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Spice Girl Mel B "I Don't Want to Be Bitter"

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It was around this time last year that Melanie Brown and her then-beau Eddie Murphy popped into the Shamrock Social Club tattoo parlor in West Hollywood. “They wanted each other’s signatures on their hips,” says ink artist Isaiah Negrete. “Both were excited and kissing a lot.” Cut to the present day, and—as Brown shows by sliding up her skirt while poolside at Miami Beach’s Delano Hotel during a recent getaway—it’s not only the couple’s romance that has faded. “I have two more laser treatments to do, and then it’s gone,” says the Los Angeles-based star, pointing to her nearly erased “Eddie” tattoo. “I wonder if he still has his.”

That’s just one of many questions Brown, 32, has been pondering since the couple’s split after she became pregnant last summer. It wasn’t until Aug. 3—two days after Brown announced she was suing Murphy, 46, for child support—that the actor admitted he is the father of Angel, 4 months. “It’s not about going after him; I have my own money,” insists Brown, who proved Murphy’s paternity with a DNA test. “It’s about getting him to see his daughter.” (In a statement Murphy, who is engaged to TV producer Tracey Edmonds, said that he “always has and will continue to honor his responsibilities as a father.”)

Brown, who says she is trying “not to be bitter,” also wants Angel to know the five kids Murphy has with ex-wife Nicole. On Aug. 2 the two moms lunched in L.A. “I really want that child to be involved with her sisters and brother,” says Nicole, adding that Brown’s daughter Phoenix, 8 (by ex-husband Jimmy Gulzar), had spent time with her children.

Brown, who is now seeing movie producer Stephen Belafonte, may soon need a babysitter: In December she kicks off the Spice Girls reunion tour. “Between us we’ve got seven kids,” Brown says. “It’s going to be a traveling circus!”