It has been a tough year for former Spice Girl Mel B, who filed for divorce from Stephen Belefonte after almost ten years of marriage. In April, Stephen responded to the divorce petition, seeking spousal support from Mel and a request for her to cover his legal fees. Now a report by US news website TMZ reveals that an LA judge has ruled Mel must pay her estranged husband $40,000 (£30,553) a month to cover his living costs including food and housing until a divorce settlement is reached. The court order also reportedly reveals that the singer is required to pay $140,000 (£106,935) for Stephen’s legal fees. The pair are parents to daughter Madison, age five.
Mel B with her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte
The news will surely come as a blow to Mel, who filed a restraining order against Stephen in April. In her official documents, she alleged a litany of abuse had taken place throughout their marriage, and said she had tried to leave her partner on a number of occasions. She said: "[He] threatened me with violence and threatened to destroy my life in every possible way." And last month, reports revealed that Mel may be experiencing financial worries herself, after a court hearing showed one of her bank accounts to contain just £961.
On Saturday, the Mail Online reported on the latest court order by Judge Riff. The judge reportedly wrote: 'The Court has considered carefully Brown's allegations... that she suffered serious, debilitating abuse at the hands of Belafonte resulting in bodily injury and profound emotional distress.' However, the judge said Stephen had denied the allegations, and that neither side amounted to evidence. He concluded: “Belafonte's request for temporary Spousal Support is granted.”
Mel B in the Spice Girls
Mel and Stephen’s marriage came under the spotlight in late 2014 when she was hospitalised for two days and then appeared on the final of The X Factor with what appeared to be bruises. Former judge Sharon Osbourne has since recalled working with Mel on the show. "Three years ago, in the final two days of X Factor, she didn't make the first day and she was in hospital," Sharon said on The Talk. "And it was reported in all the papers that said 'allegedly' she's been beaten by her husband. And she came back for the final day and she had a black eye and bruising everywhere, but she made the final."