Melanie Janine Brown, or Mel B as she was better-known in the Spice Girls, was born in Harehills, Leeds on May 29, 1975. Despite being from humble beginnings, Mel B had an estimated personal fortune of $50 million in 2015, thanks mostly to her involvement with the Spice Girls. Mel B always wanted to be a star and studied performing arts at Intake High School in Leeds before she entered the world of entertainment. Mel B worked as a dancer for a period of time before answering an advertisement for an audition in a newspaper. The rest, as they say, is history.
The advertisement for was a band originally called Touch, however, the group left its original management team and teamed up with Simon Fuller where they eventually became the Spice Girls and became one of the best-selling pop groups in the history of music. Nicknamed “Scary Spice” in the Spice Girls thanks to her energetic dancing, crazy large hair and her willingness to be outspoken, Mel B was one of the more popular of the five women, which helped her find work as a presenter for several television shows once the Spice Girls has disbanded.
Mel B was a panellist on the British daytime TV show “Loose Women” and was a judge and mentor for The X Factor Australia, Britain’s Next Top Model, The X Factor UK, and America’s Got Talent, while more recently Mel B has has bit-parts in movies such as Chocolate City: Vegas Strip, Killing Hasselhoff and gave her voice to The Giraffe in Blazing Samurai.
Controversy has followed Mel B around during her time with the Spice Girls and particularly after it. She married Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar in June 1998 despite only being in a relationship with him since March of the same year. Mel B became pregnant with the couple’s daughter, Phoenix Chi Gulzar, who was born in February 19999. Mel B filed for divorce in 2000, it was finalised in the same year and she won custody of their daughter, although she had to pay Gulzar a $2.8 million settlement.
Brown then began dating Christine Crokos, a film producer, from 2002 to 2006 citing the fact she wasn’t officially a lesbian or bisexual despite her partner being female. A year after splitting with Crokos, Mel B began dating Hollywood star Eddie Murphy and fell pregnant to him. Murphy initially denied the child was his and a judge ordered a paternity test once the baby was born. The baby girl was later tested and revealed that Murphy was the father; Murphy paid a paternity settlement of $7 million.
Later that year, Brown began dating and then married film producer Stephen Belafonte. Four year later, Brown gave birth to her third child, another daughter, in 2011. During March 2017, Brown filed for divorce and accused Belefonte of emotional and physical abuse. The divorce was settled and it was during the court proceedings that it was revealed Brown had wiped out all of the money she earned from the Spice Girls, thought to be $50 million or more, due to extravagant spending and living an affluent lifestyle.