It’s been a tough week for Melanie “Mel B” Brown, who filed her divorce from estranged husband Stephen Belafonte amidst allegations he beat, threatened and exploited her throughout their nearly 10-year marriage.
But arriving at her lawyers office in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday, the 41-year-old former Spice Girl kept her chin up - rocking a confident white knee-length dress, matching accessories, and long braids.
The mother-of-three had a tough ruling in court earlier in the day, when a judge shot down her attempt to regain control of alleged sex tapes in Belafonte’s possession - part of a court order demanding he turn over any “electronic media in his possession” that depicted Brown “in either a sexual situation and/or other compromising situation.”
While the judge denied Brown’s request, the temporary restraining order she was granted against Belafonte earlier this week prevents him from disseminating the videos in any way.
Belafonte, 41, has been ordered by authorities to leave the family’s Los Angeles home and to stay away from Brown and her three daughters: Phoenix, 18, Angel, 10, and 5-year-old Madison.
In documents related to the order, Brown details their troubled relationship, with the first alleged incident occurring five months into their marriage.
According to the documents, Brown claimed that before a TV appearance following her Dancing with the Stars finale in November 2007, Belafonte choked and slammed her against the floor while she got ready at home. She alleged that he would abuse her whenever she saw career success in any way, noting that “when something good would happen for me, he would beat me down to let me know that he was in charge,” according to the documents.
In July 2012, Belafonte allegedly accused Brown of flirting with R&B singer Usher while she was taping The X Factor, according to the documents. Brown claimed in the documents that Belafonte “flew into a rage,” punching her in the face and splitting her lip.
To cover up the injury when she returned to set, Brown says in the documents that she told people who questioned her that she’d had an allergic reaction to shellfish. The crew then had a doctor give her an unnecessary steroid injection intended to treat an allergic reaction.
According to the documents, Brown says the couple’s marriage came under fire in late 2014 after the star was hospitalized for two days, then appeared three days later on the finale of the U.K. version of The X Factor with what appeared to be bruises.
“Mel kept turning up with bruises,” a source told PEOPLE. “Everyone said, Are you OK?’ and she just kept coming up with excuses.”
X Factor producer Simon Cowell attempted to procure legal and financial advice for Brown at the time, a source tells PEOPLE.
Brown tried to leave Belafonte several times, she said in the documents. But he allegedly threatened to destroy her career by releasing sex tapes and take her children.
“I have lived the past decade in fear that [Belafonte] would release intimate videos of me that would embarrass me and damage my reputation and my career,” she claims in the filing. “Once [he] made the threat of releasing videos, it became impossible to say no to him, giving him complete control.”
In divorce papers filed on March 20, Brown listed their date of separation as Dec. 28.
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According to sources, Belafonte also wielded total control over Brown finances
“She never knew where her money was or how she could get to it,” an insider told PEOPLE, adding, “He set up the account, put the accountants in place; she literally never knew where her money was.”
The source added that with Belafonte in control, he would have Brown do “anything that would earn him a bit of money.”
As the couple goes through the process of divorcing, Mel’s lawyers will be bringing in a forensic accountant to sort through the finances, the source said.