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Mel B to receive honorary doctorate for domestic abuse charity work

July 8th, 2024

Spice Girl Mel B is set to be awarded an honorary doctorate for her charity work supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

Mel B – real name Melanie Brown – will receive the doctorate from Leeds Beckett University during at ceremony that will take place next month.

The musician detailed her own claims of domestic violence in her 2018 memoir Brutally Honest.

Brown split from her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte in 2018 after a decade together. She was later involved in a legal battle with Belafonte, who she claimed was abusive towards her and had threatened to release a sex tape in an attempt to destroy her career. Belafonte’s legal team said her allegations were “outrageous and unfounded”.

Brown has been vocal about domestic abuse in recent years, teaming up with Women’s Aid for a powerful campaign video in 2021. “It’s every woman’s story, it’s everybody’s voice, because we are dealing with an epidemic,” she told Good Morning Britain.

In 2022, she was also made an MBE in recognition of her services to domestic violence victims.

In a statement about the doctorate, Brown called it “an incredible honour”.

As per the BBC, Brown has also been studying at the university in her home city and said had completed a course in trauma-informed care.

She continued: “Since leaving my marriage I’ve told friends and family I’d love to go to uni, but I don’t think people took it seriously,” she said. “But this gave me an opportunity to actually do it.

“I am proud to feel part of this university in my home town and proud to have come here as Melanie Brown, proud to have worked alongside other students and received excellent guidance from the teaching staff.”

Leeds Beckett vice chancellor professor Peter Slee added: “I would like to congratulate Melanie Brown MBE on this honorary degree.

“As a child of this city who reached the top of her industry, then used her platform to advocate for those who shared her hardships, Melanie is exactly the type of citizen we are here to champion.”

Earlier this year, Brown opened up about having to move into her mum’s bungalow after she said the relationship left her “powerless”.

Brown left California and returned home to Leeds after she allegedly suffered physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of ex-husband Belafont, who has repeatedly denied claims made by the singer.

The decision to move back home with her mum came while the Spice Girls were on their UK stadium tour in 2019, Brown revealed in an interview with the BBC.

She said that money made from touring was spent on legal fees and payment to her ex-husband, who is a film producer. “I wasn’t just emotionally and physically abused, there was all the financial abuse too. I didn’t realise that I didn’t have as much money as I thought I had. So I literally had to eat humble pie, live with my mum,” she said.

Mel B discusses her book ‘Brutally Honest’ during WOW Festival at Aviva Studios on May 24, 2024 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

“My mum was the kind of person that would say, ‘Oh you’ve left him now, you’re fine’. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Obviously any situation is better than being with your abuser, but when you’ve left that kind of abusive situation, it’s like starting all over again. You have to learn to trust people. You have to learn to trust yourself.”

The singer added she eventually managed to buy her own home again, which she thought would “never be on the cards”.

The former couple reached a settlement out of court in 2017 before their divorce was finalised one year later. Brown reportedly had to pay Belafonte a $350,000 (£274,000) lump sum plus $5,000 (£3,900) a month in child support for their daughter Madison as part of the settlement.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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