Mel B praises 'beautiful' hometown Leeds as she shares heartbreaking real reason for ditching USA for UK

Mel B praises 'beautiful' hometown Leeds as she shares heartbreaking real reason for ditching USA for UK

WATCH HERE: Mel B appears on the UK's The Masked Singer

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 13/03/2024

- 09:16

Updated: 13/03/2024

- 14:02

The Spice Girl returned to the UK five years ago

Melanie Brown, also known as Scary Spice, has candidly opened up about the decision to ditch her life in California for a return to her hometown of Leeds.

Mel B, 48, who shot to global stardom as part of the Spice Girls, continued to add to her star power Stateside following the band's success, appearing on the USA's answer to Strictly and serving as a judge on America's Got Talent.

However, despite a successful career on-screen and on-stage, Brown returned to Leeds in 2019 following an abusive marriage.

The singer had tied the knot with Stephen Belafonte in 2007 but they officially divorced in 2018 after Brown alleged he was abusive.

Producer Belafonte has always denied the allegations made by Brown about his behaviour.

The pair reached a private settlement out of court in 2017, a decade after their marriage, and their divorce was finalised a year later, but the proceedings left Brown empty-pocketed due to the financial costs of the ordeal.

Mel B recently met the Queen

Mel B recently met the Queen for International Women's Day


Brown has bared all about the years in her life which almost left her penniless and why it led to her return to the UK.

"I wasn't just emotionally and physically abused, there was all the financial abuse too," she claimed.

Brown continued: "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.

"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."

Brown, who recently purchased herself a new home, had to move in with her mother in her Leeds bungalow.

Brown added to the BBC: "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."

However, seven years on from the settlement and five years after ditching the Californian lifestyle for that of West Yorkshire, Brown has nothing but love for the UK city she calls home.

Mel B

Mel B has opened up about why she ditched LA


She added to the Beeb: "My mum's one of seven so I'm surrounded by friends, family, aunties, uncles, nephews, nieces - the whole nine yards.

"Leeds is beautiful, it's so green and so down to earth and people, I just find them warmer."

Brown has continued to be a familiar face both on and off the stage and screen too, recently appearing on the UK's version of The Masked Singer as contestant Seahorse.

You may like