Melanie Brown, also known as “Mel B,” was previously known as “Scary Spice,” a member of the all-girl, British pop group the Spice Girls.
Who Is Melanie Brown?
Melanie Brown was born on May 29, 1975, in Harehills, Leeds, England. In 1994, she became "Scary Spice" in the all-girl, British pop group the Spice Girls. In 1998 Brown released her first single, "I Want You," with Missy Elliott, which reached No. 1 on the U.K. charts. She has also appeared in theater productions and feature films, and hosted the Australian version of The X Factor. In 2013 she began appearing as a judge on America's Got Talent.
Brown gave birth to her first child, daughter Phoenix Chi Gulzar, in 1999. The custody battle was highly publicized, and though Brown won, she paid an alimony settlement of nearly $2 million to her ex-husband, Jimmy Gulzar.
In October 2006, media outlets began reporting that Brown was having a baby with American actor Eddie Murphy. Brown gave birth to daughter Angel Iris Murphy Brown on April 3, 2007, and that June, Eddie Murphy was confirmed as the father through paternity tests.
In 2007 Brown began dating friend and film producer Stephen Belafonte. The couple married that year, and on September 1, 2011, Brown gave birth to their daughter, Madison Brown Belafonte. However, Brown's relationship to Belafonte crumbled years later; she cited he abused her, while he accused her of living too extravagantly. The couple was officially divorced in December 2017.
Early Life & Parents
Melanie Janine Brown, also known as "Mel B" and "Scary Spice," was born on May 29, 1975, in Harehills, Leeds, England. She was raised by her English mother, Andrea, and her Nevisian father, Martin, in Burley, Leeds. After studying performing arts at Intake High School in Leeds, Brown went on to become a songwriter, dancer, actress and author.
Brown started her music career after responding to an advertisement in The Stage magazine for an all-female pop act and recording deal. She sang "Greatest Love of All" at her audition and was chosen, along with Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm, to become a member of the Spice Girls.
The group signed with Virgin Records in September 1995 and released their debut single, "Wannabe," in 1996, which hit No. 1 in more than 30 countries, and instituted them as a global phenomenon. The song became the biggest-selling single by an all-female group. In November 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut album, Spice in Europe, which was enormously successful.
After drifting apart in the late '90s to pursue other projects, the Spice Girls reunited for a series of concerts in 2007 and 2008. In June 2012, the group reunited again, this time to announce the creation of a new musical about the rise and fall of the Spice Girls, Viva Forever!, named after their 1998 No. 1 single. In August 2012, the group performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London.
More reunion rumors surfaced in early 2018, first after Victoria Beckham posted a photo of the five of them together in February, and again a few weeks later after Mel B admitted that they had all been invited to the May 19th royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Brown finally confirmed that the latest reunion rumors were true during an appearance on Today in late June 2018. She brushed off a question about Beckham's claims that another tour would never happen, saying, "We are touring. Should I have really said that out loud? Yes, we are going to be doing performances together for sure."
Songs (Solo Career)
After the Spice Girls broke up in 1998, Brown pursued a solo career. Her first single, "I Want You," with Missy Elliott, sold 80,000 copies in the first week, giving Mel B a solo No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart. Hot, her debut solo album, was released in 2000, and produced three Top 5 singles. Her second album, L.A. State of Mind, was released in 2005, and included the single "Today." The album was considered a flop.
In 2002 Brown starred on the BBC3 sitcom Burn It, and in 2003, she made her theater debut with The Vagina Monologues in London. She then went on to star as Mimi in the Broadway musical Rent. Brown has also appeared in feature films such as LD 50 and The Seat Filler, and hosted the television shows This Is My Moment, Top of the Pops, Access Hollywood, Dancing With the Stars and the Australian version of The X Factor.
In 2002 Brown released her autobiography, Catch a Fire, which chronicles her experiences as a Spice Girl and pop star. The book reached No. 7 on book sales charts. She also launched a signature fashion line, Catty Couture, and was contracted to be the face of Ultimo Underwear in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Brown signed a record deal with EMI Music in 2012.
Starting in 2013, Brown became a judge on America's Got Talent, joining Howie Mandel, Howard Stern and Heidi Klum on the judges' panel.
In 2017 she starred in Chicago on Broadway, playing Roxie Hart.
In 2018, a #MeToo moment for Brown became pubic with the resurfacing of a 4-year-old appearance on The Xtra Factor with X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh. Seated next to Walsh, who had his arm draped around her, Brown grew visibly uncomfortable as he began patting her butt, and abruptly stopped the interview to ask what he was doing. Neither Brown nor Walsh offered an immediate comment about the reemergence of the footage.
Spice Girls – Mini Biography(TV-14; 3:12)