She was the gobby lass from Leeds, the Scariest of the Spice Girls and the first of the gang to go it alone Stateside. Since Mel B packed up her leopard-print catsuits and legged it to LA to start a new life with daughter Phoenix seven years ago, she’s never been far from drama.
First, there was her short-lived fling with Beverly Hills Cop star Eddie Murphy, which left her pregnant with daughter Angel, now three, and him demanding a DNA test.
Then she married bad-boy music producer Stephen Belafonte, 35, after a whirlwind romance, just months after Angel’s birth in 2007. Later that year, she went on to cement her status as an all-American sweetheart by finishing as the plucky runner-up on Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing.
And while that other Spice import to LA – Victoria Beckham – was busy schmoozing with A-list friends including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, it seemed our Mel, 35, had won hearts and minds, but kept her gritty Northern roots.
Last time we caught up with her, she was flaunting That Body, the eye-popping six-pack that wowed the crowds in Las Vegas at her super-sexy Peep Show burlesque production.
Sixteen months on, amid rumours of a rocky marriage and a reconciliation of sorts with Murphy, she and Stephen (pronounced Stefan. As in Dennis) agree to an exclusive photo shoot and interview to promote their new reality show It’s A Scary World. It’s a chance for us to grill them on their relationship, not to mention a chance to get to the bottom of Mel’s paternity wranglings with the A-lister Posh branded the “Beverly Hills C*ck”. And perhaps we’ll get the truth about reports that Mel is estranged from mum Andrea, 53, and actress sister Danielle, 29, back in Leeds, who have been deeply disapproving of her marriage (Andrea went as far to say it was a “big mistake”).
We should be so lucky. As we begin to discover, Mel may have a reputation as a loudmouth, but she’s not about to tell you what you want, what you really, really want. Far from it.
Asked if she’s on speaking terms with her mum and her little sis, Mel deftly dodges the subject by breaking off to ask her stylist about a pair of shoes. When we manage to get her attention again, she says in her broad Yorkshire accent: “Well, I live here, so I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. It’s not ideal, especially because my kids don’t get to see Grandma and Grandad that often. But it’s all good.”