Stepdad Stephen called me ugly and retarded. I was petrified when he rowed with mum says Mel B's daughter Phoenix

MEL B's daughter Phoenix Brown has opened up for the first time about the hell she suffered living with her abusive stepdad Stephen Belafonte.

In a new interview, Phoenix, 23, has revealed the nasty names her former father figure called her, and how she felt when he rowed with her Spice Girl mum.

Speaking to Daily Mail's Weekend magazine, Phoenix, who is Mel's daughter from her marriage to dancer Jimmy Gulzar, revealed that her world "went from technicolour to black and white" when Stephen came into their lives.

Mel married film producer Stephen in June 2007 after her relationship with actor Eddie Murphy crashed and burned.

Phoenix described how her world came tumbling down after her stepdad moved in with them in LA and took control of their lives.

She said: "I had to stay in my room with the door shut. I wasn't allowed to go in the fridge but I had 30 minutes to make my packed lunch for school. 

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"Often in the morning he'd pull it out and eat my sandwiches, laugh at me and tell me to get to school."

She also revealed how he called her vile names and abused her dog.

Phoenix recalled: "He'd tell me I was ugly and retarded all the time. I had this beautiful Labrador called Lordy who we'd had since I was born. I loved him.  He'd laugh at me and tell me I was ugly and retarded

"Stephen picked him up one day and threw him across the garden into the pool – Lordy was old, he was terrified. I couldn't speak. A few weeks later I came back from school and Stephen told me he'd had him put down."

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She also revealed the toll the relationship took on her mother, who was awarded an MBE this week for her work with domestic violence charity Women's Aid.

"My mom was working all the time, earning money for him – for the family. I knew she was having a terrible time, she sort of shrank. 

"They'd have these awful rows in their room, I'd stand outside petrified, feeling useless."

Phoenix added that she coped by looking after her younger sister Angel, 15 – from Mel's romance with Eddie -and Madison, now ten, who is Stephen's daughter from a previously relationship.

Mel and Stephen divorced in 2017 and spent months locked in a nasty court battle until reaching a settlement in 2018.

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Mel wrote about her experiences in the marriage in her bestselling book, Brutally Honest, which was released in November 2018.

Phoenix and Mel now live back in the UK and Phoenix will be taking part in ITV's The Games when it airs this week.

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