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Court weighs Mel B domestic violence claim

Press Association logoPress Association 24/04/2017 David Mercer

A judge will consider domestic violence allegations against Mel B's estranged husband as the former couple continue their bitter divorce battle.

The ex-Spice Girl has been granted a temporary restraining order over claims Stephen Belafonte subjected her to years of physical and emotional abuse.

In court papers, the 41-year-old singer - whose full name is Melanie Brown - said she was the victim of "multiple physical beatings" at the hands of Belafonte and he threatened to "destroy" her career by releasing sex tapes of her.

Lawyers for Belafonte have branded the allegations "outrageous and unfounded", and "nothing more than a smear campaign".

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge will consider whether to extend the temporary restraining order at a hearing on Monday.

In her request for a restraining order on April 3, Brown described Belafonte as a "large, extremely aggressive, hostile and violent individual" who was "controlling, manipulative and abusive".

She claimed she was repeatedly attacked by her husband, including while she worked on Australia's X Factor and after she performed with the Spice Girls at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

The alleged abuse led to her swallowing an entire bottle of painkillers in 2014 when she was a judge on The X Factor in the UK, Brown said.

She also claimed she tried to leave Belafonte after their first year of marriage but that he threatened to release "videos of our sex life and other private moments" to the tabloids.

"I have lived the past decade in fear that (Belafonte) would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and career," she said.

Belafonte's legal team has said he "vehemently" denies the allegations against him.

In a statement, his lawyers added: "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."

Brown has also been granted sole custody of their five-year-old daughter Madison.

The singer, who is now a judge on America's Got Talent, married film producer Belafonte in Las Vegas in June 2007.

She filed for divorce on March 20 citing "irreconcilable differences".

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