Childhood & Early Life
Mel B was born Melanie Janine Brown on 29 May 1975, in Harehills, Leeds, England. Her father Martin is a Nevisian, belonging to the Saint Kitts and Nevis of Caribbean Islands, while her mother Andrea is English.
She grew up in Burley, Leeds. She has a younger sister named Danielle Brown.
Prior to beginning her career as a singer, Melanie studied at ‘Intake High School’ in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
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After responding to an advertisement in ‘The Stage’ magazine, Brown was called for an audition for a female group pop recording. She was selected after she sang ‘Greatest Love of All.’ The other selected members along with Brown were Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, and Melanie Chisholm. The girls came together to form the group ‘Spice Girls’ in 1994
In September 1995, the group signed a contract with ‘Virgin Records.’ The following year, they released their debut single ‘Wannabe.’ The song became an instant chartbuster in as many as 30 countries. It also became the highest-selling song by a female group.
‘Spice Girls’ soon became a global name. In 1996, they released their debut album ‘Spice’ in Europe. The album became successful, selling over 23 million copies worldwide. The tracks ‘Say You'll Be There,’ ‘2 Become 1,’ ‘Who Do You Think You Are,’ and ‘Mama’ were highly appreciated.
In 1997, they released their second album ‘Spiceworld.’ The band’s success continued until the release of the single ‘Viva Forever’ after which Geri Halliwell left the band in May 1998.
After the disintegration of ‘Spice Girls,’ Mel B focused on her solo career. In no time, her first single ‘I Want You Back’ with Missy Elliott captured the first position on the UK singles chart. Around 218,000 copies of the song were sold within the first week of its release.
In the year 2000, her debut solo album ‘Hot’ was released. Three singles from the album became extremely popular and fared well in musical charts.
‘L.A. State of Mind,’ her second album, was released in 2005. Unfortunately, it failed to impress her fans and music lovers.
Brown began working as a television presenter for the successful show ‘This Is My Moment’ in 2001. This was the beginning of her career as a television host.
Starting from 2002, Brown began to focus on her acting career. In 2003, she landed the main role of ‘Claire McAdams’ in the BBC3 drama series ‘Burn It.’
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‘The Vagina Monologues’ in London gave her the opportunity to debut in theatre in 2003.
Brown also appeared as the lead actor in a few films. She acted in the horror movie ‘LD 50 Lethal Dose’ in 2003 and in the comedy ‘The Seat Filler’ in 2004.
She was cast as ‘Mimi’ in ‘Rent,’ a Broadway musical, in September 2004 through which she made her mark as an actor.
Brown started appearing as an actor and presenter in several television shows, such as ‘The MOBO Awards,’ ‘Access Hollywood,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Top of the Pops,’ ‘The X Factor,’ ‘Pure Naughty,’ ‘Voodoo Princess,’ ‘Party in the Park for the Prince's Trust,’ and ‘The All Star Animal Awards.’
Her talent as a writer came to light with the release of her autobiography ‘Catch a Fire’ in 2002. The book takes its readers through her experiences and insights as a pop star and member of ‘Spice Girls.’ It became immensely popular and secured seventh position on the best-sellers chart.
Mel B has always been known for her unique fashion sense which led to the creation of her fashion brand, ‘Catty Couture.’ It focuses on collections of trendy sheer tops, skirts, and jackets.
Brown also participated in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2007 with dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and reached the finals.
In 2012, Brown reunited with other members of ‘Spice Girls’ to perform at the closing ceremony of the ‘Summer Olympic Games’ in London. The ‘Spice Girls’ announced their album ‘Viva Forever,’ based on the ups and downs of their band. Brown also signed a contract with ‘EMI Music’ the same year.
Brown joined Howie Mandel, Howard Stern, and Heidi Klum and became part of the judging panel for the eighth season of ‘America's Got Talent’ in 2013.
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Brown joined hands with Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell in 2016 to record a video to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their band’s first single ‘Wannabe.’
In 2018, Mel B confirmed that the ‘Spice Girls,’ excluding Victoria Beckham, will embark on a 13-day world tour in 2019. She is all set to lend her voice for the upcoming animated film ‘Blazing Samurai’ alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Ricky Gervais.
Personal Life & Legacy
Brown married twice and is the mother of three children.
She married Jimmy Gulzar on 13 September 1998, but the marriage ended in a divorce on 2 January 2000.
She gave birth to her first daughter Phoenix Chi Gulzar in 1999. On 3 April 2007, comedian Eddie Murphy and Mel B were blessed with a daughter named Angel Iris Murphy Brown.
She married businessman and friend Stephen Belafonte in Las Vegas on 6 June 2007.
In 2011, their daughter Madison was born. The couple divorced on 15 December 2017, with Mel accusing Stephen of “emotional and physical abuse.” Mel B lives in Los Angeles with her children.