Melanie “Mel B” Brown is opening up about her 2014 suicide attempt in her new book, Brutally Honest, admitting she “took nearly 200 aspirin pills” in an attempt to escape her marriage to Stephen Belafonte.
The Spice Girl writes in her memoir that the suicide attempt happened on December 11, 2014, while she was in the midst of shooting the live shows for The X Factor in the U.K.
The then-39-year-old had come home from dinner with her husband the night before she was scheduled to appear at the red carpet launch for the final weekend of the singing competition.
“I’ll be wearing a beautiful dress, my hair and make-up will be perfect. But if you want the absolute truth, I don’t care about any of it. My life is a mess and I want out,” she wrote in an excerpt published in The Sun.
Sitting in the en suite bathroom of her rented London house, Mel held an open bottle of aspirin, popping one pill after another.
“As each pill goes into my mouth, I ask myself: ‘Are you sure?’ And I take another one. Ten, 20, 50, 100. ‘Are you sure?'” she revealed. “One hundred and 20. ‘Are you sure?’ 150. Are you sure?’”
“Behind the glitter of fame, I felt emotionally battered, estranged from my family. I felt ugly and detested by the very man who once promised to love and protect me, my husband and manager Stephen,” she continued, claiming that after 10 years of marriage he was threatening to destroy her career and family with a library of sex tapes.
As she swallowed the pills, Mel wrote “frantic, disjointed notes” to her eldest daughter, Phoenix.
When she got to the 200th pill, Mel stopped: “I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere. … Suicide was not the answer. I had to make my life count. I had to get to a hospital. I had to get those pills out of my stomach before anything happened.”
Pushing against the door, which was jammed, she ended up with bruises on her face and shoulder, which would later be visible when she appeared on The X Factor.
“I can still remember the fear, panic and absolute confusion in my head. Then everything started to go black and I collapsed to my knees. I could feel the life in me starting to drain away,” she wrote.
She woke up at the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses, with Phoenix asking why she’d done it. “It was the saddest moment of my life,” Mel admitted. “Looking at my daughter — distraught, devastated, angry — was the moment I knew the fightback had to start.”
The America’s Got Talent judge was in intensive care after suffering serious damage to her liver and kidneys but insisted she was going to appear on The X Factor.
She was shown on TV wearing a sleeveless dress, her injuries clearly visible.
“I would stand proud in this stunning white dress, the marks of my agony all over me. I asked for my hair to be pulled right back from my face. I needed to be seen. I needed all those bruises to be seen,” she wrote. “My message to the world and to my husband was going to be VERY CLEAR. I wanted people out there watching to be my witnesses. I took off my vast, square-cut diamond wedding ring. A ring I’d worn on The X Factor a few weeks before to show the world what a solid couple Stephen and I were.”
After standing on that stage and making her statement, she wrote that she felt like “Wonder Woman.”
“I’ve sent my message to Stephen,” Mel added. “There’s no going back. I’m going to leave him, get a divorce. I’m going to be free.”
She and Belafonte separated in December 2016 and she filed for divorce in March 2017, accusing her husband of 10 years of “emotional and physical abuse.” Their contentious divorce was finalized in December.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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