Melanie "Mel B" Brown's millions reportedly controlled and hidden by estranged husband Stephen Belafonte
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2017
Melanie "Mel B" Brown kicked off her career as a Spice Girl and went on to find success as a reality TV judge and contestant, but her money was reportedly always in the hands of Stephen Belafonte.
Brown has found herself in a bit of a financial mess since filing for divorce from Belafonte on March 20, People reported.
"She never knew where her money was or how she could get to it," a source told People of Brown's millions. "He set up the account, put the accountants in place; she literally never knew where her money was."
Brown obtained a restraining order against her husband of 10 years on Monday after accusing him of brutal beatings and sexual exploitation. Belafonte was ordered to stay away from the family's Hollywood Hills home as well as the America's Got Talent judge's three daughters: Phoenix, 18, Angel, 10, and Madison, 5.
Brown alleged in court papers that Belafonte always had to be in charge, and if she didn't comply with his demands, he would beat her.
The source added that Belafonte would make Brown do "anything that would earn him a bit of money."
Brown's lawyers will reportedly hire a forensic accountant to sort through the couple's finances in light of their divorce.
Brown -- who wed Belafonte in 2007 -- detailed Belafonte's alleged extreme abuse in her court documents, claiming he beat and choked her, forced her to have three-way sex with other women, extorted her by threatening to release sex tapes and sabotage her career, and cheated on her with their children's nanny whom he once got pregnant.
"Mel kept turning up with bruises," the source told People. "Everyone said, 'Are you okay?' And she just kept coming up with excuses."
Brown made similar "excuses" publicly to her fans, insisting on social media on multiple occasions that her apparent bruises and scratches -- and even a brief hospital stay in 2014 -- were the result of falling in high heels, an allergic reaction, or a mysterious illness.
"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 my career," Brown claimed in her divorce filing, according to the magazine. "Once [he] made the threat of releasing videos, it became impossible to say no to him, giving him complete control."
Belafonte told TMZ earlier this week that he is "shocked" by all the allegations and "really distraught" the mother of his child would break up the family in this way. He said someone is trying to set him up "to look like a bad guy."
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Belafonte and Brown, who previously competed on Season 5 of Dancing with the Stars and judged The X Factor U.K., separated on December 28, 2016 according to Brown's filing, People reported.