Mel B decided to file for divorce from husband Stephen Belafonte in the wake of her father’s death from cancer earlier this month.
The 41-year-old former Spice Girl had long known her marriage was ‘toxic’ and the loss of her dad was the push she needed to formally end it, friends have claimed.
She was photographed in public for the first time since filing her petition, citing ‘irreconcilable differences,’ as she ran errands in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
Sources claimed to Britain’s Daily Mirror that a series of ‘blazing rows over her $40 million fortune’ were behind her decision to call time on the 10-year marriage.
When 2 become 1: Mel B was pictured out in LA on Tuesday the day after she filed for divorce from Stephen Belafonte. The former Spice Girl still appeared to be wearing her wedding ring
An insider claimed to the newspaper: ‘Money was at the centre of many rows but Martin’s passing provided a moment of complete clarity for Mel.
‘For the first time in a decade, she decided to put blood before water.’
‘It is no secret her family didn’t like him and now she has reconnected with them, Mel is sorting out her life,’ the insider added.
Keeping up the routine: Her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte was spotted for the first time since the former Spice Girl filed for divorce at their restaurant in LA on Monday night
Heartbreak: Mel had posted this touching photo along with a tribute to her dad to announce Martin Brown’s passing from cancer two weeks ago. His death gave her ‘a moment of clarity’
The marriage had been dogged by allegations of infidelity and domestic violence.
And according to the Mirror’s report Tuesday, the two had spent ‘half their marriage in therapy.’
According to The Sun, Mel had been ‘plotting to break free for two years.’
And once she revealed to her family and friends including her former Spice Girls pals that she had decided to file for divorce, they all celebrated the news.
Blood before water: As a result of her father’s death, the former Spice Girl reconnected and reconciled with her mother Andrea, pictured with her in 1997, and her sister Danielle
It was her reconciliation with her mother Andrea and sister Danielle that provided the final push she needed to leave the ‘toxic’ relationship,
‘It was very sad because she simply didn’t have the strength to leave,’ a close pal told The Sun. ‘They would split up for a period, but something kept drawing her back.’
Her friends told the paper they worry that Belafonte will now go after her fortune in court as part of a divorce settlement.
Sporty Spice: The singer was dressed in athletic gear for her trip to the bank
Chill mode: She was dressed for comfort in a navy blue track jacket with matching leggings
Belafonte, 41, is also currently in LA – on Monday night he was spotted heading to Serafina Sunset, the family restaurant he and Mel launched in Los Angeles last year.
He was joined by a male pal as he appeared to carry a takeaway from the eatery this week.
Mel listed ‘joint custody’ in her divorce filing, opting to share responsibility of the couple’s five-year-old daughter Madison. Mel has two other children from previous relationships.
The star, who was also a judge on The X Factor UK, is being repped by top family law attorney Susan Wiesner in the divorce.
Wiesner’s previous clients have included included Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora in his divorce from actress Heather Locklear, musician Ben Harper in his divorce from Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern, Lara Embry in her divorce from Glee star Jane Lynch and actor Jon Cryer in his divorce with ex-wife, British actress Sarah Trigger.
Casual cool: She also wore a white tank top and matching Adidas Superstars
Still shining: Her wedding ring could be seen sparkling on her ring finger
Hanging out: She was accompanied by a female friend
Just six weeks ago, Mel posted a gushing Instagram showing her kissing her husband’s cheek – and paid tribute to the strength of their union, despite a string of controversies.
She wrote: ‘My baby boo @stephenthinks11 we have been through everything that would normally tear couples apart and we have come out on the other side stronger, you loved me before I even new how to really love myself, you are my world honey (sic).
Marriage has been less than smooth for the couple, however,
On-the go: She accessorised with a white leather designer bag, aviator shades and a necklace with a key pendant
The couple seemed blissfully happy when they renewed their wedding vows with a lavish ceremony in front of their families in November, 2008 in Hurghada, Egypt.
But in 2014 cracks began to emerge when the couple was hit with rumors of violent rows with Belafonte accused of physically abusing Mel after she appeared on The X Factor UK with bruises and scratches on her face and arms.
It was reported at the time that Mel had left Belafonte before she was rushed to hospital with stomach pains, which caused her to miss the first live show, during The X Factor final weekend in 2014.
The X Factor judge returned for the last show on December 14, 2014 with a bruised and scratched appearance, sparking worry among fans.
But Belafonte vehemently denied all suggestions of domestic abuse and the couple appeared to patch things up.
Still gorgeous: She had her brunette tresses up in a bun and went make-up free
Carefree? She seemed to be relaxed despite the big news from earlier this week
Throughout their marriage Mel has had to defend her husband’s past.
She jumped to his defense when it emerged that he had battered his common-law wife Nicole during a drunken row at their home in 2003.
The film producer attacked the mother of his daughter Giselle, now 13, in what was described as a ‘malicious and unlawful’ drunken frenzy.
He did not contest the charge, which the judge said was the same as a guilty plea, and said: ‘This happened crazily, one drunk, retarded night.’
He was also accused of vandalizing Nicole’s phone by spitting into it but this was dropped.
Over: The 41-year-old – who wed Belafonte in Las Vegas in 2007 – cited ‘irreconcilable differences’ in legal papers filed at Los Angeles Superior Court
Later he said he did not realize that he had admitted battering his ex-partner, saying that the admission came at a moment when he was ‘confused and stressed’. But this plea was rejected.
While partying with Mel in 2010, Belafonte was involved in a fight with three men at the luxury five star May Fair Hotel.
One man was left needing hospital treatment following the incident.
But Mel stood by her burly husband, claiming he was only acting in her defense.
In 2007 Belafonte admitted killing a mallard with a brick outside his house in the state of New Jersey, but fled to Los Angeles without paying the £300 court fine
Later he told OK magazine: ‘Oh, yes, apparently I killed a duck.’
‘But I haven’t. Sure I got into fights and I did get drunk but I learned from it and I don’t do it now.’
What went wrong? No further reason has been given for the split. Just six weeks ago, Mel posted a gushing Instagram showing her kissing her husband’s cheek – and paid tribute to the strength of their union, despite a string of controversies
In 2014 Belafonte’s brother Jeremiah Stansbury blasted the producer as ‘violent’ and ‘ruthless’ and urged Mel to leave him.
And he claimed the couple have no prenuptial agreement and are obsessed with porn and sex, alleging that Belafonte showed off their huge range of sex toys.
Belafonte denied his brother’s claims to The Sun newspaper.
This is Mel’s second divorce, having split with Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar in 2000.
They have a daughter together, Phoenix Chi Gulzar, aged 18. Mel also has a child, Angel, nine, with movie star Eddie Murphy.
On September 1, 2011, Brown gave birth to her third child, daughter Madison Belafonte.
She submitted the legal documents with her legal name. The star, who was also a judge on The X Factor UK, is being repped by top family law attorney Susan Wiesner in the divorce
The 41-year-old – who wed the producer in Las Vegas in 2007 – cited ‘irreconcilable differences’ in legal papers filed at Los Angeles Superior Court