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19 Jul 2024 6:13
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  •   Home > News > Entertainment

    Mel B is to receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work with domestic abuse survivors

    The Spice Girls singer - who is the patron of Women's Aid - admitted it is an "incredible honour" to receive academic recognition from Leeds Beckett University, where she has also been studying towards a qualification in trauma care.

    Mel - who left her second husband Stephen Belafonte in 2016 amid allegations he had abused her during their 10-year marriage - told The Sun newspaper: "I completed a couple in Trauma Informed Care at Leeds Beckett earlier this year. When I was told I was being given the doctorate it was an incredible honour.

    "But I wanted to earn something too.

    "Since leaving my marriage I've told friends and family I'd love to go to uni, but I don't think people took it seriously.

    "But this gave me an opportunity to actually do it."

    The 'Stop' singer, who will receive the honour later this month, kept her studies quiet and didn't tell her Spice Girls bandmates what she was doing.

    She admitted: "I didn't tell them I was studying so I think they were surprised. I didn't even tell my mum."

    The 49-year-old star was "nervous" about attending lectures but enjoyed being able to study without being recognised.

    She said: "I loved the camaraderie in the class. It never came up who I was, apart from at the end.

    "One of the guys came up to me and said, 'I thought it was you, but I couldn't believe it - I thought it was just someone who looked like you'.

    "I've played at Wembley Stadium with the Spice Girls, but I felt more nervous walking into that classroom on the first day. Everyone in the class seemed so intelligent."

    Mel - who is mother to Phoenix, 25, aAngel, 17, and 12-year-old Madison from previous relationships - hopes her new qualification can further help her work with Women's Aid.

    She said: "I always understood abuse on an emotional level and could speak from the heart, but now I have the theory, knowledge and terminology. I want to do more."

    Leeds Beckett Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Slee said the establishment are delighted to "champion" the former 'X Factor' judge.

    He said: "I would like to congratulate Melanie Brown MBE on this Honorary Degree.

    "As a child of this city who reached the top of her industry, then used her platform to advocate for those who shared her hardships, Melanie is exactly the type of citizen we are here to champion."

    Stephen has repeatedly denied the allegations against him and recently launched a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.

    © 2024 Bang Showbiz, NZCity

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