A former manny who cared for Mel B’s two young children has branded the America’s Got Talent star the ‘world’s number one bad mother’.
Rusty Updegraff, 59, spoke to DailyMail.com after a damning declaration he signed was submitted at LA Superior Court accusing Mel of using cocaine, heavy drinking and seriously neglecting her children Angel 11, and Madison, seven.
In the filing Updegraff also claims Mel’s ferocious appetite for sex means there’s a procession of strangers at the family home.
He claims she’s slept with dozens of men since divorcing ex-husband Stephen Belafonte – including her children’s piano teacher, a driver, a hairdresser, a ‘surfer kid’ and a guy she picked up at SoHo House, who the kids nicknamed ‘smelly feet’.
Updegraff says he fears for the safety of the former Spice Girl’s children under her care stating that he believes they are at ‘serious risk’ and that Mel is ‘incapable’ of looking after them.
Mel B was back in a Los Angeles courtroom on Friday where her former nanny accused her of being an unfit parent as she went on 10am drinking binges, slept with dozens of men while her children were home and failed to properly take care of them
Russell Updegraff, pictured above, was Mel B’s friend and agreed to care after her kids when she was away from home, but claimed he was eventually babysitting her daughters Madison, six, and Angel, 11, on a daily basis
Mel B is accused of being absent from her home and going on drinking binges, leaving her daughters Madison, six, and Angel, 11, home with Updegraff, Mel and children pictured in 2016
‘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,’ he said.
Updegraff claims Mel’s drinking got so bad that she would start necking beer and wine at 10am, sometimes earlier, before progressing to harder liquor such as vodka, tequila or gin, until she ‘completely passes out’.
According to the court documents he said the star becomes ‘mean’ and ‘belligerent’ after getting drunk, slurs her words and speaks incoherently.
Updegraff said Mel often dispatched him to the local market and demanded that he buy 12 bottles of wine, two bottles of vodka and one or two 12-packs of beer.
‘That would all be gone in 4-5 days,’ he added in his declaration.
‘Melanie’s behavior got so bad, that I begged her not to drink tequila anymore. I told her she became very mean and angry and she drank tequila.’
Earlier this month Mel claimed she was checking into a clinic after battling issues with alcohol and post-traumatic stress disorder.
She told the Sun on Sunday: ‘The past six months have been incredibly difficult for me. ‘I’ve been working with a writer on my book, Brutally Honest, and it has been unbelievably traumatic reliving an emotionally abusive relationship and confronting so many massive issues in my life.
‘I am being very honest about drinking to numb my pain but that is just a way a lot of people mask what is really going on.’
Last September her ex Belafonte, who split with Mel in March last year, accused her of being hooked on cocaine and alcohol. He claimed she agreed to take a daily dose of prescription drug Antabuse to tackle alcoholism.
Long time friend Updegraff was asked by Mel to help look after the children in February this year to which he agreed to do for free on a part-time basis.
But when the star’s nanny suddenly ‘walked out’ and Mel fired her dig-walker who also helped with the school run, Updegraff started helping out more.
Before long he was at Mel’s home 24/7 feeding and taking care of her two young daughters, Madison, six and Angel, 11, doing the school runs, grocery shopping and running errands for Mel.
He said Mel travels around twice a month and he has ‘solely cared’ for the girls for seven days, 10 days and 14 days at a time when Mel wasn’t at home.
Updegraff said the star ‘NEVER’ checked in on the girls while she was away and never arrived back home on the dates she said she was due to return.
He even accused the star of concocting lies around ‘bad weather’ and ‘no flights were going out’ as excuses for staying away an extra few days.
Updegraff said that recently when Mel flew back from London, instead of coming home to see Angel, Mel went directly to her friend Gary’s apartment.
Mel B paired a leopard print coat and matching heels with a red strapless jumpsuit on Friday, pictured visibly upset as she left court where Updegraff’s claims were shared
Mel B’s ex, Stephen Belafonte, was also in court Friday claiming that the singer shouldn’t have custody of her children because of her alleged excessive drinking
Updegraff said she brought so many men home her children even made nicknames for her partners and at times walked in on Mel B and her guests having sex
He said: ‘Melanie showed up 6 hours later after Gary had to come to help her use her key to get into her building.
‘She had her latest boyfriend with her and she had been drinking and could not use the key.’
He added: ‘I have also cared for the children when Melanie is not working and is at home because Melanie is incapable of taking care of the children.’
In the filing Updegraff says that because of Mel’s drinking she also becomes volatile with her children, often lashing out and sometimes becoming physical.
He said Mel would get into screaming matches with her 11-year-old daughter Angel, he said: ‘As a result, Madison is often left upset and crying trying to defend her sister or escape to her room to protect herself from her mother’s drunken behavior. It’s a if the children are walking on eggshells around their mother.’
He added that Mel needs ‘professional help’.
Updegraff accuses Mel of constantly bringing strange men to the house for sex – then leaving her children unsupervised with the men.
One of these men was the children’s piano teacher, according to the court papers.
On one occasion a man identified as ‘Frenchie’ went swimming with daughter Madison then took her upstairs and tried to shower her – before Updegraff intervened.
When Updegraff told Mel about the incident she dismissed it and told him ‘that’s how French people are,’ according to the damning document.
‘I was shocked that Melanie would be so callous when it came to Madison’s safety,’ Rusty states.
‘On other occasions, Melanie has often asked me and my friends (in my presence) if we can “get her” any guys to be with.
‘On another occasion, I received a text message from Melanie at 9:26 a.m. indicating that she just woke up and did not know where the children were and that the children and the French guy were gone.’
A copy of that text message has been submitted to Los Angeles Superior Court.
