In the second part of our exclusive two-part interview, ESSENCE.com speaks to Mel B about her new beau, her tough-as-nails attorney, and whether her daughter Angel will ever meet her famous father.
This is not a cautionary tale about baby mama drama. Melanie Brown, better known as Scary Spice, the free spirit of the legendary U.K. pop quintet the Spice Girls, is fed up with the rumors regarding her whirlwind romance and breakup with Oscar nominee Eddie Murphy. After the comedic actor publicly denied knowledgeof the paternity of their 3-month-old daughter, Angel Iris Murphy Brown, Mel B is finally ready to have her say. (When contacted for this article, Eddie Murphy's representatives said, "We do not comment on Mr. Murphy's personal life.")
ESSENCE.com: While I'm sorry to hear things didn't work out with Eddie, I'm happy to hear you have a new man, film producer Stephen Belafonte. I have to ask: Is he related to actor Harry Belafonte?
MELANIE BROWN: (Laughs) Yeah, thank God I've known him for seven years, so I know that he won't be detrimental or disrespectful. And he loves kids—he has a 2 1/2-year-old son. But no, he's not related to Harry Belafonte.
ESSENCE.com: Seven years is a long time. How'd you meet?
MEL B: We met on the film set of Talk. We had a connection then, but at the time Stephen had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend. Throughout my pregnancy when Phoenix spent weekends with her dad, I would go to this really cool spot in Mexico to meditate. I realized that throughout the madness, I had to keep strong and sane so that my baby would come out with the love and light surrounding it. He has met my mum and kids, and they like him. He's just a very caring and considerate person.
ESSENCE.com: I guess you were single and ready to mingle.
MEL B: No, I wasn't. When you're going through something like I did and you're pregnant, you really start thinking, That's it. I'm done with everyone—I just want friends. I can hold off on the physical. So he became a really close friend of mine and really supportive. Then one day he said, "You know, I've liked you for a long time." And I was like, "Really? I didn't know that." That part of me got shut down, which is what happens when you get hurt.
ESSENCE.com: How long have you two officially been dating?
MEL B: As far as a serious relationship, I would say that happened a couple of months ago.
ESSENCE.com: Are you two engaged?
MEL B: No, I read that and laughed. I was like, "Oh, we are? This is the first time I've heard of it." But we're very happy together. I don't care how much money you have or don't have, just be a cool person who loves kids and dogs.
ESSENCE.com: I read you had a power meeting at Mr. Chow with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.
MEL B: Yeah. My only concern is that Eddie has to be responsible. If that means I have to hire a different lawyer and a female lawyer who only has the mother's and baby's best interests at heart, and it's truly not about the money, then you're my girl. If that's the route I have to go down, then that's the route I'm going. Believe me, it's taken me three months to even realize that, because like any mother I'm thinking that the dad is going to show up and be responsible. Well, that's not happening and that hasn't happened to date.
ESSENCE.com: As of today, Eddie has made no attempts to visit or call?
MEL B: No. But that's all going to change because he has to take responsibility. It takes two to make a baby and two to raise it. If you have a baby with me, you will be in that child's life, whether it's every week or once a year. I'm not going to have a baby and allow someone to go underground. And I'm not talking about money—I'm talking about the fact that Angel has a mum and a dad just like Phoenix has a mum and a dad.
ESSENCE.com: Did you try to resolve this issue without lawyers?
MEL B: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I've waited and put in personal calls to Eddie's lawyer and said, "Look, this needs to be sorted out," and I've had no response other than, 'Yes, Ms. Brown, we'll pass the message on" or "Yes, Ms. Brown, he knows that he needs to be responsible."
ESSENCE.com: Wasn't he the one who asked for the DNA test?
MEL B: Yes, he was the one who said that he wanted the test, but when it came down to it I had to force him to take it because he went into complete denial and wouldn't even show up for a meeting about it. I nearly took him to court to get the paternity test because he wouldn't do it. It's really crazy, but it is what it is. But the one thing you can't get away from is your responsibility. I don't care if you're from the 'hood or at the top of your game in Hollywood, you have to be responsible.
ESSENCE.com: Angel is absolutely adorable. What sort of things is she doing already at 3 months?
MEL B: She's pulling her pacifier in and out of her mouth, which is pretty advanced. This week her hair has grown long enough to put a tiny li'l pigtail on her. It's gorgeous.
ESSENCE.com: Ironically, Angel was born on Eddie's birthday, April 3.
MEL B: She was born ten days early, and I was like, "No way am I gonna give birth on his birthday." Obviously it's a sign. So the way it worked out, she decided that at midnight on his birthday I was going to dilate from three centimeters to ten. She was born 11 minutes into his birthday on April 3. ...It is like Angel was saying, "Every time it's your birthday, it's my birthday." I actually giggled when I realized she'd be born on the same day as Eddie. I said, "Angel, you are funny!"
ESSENCE.com: So is Angel a good baby? Does she sleep through the night?
MEL B: Oh, she is so good. Her current routine is to go to sleep at 10 in the evening and wake up for a 6 o'clock feed. She has six feeds during the day, every three hours. If she doesn't get that bottle on time every three hours, it's over. She starts screaming and won't stop. She was born weighing five pounds so she's a hungry baby.
ESSENCE.com: If you could ask Eddie for anything, what would you want?
MEL B: Honestly, I don't want anything from him. I'm happy if he's happy. I have two beautiful, healthy children and I mean that. It's more about Angel and her relationship with her father. My kids are much too precious, and every child deserves to know that they have a mum and a dad, otherwise there's something missing psychologically. I'm not about to put my daughter through that.
ESSENCE.com: What would you tell Angel about her father?
MEL B: I only have good things to say about him. I'm not one of those moms who is bitter. I only have nice things to say about Eddie, and that's all she would want to hear anyway.
ESSENCE.com: Are you optimistic that he will be involved in Angel's life?
MEL B: Yes, he has to be. He is with all his other kids and he's a great dad. Why should this beautiful baby be any different?
ESSENCE.com: If you ran into Eddie, what would you say to him?
MEL B: I'd say, "Here, meet your baby. She's beautiful. We did a good job."
Credit: Greg DeGuire/WireImage.com
Melanie Brown and her new beau Stephen Belafonte.