Mel B says being separated from her youngest daughter during the coronavirus pandemic is the most difficult thing she’s ever had to deal with.
The Spice Girls star has moved back to her native Leeds after years of living in Los Angeles.
But as she shares custody of nine-year-old Madison with her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte and tough travel restrictions were imposed during the lockdown, she had to go without seeing her daughter for months at a time.
Mel, who is also mum to Phoenix, 22, and Angel, 14, opened up about how how tough a time it was for her.
She told OK! : “I’ve been a single parent for a long time, as I’ve always been the one who financially and emotionally supported my family.
“Unfortunately, due to the justice system, a difficult situation with my ex, and the fact that my youngest is an American citizen, I have shared care of Madison – and because of Covid, flying between America and the UK has been really difficult. Not having my baby with me for months at a time is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with.”
Mel, who recently starred in a powerful domestic abuse campaign for Women’s Aid, also spoke about looking after her girls during lockdown.
She added: “I have so much sympathy for all the parents who went through home schooling, and so much respect for teachers.
“I had no problems with Angel because she’s 14 and pretty academic. Madi loves school but she’s nine, and her classes were in LA so we had some pretty late lessons. As far as juggling is concerned, my life has been one long juggling act, but now I can lean on my family, which is a massive thing for me.”
Mel recently revealed that she had contemplated suicide during her marriage to Stephen.
She had married the American film producer in 2007 and they split a decade later.
Writing in her 2018 memoir Brutally Honesty, she claimed that she was subjected to physical and verbal abuse during her marriage.
The 46-year-old also told the Guardian : “I tried to leave seven times, so you can imagine how desperate I was in those 10 years. I didn’t have anywhere to go, I didn’t have my own credit card, I didn’t have a car, I’ve got three kids, I was very on the edge of self-destruction.”
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And when asked how close she came to ending her own life, she added: “I self-medicated. I tried everything but trying to end it all, because that to me would mean he would win.”
* If you need help, call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – it’s run by charity Refuge and the free number is in operation 24 hours a day
* If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch