Mel B. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Mel B has claimed her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte stopped her from driving and manipulated her finances.

The Spice Girls star has spoken openly about the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband - who she divorced last year - and has now claimed he stopped her from driving and took control of her finances.

In a frank and honest discussion on 'Loose Women' on Monday, she said: "An abuser cuts you off so you don't have anywhere to turn to and you can't drive a car, you don't have control over your finances.

"It just happens bit by bit, I'd be working and he'd go to the accountant meeting for me, - you think he's being really nice when he's stashing money everywhere and taking it out of my bank."

The 'America's Got Talent' judge - who has Phoenix, 19, with ex-husband Jimmy Gulzar, Angel, 10, with Eddie Murphy, and seven-year-old Madison with Stephen - explained how the producer laid down strict rules on the home and though she "fought" against some of them, others she simply accepted because she feared the ramifications of her arguing against her spouse.

She said: "My kids weren't allowed to eat at the table, it's all about control, he would set rules I had to abide by and some were worth fighting for and some weren't because of the ramifications, especially when I'm working and doing live TV - I didn't want to be having to cover another bruise and make up another lie.

"I bought them a table and made sure they were allowed to eat presentably at a table. Of course I hid that, there were lots of things I hid but that was one of the sad things about that kind of behaviour I got into." 

The 43-year-old singer believes Stephen deliberately targeted her when she was at a "vulnerable" point in her life.

She said: "I thought he was a respectable, honest, loving, giving person but he was anything but any of that. These men - and it happens the other way - they find you, they hunt you down and seek you out at your most vulnerable point, emotionally and physically. I wasn't looking for a relationship, I was heartbroken from ending my relationship with Eddie Murphy, I was pregnant with his baby.

"[He was] very charming, these kind of relationships start with someone presenting everything and more that you think you need and it ends up being completely different.

"Looking back there were so many warning signs but when you're in that relationship, very abusive on many levels, you end up taking the blame and feeling you have to make the marriage work."

In response to Mel's claims on the show, presenter Jane Moore explained Stephen had been given a "right to reply", in which he "denied all the allegations against him".