Melanie Brown is an English singer, dancer, songwriter, TV personality and actress. Mel B who also goes by the moniker Scary Spice attained international fame in the 90s as a member of the famous British girl group Spice Girls. The group is adjudged to be one of the most successful girl groups of all times.
Mel B pursued her solo career after the Spice Girls split in 2000 however, it was only a shadow of the glorious one she had with the Spice Girls. She went on to host several awards and TV shows and has been able to carve a niche for herself as a TV personality. In 2007, she participated in season 5 of Dancing with the Stars and finished in the runner-up position alongside her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The former Spice Girl equally featured as a judge on both the UK and Australian versions of The X Factor. She joined the judging panel of America’s Got Talent in June 2013.
In 2017, Mel B put her acting talents on display in the Broadway musical Chicago and in the 2017 comedy movie Chocolate City: Vegas Strip alongside Vivica Fox. She got back with the Spice Girls on a highly successful reunion tour in 2007. The group is set to reunite yet again when they perform at Prince Harry’s royal wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018.
Mel B Bio, Ethnicity and Age
Mel B was born Melanie Janine Brown on May 29, 1975, in Harehills, Leeds. Her mother Andrea Brown (née Dixon) is English while her father Martin Brown was from the Caribbean Islands.
Melanie Brown was raised in Burley, an inner city area of Leeds. There, she attended the Intake High School where she studied performing arts. She started her career in music at an early age with a group known as “Touch”.
Way back in 1994, Mel B was one of the hundreds of women who responded to an audition call on Stage Magazine. The audition was held in several locations across the UK and out of the over 400 that responded, only 4 were chosen, Mel B, Mel C, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham. A 5th singer Emma Burton was added to form the 90s girl group Spice Girls.
Their first album Spice released in 1996 was a worldwide sensation. The first single Wannabe was a monster hit, topping charts in many countries of the world. The group released their second album Spiceworld in 1997 followed by their own movie Spiceworld: The Movie and both made huge commercial successes. In 1998, the group was reduced to 4 due to Geri Halliwell’s decision to quit.
While Mel B remained a member of the group, she continued to work on her solo career. She hosted several awards and TV shows. She also began to work on her first solo album Hot which was released in November 2000, just a month before the Spice Girls disbanded.
Seeing that her first album didn’t do so well, Mel B decided to try out other options in the early 2000s. Her autobiography Catch a Fire was released in 2002. Her earlier acting roles were in the BBC3 series Burn It and the romantic comedy The Seat Filler.
In 2005, Mel B attempted to resurrect her music career with a 2nd solo album L.A. State of Mind, however, the album did very poorly commercially. In 2007, she joined the season 5 of Dancing with the Stars and was able to make it to the 2nd place alongside her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
In 2007, the Spice Girls announced that they were getting back together. They worked on a reunion tour which was quite successful. The group also reunited for a performance at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Mel B joined the judging panel of America’s Got Talent in 2013 and has served for 4 seasons. Prior to that, she had been a judge on The X Factor Australia and UK. She is currently 42 years of age, just a few months shy of her 43rd birthday.
Husband and Family Life
Currently, Melanie Brown is not married. However, she has been married twice in the past. Her first marriage was to Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar back in 1998. Gulzar was a backup dancer for Mel B’s music group Spice Girls. They got engaged on 13 May 1998 and exactly 3 months after, they tied the knot. The couple separated in 2000 and the marriage was annulled same year. Mel B was ordered to pay $2.8 million alimony settlement to Gulzar.
Her second marriage was to Hollywood film producer Stephen Belafonte. The couple began their relationship in February 2007. They tied the knot in June 2007 in a secret ceremony held in Las Vegas. The couple separated in December 2016 after 9 years of marriage. In March 2017, Mel B filed for divorce alleging emotional and physical abuse from Belafonte.
Mel B’s divorce from Belafonte was a rather bitter one and was made very public. According to Mel B, Belafonte had physically abused her on many occasions and had also blackmailed her into silence. She admitted that the abuse was so much that she attempted to take her own life in December 2014.
Beyond Brown’s allegations of abuse, she also fell into the temptation of spilling very private details about their sex life. In a bid to get a restraining order against her estranged husband, Brown told the court about Belafonte’s extramarital affairs with their former nanny Lorraine Gilles. This led to a libel suit by the former nanny against Mel B and the revelation of more graphic details about the estranged couple. While Mel B insisted that her estranged husband had an affair with the former nanny, the former admitted that she and the couple had been involved in a threesome on several occasions. Their divorce was concluded on 15 December 2017.
During her divorce battle with Stephen Belafonte, Mel B lost her father to cancer. All that stress coupled with her dwindling finances took a toll on her. At one point, she quipped at her fellow judge America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell and walked away from the show because Cowell had made a comment with regards to her failed marriage.
Melanie Brown currently has 3 children. She had her first child during her first marriage to the Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar. She welcomed daughter Phoenix Chi Gulzar on 19 February 1999.
In 2006, Mel B had a short-lived but highly publicised relationship with popular Hollywood actor Eddie Murphy. Their relationship led to the birth of Mel B’s second child. 4 months after her relationship to Eddie Murphy ended, the British-born singer welcomed her second child, a daughter named Angel Iris Murphy Brown on April 3, 2007. It took a court-ordered DNA test in June 2007 to get Eddie Murphy to accept paternity.
Mel B had her third child, a daughter named Madison Brown Belafonte on September 1, 2011, during her marriage to Stephen Belafonte.
During her stint as a member of the Spice Girls, Mel B acquired quite a huge fortune. The girl group sold millions of albums worldwide with numerous sold-out concerts. Mel B is said to have made approximately $50 million (£38.3 million) during her time with Spice Girls.
However, it is unclear how much of that fortune is left due to her extravagant lifestyle and the series of legal battles she has been involved in. One of her company accounts is said to currently have a balance of £961 and for a one-time multimillionaire, that is an appalling bank balance.
When Mel B divorced Jimmy Gulzar in 2000, she had to pay him an alimony settlement of about $2.8 million (£1.6 million). During her divorce from Stephen Belafonte in 2017, it was revealed that Mel B had squandered all her fortune due to her extravagant lifestyle. She equally spent several thousands of dollars in legal fees both for herself and Belafonte.
When her divorce from Belafonte was finalised, the former Spice Girl was ordered to pay him £6.5 million over a period of three years. Belafonte could have got a lot more than that amount but for their iron-clad prenuptial agreement.
In a bid to rebuild her diminished fortunes, Mel B demanded a pay rise in order to remain a judge on America’s Got Talent. With the help of her co-judge Simon Cowell, she was able to get an 18% increase which will bring her salary to a whopping £2.15million per season.
Height and Body Measurements
Height: 5′ 5″
Bust Size: 38 inches
Waist Size: 26 inches
Hip Size: 36 inches
Dress Size: 8 (US) or 10 (UK)
Shoe Size: 8.5 (US) or 6.5 (UK)