In her upcoming book, "Brutally Honest," Melanie Brown opens up about some of her darkest days, including her 2014 suicide attempt and her cocaine use during her toxic marriage.
In exclusive excerpts in Britain's The Sun newspaper, Spice Girl Mel B explains how she tried to kill herself in December 2014 by taking 200 aspirins.
She was 39 at the time and in the bathroom of her rented home in London's Kensington neighborhood after having returned from dinner with then-husband Stephen Belafonte. That week, she was about to start taping the live semi-final shows for her gig as a judge on Britain's "The X Factor." She felt, she explains, like "My life is a mess and I want out… Behind the glitter of fame, I felt emotionally battered, estranged from my family."
The "America's Got Talent" judge's marriage was in tatters. "I felt ugly and detested by the very man who once promised to love and protect me," she writes, adding that Stephen had a "library" of sex tapes that could "ruin my career and destroy my family."
She counted as she started taking the aspirin. "As each pill goes into my mouth, I ask myself: 'Are you sure?' And I take another one. Ten, 20, 50, 100. 'Are you sure?'" she writes. In that moment, she was.
Mel penned a note to eldest daughter Phoenix, from her first marriage, asking her to get her younger girls, Angel (with Eddie Murphy) and Madison (with Stephen), to their grandmother's house in Leeds, England.
Mel took more aspirin, but when she got to 200, she realized she didn't want her life to end. "As soon as I'd swallowed that last pill, I knew I didn't want to go anywhere… Suicide was not the answer. I had to make my life count. I had to get to a hospital. I had to get those pills out of my stomach before anything happened," she explains. She tried to get out of the bathroom but the door was jammed. She flung her body against the door repeatedly, suffering bruises.
She collapsed and remembers drifting in and out of consciousness before ending up at a hospital, where doctors saved her. There, she experienced "the saddest moment of my life" when she woke up and daughter Phoenix asked her over and over, "Why, Mum? Why?" Mel writes that she called colleague and boss Simon Cowell, who "didn't sound horrified, just calm, like he knew that's what I needed from him." She remembers that all the Spice Girls reached out to her, as did her family, but she was too ashamed to speak to them.
Even though she was in intensive care with serious damage to her liver and kidneys, she was hell-bent on returning to "The X Factor" right away against doctors' wishes. She texted her stylist and chose a sleeveless dress for the next taping. "I would stand proud in this stunning white dress, the marks of my agony all over me. I asked for my hair to be pulled right back from my face. I needed to be seen. I needed all those bruises to be seen," Mel writes. She also took off her wedding ring to send a "message to Stephen. There's no going back. I'm going to leave him, get a divorce. I'm going to be free." (She did not, however, file for divorce until March 2017, after they'd been married for 10 years.)
In her book, The Sun reports, Mel also writes about how she was snorting five or six lines of cocaine a day while shooting "The X Factor" to help her cope with what she claims was an abusive marriage. "I was a sad, pathetic person. I was out of control," she explains, sharing that she would snort two lines of coke as soon as she woke up to just get herself motivated to face the day, then pray, apologizing to God and begging for help to get through. "It numbed my pain. It lifted me up enough to be ready to fire on all cylinders and forget about everything but the show."
She also did it, she writes, "to get me through living with Stephen, which felt like neurotic claustrophobia. On so many levels I felt myself sinking. I had a routine. I was ashamed of what I was doing, but I felt I had to have it."
Mel insisted she only did the drug before and after tapings, never while she was filming. "The cocaine only made my depression worse, and I was permanently anxious and on edge," she says.