LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Spice Girl Melanie "Mel B" Brown was granted a restraining order against her estranged husband after filing court papers claiming he had emotionally and physically abused her for much of their 10-year marriage.
The British singer, 41, said her husband, TV producer Stephen Belafonte, had beaten her and destroyed her self esteem, threatening to leak a sex tape to the media if she left him, according to court documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court to support her request for a restraining order.
The request was granted on April 3 and a full hearing was scheduled on April 24.
Representatives for Brown did not immediately return requests for comment on April 4.
Attempts by Reuters to reach Belafonte by telephone were unsuccessful and no lawyer or representative for Belafonte was listed in the court documents.
Brown, known as "Scary Spice" in the 1990s British girl group, filed for divorce last month in Los Angeles citing irreconcilable differences.
The couple married in 2007 and have a five-year-old daughter. Brown has two other children from previous relationships.
Belafonte told celebrity website TMZ in an interview on April 3: "I am shocked at those allegations...I think someone is trying to set me up to look like a bad guy."
In the court documents, Brown detailed incidents dating back to 2007, when she claimed Belafonte slammed her onto the floor and began choking her on the night of her finale for the TV show Dancing With The Stars. In 2012, she said a jealous Belafonte punched her in the face and split her lip as she was about to tape a segment with R&B singer Usher for the TV show The X Factor, according to the court documents.
The singer included photographs of herself in the filing, including a couple from her appearance on The X Factor with bruises on her arms and face.
Brown said in the documents that she tried to leave Belafonte many times but he "threatened me with violence and threatened to destroy my life in every possible way...destroy my career and take my kids from me".