Spice Girls star Mel B was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours for services to charitable causes and for helping vulnerable women
Mel B has visited her father’s grave to tell him about getting an MBE for her domestic violence campaign work – five years after he inspired her to leave her abusive marriage.
The singer, 46, revealed she promised dad Martin on his deathbed that she would leave husband Stephen Belafonte.
Martin died aged 63 in March 2017, after an eight-year battle with blood cancer myeloma, and Mel got her divorce the following year, going on to campaign for vulnerable women with Women’s Aid.
Sharing a black-and-white photo of her visit to the Leeds grave, she said: “This was the moment I told my dad about my MBE.
“On his death bed I promised him I would leave my abusive marriage. He gave me that strength.
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“He would be so proud. I’m overwhelmed, honoured and grateful, and as patron of Women’s Aid I will never stop this fight to stop abuse.”
When Mel was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours, she said she was accepting it on behalf of women suffering abuse “in all shapes and forms”.
The Spice Girl added: “I also want to dedicate it to a good man: My dad.
“He started the journey I’ll be on for the rest of my life, trying to do as much as I can to raise awareness for domestic abuse.
“To go through such dark times and then to start coming into the light and speaking out for myself and other women has been at times incredibly painful but also unbelievably empowering.”
The Spice Girl’s 10-year marriage to film producer Belafonte ended in 2018, and in her memoir Brutally Honest that year she claimed she suffered abuse – which he has repeatedly denied.
This year Mel starred in a short film exploring domestic violence through dance, inspired by the stories she heard as a Women’s Aid patron.