Singer, Mel B, 45, has revealed how her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte allegedly used to control her wardrobe during their 10-year marriage.
Mel married Belafonte in June 2007 in Las Vegas and a year later they renewed their vows in front of family and friends in Egypt.
On September 1, 2011, Mel gave birth to their daughter Madison. She was already mum to daughters Phoenix, now 22, and Angel, now 13, from previous relationships.
In 2014, cracks began to emerge in their marriage after he was accused of physically assaulting her when she appeared on The X Factor UK’s live Sunday show with bruises and scratches to her face and arms.
She had previously been rushed to hospital a few days before causing her to miss the live X Factor show.
Mel filed for divorce in March 2017, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
She filed for a temporary restraining order from her estranged husband, too, over claims he beat and sexually exploited her.
Belafonte denied Mel’s allegations.
She has now revealed that at first she thought her ex was being ‘sweet’ when he bought clothes for her to wear not knowing it was part of his ”controlling behaviour. ”
The singer said she wore white as Stephen ‘took away her choices’ when it came to clothes
Speaking to The Guardian, she said: “For the first year when I left my ex, I would only wear white because I felt I was clearing myself of that.
“I didn’t even know what colour I liked any more because those choices were taken away from me for so long. And I just accepted it.”
‘It starts with tiny things. ‘Oh, don’t wear that dress – I’ve bought you this dress.’ ‘It wasn’t like: ‘Put this dress on!’ It was: ‘Look what I’ve bought for you! I saw you looking at it on Net-a-Porter.’
“And you think: ‘Oh my God, that’s so sweet!’ when actually they’re starting to take over everything.”
Mel also told how Stephen isolated her from her family without her realising, such as discouraging her from calling her mother who she would usually speak to on the phone everyday.
It was only when Mel began speaking to abuse victims in her hometown Leeds that she realised how common coercive control can be within relationships.
Mel’s new comments come after she described her marriage to Stephen as an “impossible situation”.
She said she did find the strength to leave him but found herself going back to him.
Mel, who is now a patron for domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid, said it was only the tragic experience of her father dying that made her walk away for good.
Speaking to ITV News, Mel said: “I lived in my situation for 10 years.
“I was married for 10 years and I did find the strength to leave, but then I ended up going back… it was just an impossible situation for me.”
She continued: “There was a lot going on behind the scenes and then when I finally left, it was when my father died.
“I finally had the courage to say, look no more. I left and it’s been nearly five years now, but it’s tough.
“I’ve got amazing support. Women’s Aid and my friends and my family…and it’s really helped me get through the darkest days.”
Mel has now made a film in collaboration with Women’s Aid about domestic abuse.
In her interview with ITV News, which is to promote it, the singer said: “When you are in that kind of relationship, it literally feels impossible to get out because you’re isolated.
“Some women don’t have access to their phones, even their finances.
“Like in my situation, you are completely cut off from a regular normal world. What becomes your normality is living in an abusive relationship with no way out, but there is help.”
She added: “I’ve been working with Women’s Aid now for two years and it has been just an emotional but cathartic experience, because I get to sit down with women and I get to share my story.
“I get to hear their stories and the stories are very similar. So it’s been very fulfilling for me and I’m honoured to have been asked to be patron of Women’s Aid too.”