Mel B’s husband: Bubble Butt, you’re so fat!
Mel B's been frantically dieting since she gave birth to her third child six months ago - and we can reveal why.
The star, who shot to fame in the Spice Girls as a role model for girl power, is secretly battling cruel taunts about her weight from her own husband.
Pals say that Stephen Belafonte has been secretly chipping away at Mel's confidence throughout their five-year marriage.
They claim he called her ‘Bubble Butt' while she was pregnant.
Although Mel's putting on a brave face, the revelation sheds light on why her family are worried for her ‘mental state' and are desperate to meet up with her to talk about Stephen.
On 2 March, her sister Danielle, 31, Tweeted that only immediate family should be at the meeting: ‘You, me, Mum and Dad - no film crew, no cameras and NO STEPHEN.'
In a further hint at the seriousness of the situation, she added: ‘R THE KIDS SAFE?'
A source reveals: ‘Stephen has a dark side. Mel's family feel he controls her every move, but she totally shuts them down when they try to reach out to her.
'When she was pregnant with Madison, Stephen would make mean jibes about her weight. He'd say she was "packing it on" and would refer to her as "Bubble Butt".'
This might explain why Mel, 36, who now lives in Australia, signed up as the face of diet programme Jenny Craig in October, just weeks after she gave birth.
Mel - who's also mum to Phoenix, 13, and Angel, four - put on 4st 7lb during the pregnancy but has already regained her 9st 4lb figure.
Sources claim that Stephen, 36, has also isolated her from her pals as well as her family.
In fact, Mel - who openly admits she doesn't wear the pants in her marriage - revealed in a recent interview that she struggled to make friends while she was living in LA, saying: ‘It didn't go well at all. The mums weren't as young as me.'
But sources say the real reason Mel didn't form any new bonds was because Stephen would sabotage her efforts to socialise with people by blasting gangster rap at full volume in the house.
Our insider adds: ‘Put it this way, Mel lived near Victoria Beckham in LA but you never saw them together. There's a reason for that.'
Mel married the film producer in 2007 following a six-week romance. Although there's no suggestion that he's physically abusive towards Mel, Stephen does have a history of violence.
Weeks after they wed, it emerged he'd been convicted of battery after drunkenly attacking his ex Nicole Contreras - mother of his six-year-old daughter Giselle - in 2003.
He was ordered to attend a domestic violence programme.
In 2010, just weeks after he and Mel briefly split, Stephen was involved in a fight with three men at London's May Fair hotel, leaving one needing treatment.
No charges were brought after Mel insisted Stephen was just defending her.
A source who spent time with the couple in LA warns that Mel needs to be careful. ‘Stephen's very sure of himself - he's arrogant and intimidating to women,' she says.
‘The first time I met him he got really close to my face and said: "Are you coming on to me? You like a bit of mixed [race], don't you?"
He uses his bigger size to intimidate people. I wouldn't trust him if I was her.'
Although Danielle hasn't spoken to her sister for three years, news of Mel's plight has reached her. Now she's desperate to talk to Mel.
Our source adds: ‘She's at her wits' end. She thinks Stephen has made Mel lose all sense of reality.'
Mel loses it!
She gained 4st 7lb while expecting Madison.
Pals say that Stephen's jibes added to the pressure she felt to lose the pounds immediately after the birth. She's now back to her pre-pregnancy weight of 9st 4lb.