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Mel B: My Father Gave Me The Strength To Leave My Marriage

Spice Girl Melanie Brown said her father would be “so proud” of her for being awarded an MBE for her work with domestic violence causes.

The pop superstar was given the accolade in the New Year Honours for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women, following her work with domestic violence charity Women’s Aid.

The 46 year-old, known to fans as Mel B or Scary Spice, said receiving the recognition was “still a little bit shocking and very overwhelming”.

The singer previously revealed that, after telling her mother Andrea Brown the news, she had gone to her father’s graveside to share the announcement with him.

Brown’s father, Martin Brown, died from cancer in 2017 aged 63 following an eight-year illness.

Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4, she said:

“He gave me the strength to leave my marriage. On his death bed I promised him I would leave.

“Then, three weeks later, when I got back to LA, I left.

“I know he would be so proud of me and wouldn’t actually be able to believe Mel B, mixed-race kid from a council estate in Leeds, has done that and achieved this.”

The singer has dedicated the award to all the women she had met during her work and to her late father.

“I’m standing up for something I truly believe in, that I’ve experienced myself, so to be awarded for that… I’m really proud of it”, she added.

“If I can shed light on it and help in any way, I’m not going to stop.”

Earlier this year, the singer starred in a short film exploring domestic violence through dance.

The video, which was directed by and featured the music of composer Fabio D’Andrea, saw her recreating a woman’s escape from an abusive relationship and was inspired by the stories she heard while a Women’s Aid patron.

She added:

“It’s not about what I’ve done, I’m the voice for all those other women – and men – that have ever suffered an abusive relationship.

“This is for all them lot that don’t have the platform that I have to speak up about it.”

Brown also explained that, when she was raising the issue in 2017, she found that people shied away from talking about it as it was considered “taboo and dark and shameful”.

She said only one publisher would take on her 2018 memoir Brutally Honest, which documents her personal struggles behind the spotlight.

Brown divorced film producer husband Stephen Belafonte in 2017 after a decade, and within the book wrote she had suffered abuse – allegations Belafonte has repeatedly denied.

The singer, originally from Leeds, won five Brit Awards and scored nine UK number one singles alongside her fellow Spice Girls – Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Horner.

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12.30pm on Channel 4 and All 4