Former dancer Jimmy Gulzar says he was left suicidal after spending ten years living illegally, sometimes even on the streets, in the US to stay in contact with Phoenix, who is now 17.
In an interview, Jimmy, 49, who was married to the singer from 1998 to 2000, said: “Mel’s a narcissist. She’s always tried to put a huge wall between my child and I. But I stood there like a rock to be there for my child. I just think she finds herself more important than her kids. She is famous and the only thing you have in your mind is, ‘I need to be successful’, that drive is unstoppable.”
The Dutchman was a former backing dancer with the Spice Girls and fell in love with Mel when they were at the height of their fame in 1997.
Jimmy said he is speaking publicly for the first time because Phoenix is on the brink of adulthood and he is now legally in the US.
Looking gaunt compared with his heyday as a muscly performer, he said: “My biggest worry now is when the fame stops, what then? I’m happy when Mel has steady work like America’s Got Talent because when she’s steady it is good for Phoenix.”
Jimmy’s nightmare began when Mel won custody of Phoenix and moved to Los Angeles with her in 2003.
Leaving his life behind, he followed his only child to the US because he could not bear to be parted from her.
But while Mel lived in mansions he was forced to live on the streets or on friends’ sofas, blowing his divorce settlement on a series of disastrous financial decisions.
He said he received £500,000 but other reports put it at £1.25million.
Jimmy said: “I didn’t have a red penny to wipe my a*** with. All the money that was given to me that is my own fault, I take responsibility.”
He claimed Mel purposefully made his life in LA hell, rather than encourage his close bond with Phoenix.
And he said Mel’s husband Stephen Belafonte, father of her four-year-old daughter Madison, has only added to his problems.
Jimmy claimed film producer Belafonte, who wed Mel in 2007, has tried to scare him “multiple times” in phone calls and in person.
He claimed there was an incident in 2010. He said: “I was picking up Phoenix and him and Mel were in front of the school with her in their car.
“They told my child not to come with me and they were both staring and laughing in my face about it.
“Stephen stepped out. I was like, ‘I’m not scared of you, you might be bigger than me and beat me up but so what?’ He came in front of me. I stayed calm. He just threatened me. All I know is I’m not going to fight in front of my child.”
But Jimmy, who said the couple are obsessed with porn and sex toys, said: “I don’t know what happened. I tried to get hold of my child for a week and couldn’t.
“That made me really panic. Usually she’d reply to a message. Any parent would be worried.”
“She is 17 now, I’m her father but also her buddy. We text every day.”
He said he got so depressed about his situation, he considered suicide. He said: “I had times I wanted to give up. Then Phoenix would call. “She doesn’t know I was homeless to this day or that I was illegal.”
Despite his troubles, he fondly recalls his time with the Spice Girls. He said: “I was in love with Mel and the girls were fun. It was wild.”
A spokesman for Mel B said: “Mel does not comment on stories that are not true.”