After becoming a superstar with the Spice Girls, Mel B moved into a Los Angeles mansion and lived the life of an A-lister in the Hollywood Hills.
But after 15 years in the celebrity hotspot, she’s returned to her Yorkshire roots – and now enjoys housework best.
Mel has settled in Leeds and said: “It’s my safe place. Just being in the countryside and in nature. Rest and peace.”
The mother-of-three added: “I’m a normal girl from Leeds. I go to the supermarket, make myself a cup of tea, do laundry, which I’m addicted to.
“I love vacuuming too. My mother is really happy and so is everyone I visit. I’m just wondering, ‘Do you have a vacuum?’.”
Mel, whose full name is Melanie Brown, credits her mother Andrea and late father Martin for instilling in her a work ethic that helped her prepare for the pressures of being a superstar.
She hasn’t stopped working since Mel released debut single Wannabe in 1996 with bandmates Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton and went on to become the best-selling girl group of all time.
She has just returned from Sydney where she was a judge on The Masked Singer.
Mel has been a national and international judge on The X Factor, co-hosted the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars and was even a judge on the Spanish version of The Masked Singer last year.
She is expected to reunite with the Spice Girls this year to mark their 30th anniversary.
Mel, 48, said: “I’ve seen my mum and dad go out of their way not only to do their nine to five day job, but to take an extra job and then an extra job after that.
“So my work ethic was instilled in me at a very, very young age. And nothing was given in vain.”
“You had to earn it, you had to work for it, and you had to respect it when you got it.”
When Mel joined the Spice Girls at the age of 17, the five were “living on welfare” and living off baked beans.
After getting her big break, Mel needed Reiki healing to combat her fears prior to her performances.
She said, “I became a Reiki master when I was 19 so I’m very attuned to chakras and energies.
“Not too much to bore you and sound like a hippie, but just enough to know something.
“The other girls call me Witchy Woo – but a good witch.”
Mel even thinks she’s seeing dead people and says, “That’s itit is comforting.”
Now she has more reason than ever to return to her hometown as she plans her wedding to Leeds-based hairstylist Rory McPhee.
The couple have been together for four years and confirmed their engagement in October after Rory popped the question at Cliveden House in Berkshire.
Bandmates Mel C and Emma cried with happiness when she told them thisand Mel said it’s the “first time in my life that I’ve been engaged to a beautiful, honest person who makes me feel protected, cared for and loved, and I want to enjoy that.”
This will be Mel’s third marriage. In 1998 she married Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar, father of their 24-year-old daughter Phoenix.
She had daughter Iris, now 16, with Hollywood star Eddie Murphy and married her former manager Stephen Belafonte, the father of their 11-year-old daughter Madison, in 2007.
Ten years later, she filed for divorce after accusing him of emotional and physical abuse.
In an interview with hypnotist Paul McKenna for his Positivity Podcast, Mel revealed that her father’s death from cancer at the age of 63 in 2017 was what prompted her to leave the marriage.
She said: “I’ve gone about seven or eight times. There are a lot of statistics out there, something ridiculous, like 1 in 3 women in the type of relationship I’ve been in either commits suicide or their partner kills them.
“I think one in four women tries to walk at least nine times before actually walking, and for me it was my father’s death.”
Mel claims Belafonte threatened to tell lies about her and what worried her most was the impact it would have on her father Martin.
“MY BEST LIFE”
She said: “I just thought, ‘Well, if my partner at the time does what he promised, like, like, embarrassing me and telling the press that I wasn’t a good mother and that I was this and that person. . . the only person I would be afraid of. . . my father would find out.
“As soon as my father died, I thought, ‘With all due respect, I can now leave this marriage.’
“I have the guts and guts to go and it was a big deal for me because I had nowhere to stay and I was with my three kids.”
She says her bravery is a good example to her children that “you don’t have to put up with the shouting and the control.”
Mel told Paul: “When I left, I did everything I wanted to do. We traveled to Thailand.
“We have a dog. We got a trampoline. We did crazy things like splashing each other’s clothes.
“But they still went to school and did their homework.”
Mel urged her daughters to clean their own rooms and say a prayer before eating, “because not everyone can eat well and healthily.”
In addition to a nutritious diet, Mel also combats stress with daily exercise. She said: “For me, training is not about staying in good shape.
“It’s for my sanity as I have ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia. I mean, the list goes on and on.
“I find that exercising helps me meditate, get rid of my fears a bit, and focus on myself, just for those 45 minutes.”
“I find it really calms my brain. It sets me up for a truly amazing day.”
Now, Mel says she’s living “her best life” in the Yorkshire countryside with Rory, who she’s been friends with for two decades.
Mel said: “I feel like I made a real effort to live my best life, the life I always wanted to have.
“Now more than ever, whether it’s as a parent, whether it’s in my career, or whether it’s in my mind and body.
“I keep asking myself questions and working on myself. I want to be the best version of myself.
“I never do things by halves. As long as it comes from a good source and isn’t 100 percent down to money, you know you’re passionate about what you do, and your passion ends up being your work.
“Apart from being on stage in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, it’s my favorite place to be in the country.”
- Listen to Paul McKenna’s Positivity Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.