United States of America (ET)- EXCLUSIVE: Mel B Responds to Estranged Husband’s Drug Abuse Accusations: ‘I Refuse to Be a Victim’: Mel B is speaking out after her estranged husband, Stephen Belafonte, filed court papers on Sept. 1 asking for stepparent visitation with her 10-year-old daughter, Angel. Angel’s biological father is actor Eddie Murphy. Mel B — whose real name is Melanie Brown — also has a teenage daughter, Phoenix, with ex-husband Jimmy Gulzar, and 6-year-old daughter Madison with Belafonte. In the court papers obtained by ET, Belafonte claims that after his and Brown’s separation, he feared for the children’s safety, claiming that the 42-year-old America’s Got Talent judge has an alcohol and cocaine addiction.
In an exclusive statement to ET on Thursday, Brown said she trusts the legal process “to show the truth.” “I have remained silent these past six months for the sake of my children,” the statement reads. “I refuse to be a victim any longer and trust the legal process to show the truth.”
Belafonte claims in his filing that Angel has only spent time with Murphy twice. He also claims that Angel had no idea that he was not her biological father until after he and Brown separated.
“Angel has called Respondent ‘dad’ since Angel began to speak,” the court papers claim.
Belafonte claims he and Brown initially made arrangements allowing him to maintain frequent and continuous visitation with both Angel and Madison, and that they had an intermediary — Dr. Charles Sophy — present at a meeting where they explained their separation to the children. However, he says Brown “abruptly” took the children away from him the very next day — March 19 — and left their home. He claims he then texted both Brown and Sophy because he was concerned about the children.
“The biggest reason for my concern with respect to the safety of the children was due to Petitioner’s habitual and consistent addiction to and abuse of cocaine and alcohol,” Belafonte alleges in court papers. “To make matters worse, my fear for the children’s safety was amplified due to the fact the Petitioner had fired the children’s nanny, who had been in the children’s lives since 2010 and I did not want Petitioner using drugs and drinking around the children, especially without anyone else present to care for the children.”
“Petitioner’s drinking and drug abuse had been a major issue throughout our marriage, and was witnessed by the nanny, the children, and her own therapist, Dr. Sophy,” he continues to claim. “Simply put, this was a constant problem and issue in our marriage.”
Belafonte also provided alleged text messages between him, Brown and Sophy, in which Sophy writes that he [Sophy] came to an agreement with Brown “regarding any substance abuse and child safety.” According to the text messages, Sophy says Brown agreed to start taking medications and undergo random drug testing, beginning on March 19. Medications listed in the alleged text messages include a daily dose of Antabuse — an alcohol antagonist drug used to help prevent the user from drinking — to continue indefinitely, and a Vivitrol shot — injections used to prevent relapse in people who become dependent on opioid medication as well as to treat alcoholism — every 30 days. Brown would also be subjected to a “hair test” on a regular basis — not to exceed more than 60 days between each test — and random drug testing on a weekly basis.
“My intent and the purpose behind my request for stepparent visitation with Angel is to ensure that Angel is alright and knows that I have not abandoned her,” Belafonte also writes. “I miss Angel dearly, and I can assure that Angel misses me, and I do not want to lose the opportunity to spend quality time with her and continue to raise her.“
Brown filed for divorce from Belafonte in March after nearly 10 years of marriage. One month later, she was granted a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband, after alleging that he beat and threatened her throughout their marriage. “I desperately wanted to leave the relationship and tried to do so during our first year of marriage and every year thereafter,” Brown alleged in the court papers. “When I threatened to leave, [he] informed me he has videos of our sex life and other private moments. [He] would threaten that if I left, he would release the videos to the tabloids. I have lived the past decade in fear that [he] would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and my career.”
Belafonte has vehemently denied the allegations. “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 regarding the abuse allegations. “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.”