In Brief

Why Mel B was ordered to take random drug and alcohol tests

Former Spice Girl must also undergo ‘full-scale custody evaluation’ following allegations by nanny

Former Spice Girl Mel B has been ordered by a judge to submit to four months of drug and alcohol testing, under the terms of a custody arrangement with her ex-husband.

The singer, real name Melanie Brown, has been embroiled in a bitter legal battle with Stephen Belafonte over their seven-year-old daughter, Madison. Yesterday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas demanded a “full-scale custody evaluation” of Brown, after she was “accused by a former childminder on Friday of putting her children at risk through her drinking”, Sky News reports.

The allegations were made by Russell Updegraff, who also looked after Brown’s 11-year-old daughter, Angel, by actor Eddie Murphy.

In court papers, Updegraff said that he “fears for the safety of Brown’s children”, adding: “I am filing this declaration to alert the court that the children need immediate help and protection as their safety and well-being is at serious risk.

“I do not believe it is in the children’s best interests to be left in her care.”

Updegraff also claimed that Brown - who has a third daughter, 19-year-old Phoenix, from her marriage to dancer Jimmy Gulzar - was addicted to cocaine, says The Sun.

Brown will be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing for four months, to be conducted at her LA home by staff from a federal-approved facility, the judge ruled.

He also ordered that neither Brown nor Belafonte, who share joint custody of Madison, “consume drugs or alcohol during the custodial time or eight hours before the custodial time”, reports the Daily Mail.

Lawyers for Brown and Belafonte declined to comment following the hearing.

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