Spice Girl Mel B reveals she is still woken by PTSD flashbacks
Mel B has revealed she is still woken in the night "drenched in sweat" from terrifying flashbacks of the trauma she allegedly suffered at the hands of her abusive ex-husband.
The Spice Girl — who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women — is speaking out about her own personal experiences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of domestic abuse, in a bid to raise awareness.
Mel, 46, told The Sun: "Nearly five years on I still wake up in the early hours with terrifying fragments of sounds and images flitting into my brain. Things I’ve tried to block float to the surface - things that can still make me feel drenched in shame, sweat and fear."
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Watch: Spice Girl Mel B opens up about domestic abuse
The singer — an ambassador for Women's Aid — divorced husband Stephen Belafonte in 2017 after 10 years of marriage and has publicly accused him of physical and mental abuse during their relationship.
The Loose Women presenter told how she turned to drink and drugs as a form of "self-medication" while she felt trapped in the relationship.
She said: "I’d been through so much and sunk so low that my self-esteem was zero. Being isolated from my family, I had no one to confide in so I turned to drink and drugs to dull my pain... I was completely out of it when I was videoed having sex - one of the most humiliating things that I endured in my abusive relationship."
And the singer revealed how her husband gaslighted her into not speaking out about his behaviour.
Mel said: "My ex had drummed into me that no one would ever believe me, that I had no proof, and that because drink, drugs and sex were all part of our relationship, I would be tarnished goods for life.
"But for a woman who stood for Girl Power, I felt I had to break cover because I knew that what happened to me was happening to millions of others."
The singer — real name Melanie Brown — met and married film producer Belafonte in secret in 2007. They had a daughter named Madison in 2011. The couple separated late in 2016, with Mel filing for divorce a few months later accusing Belafonte of "emotional and physical abuse".
After the divorce, Mel moved back to her hometown of Leeds with her two eldest daughters from previous relationships — Phoenix, 22, and Angel, 14 — to live with her mother. Belafonte currently has shared custody of 10-year-old Madison as part of an ongoing custody battle.
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Last year Mel appeared in a powerful four-minute short film for Women's Aid, entitled Love Should Not Hurt.
Watch: Mel B was horrified to discover daughter was aware of domestic abuse