Randy said Mel brings so many men around – he and the children even make up funny nicknames for the men – such as ‘smelly feet’.
‘The children are literally exposed to literal strangers that Melanie chooses to bring home to have one-nighters or short term relationships with on a constant basis….The children and/or I have identified these men my nicknames or their characteristics.
‘There was someone from the Soho House we called “Smelly Feet, another named “Danny”, another we nicknamed “Frenchie”, the Surfer Kid, another named Taylor, another hairdresser, a singer, a driver and the girls’ piano teacher just to name a few.’
Angel and Madison often end up walking in on their mother while she is having sex, the court documents allege, and Updegraff claims it was becoming such a problem he tried to teach Madison to sleep in her bed – even setting up a ‘rewards system’ to encourage her not to leave her bedroom.
However Mel would ignore Updegraff’s effort and encourage the six-year-old to sleep in her bed – but then erratically lash out at Updegraff if the youngster walked in on her during sex.
He states: ‘At Melanie’s whim, Melanie will often break the rule and have Madison sleep with her in bed. Melanie sleeps in bed naked.
‘Due to this, Melanie has often had mishaps where the children walk into her room while she is intimate with someone.
‘This is one of the main reasons I wanted Madison to learn to sleep in her own bed.
‘Madison is therefore confused about the rule of sleeping in her own bed.
‘This becomes even more problematic when Melanie decides to bring someone home to her bed, then has to wake Madison up in the middle of her sleep, then bring her to my room or Phoenix’s room if Phoenix is home.
‘Madison, then while half asleep becomes upset and keeps trying to go back to Melanie’s room where Melanie literally props chairs up against the door to keep Madison out or is telling me to take Madison away so she can spend the night with whomever.
‘Melanie has reprimanded me a few times because Madison walked in or almost walked in while she was in the middle of having sex.’
The Spice Girls star said that part of the reason why she sought treatment was because of her ‘intense’ relationship with ex-husband Stephen Belafonte (pictured in April 2016)
Mel B and Belafonte finalized their divorce in 2017. Belafonte is seeking temporary custody of Mel B’s daughters Phoenix, 19, Angel, 11, and six-year-old Madison (pictured January 2015)
Updegraff continues to lash out at Mel’s parenting skills in the documents – saying that in the past seven months she has only ever bathed Madison and got her ready for bed – and spends no other time with the kids.
The rest of the time, the court papers allege, the children are in the care of someone else – or fend for themselves.
Heartbreakingly he says ‘there is no sense of family in Melanie’s home’ and accuses the star of ‘using’ her kids for photo opportunities.
‘Melanie does not cook for the children, she does not read to them,’ Updegraff states.
‘The girls do not have TV time with their mother or any quality sober time with her.
‘Tutors are there to help with homework and I helped too. The piano teacher comes in twice a week. Other than that, the children are in the care of someone else… The children try to fend for themselves when I am not around.
‘They know to grab a bag of chips or make Ramen soup from a pre-packaged Ramen bag. Sadly, the only time Melanie cares about the children or pays attention to them is to use the children as props or photo opportunities.’
On other occasions, Mel has gone on vacations even when the kids are sick and one time even forced Updegraff to leave Madison, who was sick, on her own and go check on a friend’s house, according to the court papers.
Another time, Mel asked Updegraff to take the kids out so she could ‘swim naked and do what she wants in the house’.
She would often lash out erratically at Updegraff – leading him to believe she is suffering mental issues.
Updegraff said he quit his job earlier this month because of Mel’s ‘erratic behavior’ and her ‘berating and abusive behavior’ towards him.
He said she also disrespected him as the child’s caretaker.
But mainly he said he now fears for the ‘safety’ of Mel and Belafonte’s young daughter Madison, who turns seven on Sunday, adding that the sole motivation for him submitting his declaration is to protect Madison and ensure her ‘welfare, safety and well-being’ is fully protected that the children will not have the necessary support system they need.
Updegraff ends his explosive testimony by claiming the former Spice Girl is not fit to have custody of the children – and he is afraid something ‘bad’ will happen if they are left in her care.
‘Aside from the obvious alcohol addiction and her addiction to multiple partners that she brings around the children, I truly believe that Melanie is mentally and/or psychologically unstable and is suffering from some form of mental health issue. I do not believe the children are safe in her custody without supervision or monitoring,’ the statement ends.
‘I do not believe it is in the children’s best interests to be left in her care.
‘Until Melanie gets the help that she needs, the children must be protected. I am afraid that something bad can happen to the children as Melanie continues to drink to the point of passing out or blacking out and is unable to care for the children and with random strangers coming in and out of the house, the children’s safety and well-being are at serious risk.’
Updegraff’s damning declaration was submitted into LA Superior Court Friday and as a result Belafonte’s attorney Grace Jamra has asked for Mel to submit to random drug and alcohol testing plus a ‘custody evaluation’ regarding her and her ex-husband’s daughter Madison.
‘We are here not because we want to be – we are here to protect Madison’, Jamra told Judge Mark Juhas.
Judge Juhas adjourned to let both sides confer on who would do the drug and alcohol testing and the custody evaluation.
Mel arrived at LA Superior Court in red pants, tank top and leopard-skin high heels.
During a break she walked over to the press showing one reporter a pink flask she was drinking from and joked, ‘By the way, this is coffee I’m drinking,’ which raised a chuckle in the courtroom.
After the hearing Rusty told DailyMail.com: ‘All I wanted was some severance pay and Mel refused. But it wasn’t about the money – for a long time I looked after Madison for free.
‘My only concern is for her, if for the terrible effect Melanie’s drinking and outrageous behavior are having on this beautiful little girl. Mel is the world’s number one bad mother.’