Mel B decided to file divorce of her husband Stephen Belafonte in the wake of her father’s cancer death earlier this month.
The 41-year-old Spice Girl had known for a long time that her marriage was “toxic” and the loss of her father was the push she needed to end formally, her friends say.
She was photographed in public for the first time since filing her petition, citing “irreconcilable differences,” while running errands in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
Sources told the Daily Mirror of Britain that a series of “ardent ranks over their $ 40 million fortune” were behind their decision to call time in the 10-year marriage.
An insider claimed to the newspaper: ‘Money was at the centre of many rows but Martin’s passing provided a moment of complete clarity for Mel.
‘For the first time in a decade, she decided to put blood before water.’
‘It is no secret her family didn’t like him and now she has reconnected with them, Mel is sorting out her life,’ the insider added.
The marriage had been dogged by allegations of infidelity and domestic violence.
And according to the Mirror’s report Tuesday, the two had spent ‘half their marriage in therapy.’
According to The Sun, Mel had been ‘plotting to break free for two years.’
And once she revealed to her family and friends including her former Spice Girls pals that she had decided to file for divorce, they all celebrated the news.
It was her reconciliation with her mother Andrea and sister Danielle that provided the final push she needed to leave the ‘toxic’ relationship,
‘It was very sad because she simply didn’t have the strength to leave,’ a close pal told The Sun. ‘They would split up for a period, but something kept drawing her back.’
Her friends told the paper they worry that Belafonte will now go after her fortune in court as part of a divorce settlement.
Belafonte, 41, is also currently in LA – on Monday night he was spotted heading to Serafina Sunset, the family restaurant he and Mel launched in Los Angeles last year.
He was joined by a male pal as he appeared to carry a takeaway from the eatery this week.
Mel listed ‘joint custody’ in her divorce filing, opting to share responsibility of the couple’s five-year-old daughter Madison. Mel has two other children from previous relationships.
The star, who was also a judge on The X Factor UK, is being repped by top family law attorney Susan Wiesner in the divorce.
Wiesner’s previous clients have included included Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora in his divorce from actress Heather Locklear, musician Ben Harper in his divorce from Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern, Lara Embry in her divorce from Glee star Jane Lynch and actor Jon Cryer in his divorce with ex-wife, British actress Sarah Trigger.
Just six weeks ago, Mel posted a gushing Instagram showing her kissing her husband’s cheek – and paid tribute to the strength of their union, despite a string of controversies.
She wrote: ‘My baby boo @stephenthinks11 we have been through everything that would normally tear couples apart and we have come out on the other side stronger, you loved me before I even new how to really love myself, you are my world honey (sic).
Marriage has been less than smooth for the couple, however,
Throughout their marriage Mel has had to defend her husband’s past.
She jumped to his defense when it emerged that he had battered his common-law wife Nicole during a drunken row at their home in 2003.
The film producer attacked the mother of his daughter Giselle, now 13, in what was described as a ‘malicious and unlawful’ drunken frenzy.
He did not contest the charge, which the judge said was the same as a guilty plea, and said: ‘This happened crazily, one drunk, retarded night.’
He was also accused of vandalizing Nicole’s phone by spitting into it but this was dropped.
Later he said he did not realize that he had admitted battering his ex-partner, saying that the admission came at a moment when he was ‘confused and stressed’. But this plea was rejected.
While partying with Mel in 2010, Belafonte was involved in a fight with three men at the luxury five star May Fair Hotel.
One man was left needing hospital treatment following the incident.
But Mel stood by her burly husband, claiming he was only acting in her defense.
In 2007 Belafonte admitted killing a mallard with a brick outside his house in the state of New Jersey, but fled to Los Angeles without paying the £300 court fine
Later he told OK magazine: ‘Oh, yes, apparently I killed a duck.’
‘But I haven’t. Sure I got into fights and I did get drunk but I learned from it and I don’t do it now.’
In 2014 Belafonte’s brother Jeremiah Stansbury blasted the producer as ‘violent’ and ‘ruthless’ and urged Mel to leave him.
And he claimed the couple have no prenuptial agreement and are obsessed with porn and sex, alleging that Belafonte showed off their huge range of sex toys.
Belafonte denied his brother’s claims to The Sun newspaper.
This is Mel’s second divorce, having split with Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar in 2000.
They have a daughter together, Phoenix Chi Gulzar, aged 18. Mel also has a child, Angel, nine, with movie star Eddie Murphy.
On September 1, 2011, Brown gave birth to her third child, daughter Madison Belafonte.