belafonte was not granted visitation.
Brown filed for divorce from Belafonte in March. A source close to the former Spice Girl told ET on Wednesday that members of her inner circle are happy about the split, and claimed that Belafonte "controlled Mel's life."
"Thank God she got away," the source said. "Mel's friends are shocked that it took her this long to finally leave him, but are so relieved that it happened. Everyone is so proud that she finally had the courage to leave him."
"Mel never told friends just how bad the abuse was but everyone knew how scared of him she really was," the source claimed.
However, another source denied Brown's allegations in court papers, including that Belafonte got their younger nanny, Lorraine Gilles, pregnant -- and that he told her he wanted to have the baby and "all three of us live together" -- before ultimately demanding the nanny get an abortion.
"None of it's true. It's all lies," the source claimed. "I know he didn't [get her pregnant.] It's fake."
"I've always found him to be a very nice guy," the source also said of Belafonte. "Whenever they were together he was a loving, doting guy, so this is all kind of crazy."
Watch the video below for more on Brown and Belafonte's split.