Melanie Brown and Stephen Belafonte separated in 2017 and are currently locked in a bitter custody battle over their daughter Madison, who currently lives with her father in Los Angeles.
And, Joanne Froggatt, 41, revealed that she researched Spice Girl Mel B, 46, notoriously turbulent marriage to the producer while preparing for her new role.
The Downton Abbey actress will play the title role in Angela Black, an upcoming ITV drama series focused on domestic violence.
Joanne Froggatt, 41, has revealed that she researched Spice Girl Mel B, 46, notoriously turbulent marriage to Stephen Belafonte, 46, while preparing for her new role.
Joanne read Mel B’s book Brutally Honest in which she alleged that her ex-husband Stephen, 46, physically, sexually and verbally assaulted her, took control of her finances and used coercive control to change her personality.
These are allegations that Belafonte has denied.
Joanne told the Mirror: “I feel a responsibility. I did a lot of research and Women’s Aid was amazing, supported us and pointed me in the right direction.
“I read Melanie B’s book Brutally Honest. ”
Hard hitting: Joanne read Mel B’s book Brutally Honest in which she alleged Stephen physically, sexually and verbally assaulted her (pictured in a video for Women’s Aid – she is a patron of the association – where she appeared beaten as she tried to run away from a violent partner)
The actress also researched the life of Loose Women panelist Katie Piper, 37, who survived an acid attack orchestrated by an ex-lover.
She added, “They suggested that I read a book by Mandy Thomas called You Can’t Run. It is one of the most poignant tales of domestic violence and incredibly moving.
‘I read Katie Piper’s book’ Beautiful ‘on the [acid] attack on her after a short relationship.
“All of these women told their stories with great courage… I was blown away by their honesty. “
Custody battle: Melanie Brown and Stephen Belafonte went their separate ways in 2017, and are currently locked in a fierce custody battle over their daughter Madison (pictured in 2016)
Joanne’s new TV show Angela Black also stars Samuel Adewunmi and Michiel Huisman and is scheduled to air on ITV in October.
Joanne admitted that roles like Angela Black can be mentally difficult and that she can’t take on many like that in quick succession.
She told the post, “I’m drawn to these characters, they’re amazing stories and they’re incredibly difficult but, as an actor, that’s what you do it for.
‘I never plan on doing one Angela Black type show and then doing another [similar] character, immediately after.
Horrific attack: The actress also researched the life of Loose Women panelist Katie Piper, 37, who survived an acid attack orchestrated by an ex-lover (pictured from 2009)
After her split from Stephen in 2017 after 10 years together, Mel returned to the UK and is now based in Leeds, while Madison is in America with Stephen.
In the midst of their custody battle, Mel is now asking a judge to give her more time with Madison, according to reports.
Mel is also the mother of her daughters Phoenix, 22, from her previous relationship with ex Jimmy Gulzar, and Angel, 14, whom she shares with ex Eddie Murphy.
Mel had previously accused her ex-husband Stephen of “emotional and physical abuse”, which he vehemently denied, and claimed that she had tried to leave her marriage for a decade, but found it to be a “impossible” situation.
In May, earlier this year, Mel opened up about her traumatic experience with domestic violence during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
Shocking: Mel previously accused her ex-husband Stephen of ’emotional and physical abuse’ which he vehemently denied (pictured in 2019)
The singer emotionally admitted she was “crushed your soul” as she claimed it would take “forever to get this back,” and explained how women in situations like hers struggle to cope.
Mel explained, “As a woman who’s been through this, it crushes your soul, it really strips you… I’m going to take forever to get this back.
“I had to build myself. One of the good things for me is talking to other women who have been in a similar situation.
Mel recently appeared in a Women’s Aid video where she appeared beaten up and covered in fake bruises as she tried to run away from an abusive partner. The star of the Spice Girls is a patron of the association.
US-Based: Madison is a US citizen and is currently based in Los Angeles with her father Stephen, whom Mel was married to for 10 years before their separation in 2017