Corries Yasmeen star praises Mel B for helping with coercive abuse storyline

Coronation Street actress Shelley King has explained she "thanked" singing star Mel B for her honesty in recent years, discussing her experience with domestic abuse.

Melanie Brown MBE has spoken openly, claiming during her marriage to Stephen Belafonte, she suffered domestic abuse as well as coercive behaviour.

Now, the Spice Girls star has been awarded an MBE for her services to charity after becoming a patron of the charity, Women's Aid.

Mel, 46, has claimed she suffered a decade of both physical and mental abuse from Belafonte – he denies all claims.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star, actress Shelley, 66, who fronted a domestic abuse storyline on the ITV soap says Melanie helped her.

Talking at the Pride of Manchester Awards on May 10, she said: "I've met her and she helped me a lot, I went and talked to her and thanked her.

"Her sharing that she did, it was invaluable."

The actress continued: "You must be strong, the thing I am most proud about and for Coronation Street is the amount of people who at the time of Covid.

"It wasn't supposed to go out in Covid but it was a time that was so real and terrifying for people in coercive relationships and it helped so many people to know they're not alone.

"The thing is, they're so isolated in many cases that they don't know, they think they're the only people that this is happening to and to see that happening to somebody else and to hear stories around it helped so many women and men, I'm really proud of Corrie for doing that.

"For me, that's my pride and joy and a privilege to be a part of that."

Reflecting on the storyline that saw Yasmeen's husband Geoff subject her to coercive abuse, Shelley said: "We were introduced to and managed to talk to lots of people who shared their difficult, heart-rendering stories with us.

"As an actor, all through my life, I try to research but these are things you're reading.

"With Corrie, I actually got to meet people and share their stories, we were also helped by a whole team of writers and Women's Aid and Teresa Parker.

"We were greatly helped, I absorbed it, I'm like a sponge – I take on and try and put myself in that position and use myself to portray what other people have said."

Shelley continued: "I still get so many letters, it might be three years that we explored which is a long time in a soap but there are women and men who have been in for 30, 60 years in one case, a long long time.

"It wasn't just me, it was a whole team of people with the storyline."

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can contact Women's Aid for free on their website, here.

You can also contact the 24 National Domestic Abuse helpline with Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

The MEN Pride of Manchester Awards, in partnership with TSB, will premiere on YouTube at 7pm on Tuesday 17 th May – youtube.com/prideofbritainawards.

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