On April 3, Mel B obtained a restraining order against estranged husband Stephen Belafonte after alleging the film producer physically and psychologically abused her throughout their nearly 10-year marriage.
“When something good would happen for me, he would beat me down to let me know that he was in charge,” Mel wrote in her statement, detailing a startling pattern of abuse that followed any measure of success.
“Mel has kids, and women with children are reluctant to leave a relationship, no matter how horrible,” Says New York psychotherapist Dr. Gilda Carle. “That’s what abusers do — they gain power and maintain control of their victims so it can feel like there’s no way out.”
That is, until Mel finally found the strength and the courage to come forward just days after her father’s death in March. “She may have covered up the abuse for years, but Mel isn’t frightened of Stephen anymore,” a source tells Star. “And she refuses to stay silent.”