Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown insists ex-boyfriend Eddie Murphy is the father of the baby she’s carrying and says she can’t imagine why he would publicly question the child’s paternity.
“I am obviously upset and distressed at some of the comments made by Eddie Murphy to the media,” Brown, who is in the second trimester of her pregnancy, says in the statement released Thursday. “I have no idea why anybody would want to conduct themselves in this kind of manner about such a personal matter in such a public way.
“My main concern is for the well being of my (seven-year-old) daughter Phoenix and of course the baby. I was astonished at what Eddie said – there is absolutely no question that Eddie is the father.”
The U.K.-born Brown, 31, was on a plane from England to Los Angeles on Monday when an interview with Murphy aired on the Dutch TV show RTL Boulevard. In the interview, Murphy was asked about Brown and her pregnancy.
“We’re not together anymore,” said Murphy, 45. (See the clip here.) “And I don’t know whose child that is, until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, sir.”
Brown only learned that her relationship with Murphy had ended when she landed in Los Angeles and received voicemails from friends telling her about the TV interview, a source close to her tells PEOPLE.
That same night, at the New York City premiere of his movie Dreamgirls, Murphy stepped out with his new girlfriend, Tracey Edmonds, a movie producer and the ex-wife of singer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Edmonds told PEOPLE they’d been dating for “about a month and a half.”
“This was extraordinarily brazen what he did,” a friend of Brown tells PEOPLE. “If he had fallen in love with somebody else, that would have been pretty bad anyway, but to then wheel her out in public for a deliberate photo op, when Melanie’s pregnant! That’s a rat, frankly.”
The friend adds, “Melanie insists there is absolutely no question whose baby this is. And she resents the inference that she wouldn’t know whose baby it was. It’s fairly simple. She hasn’t slept with anyone else.”
Still, the friend says Brown will agree to a paternity test. “Melanie’s gone through shock, pain, anger, the whole range of emotions,” says the pal. “A lot of women or men in this situation would go to ground but she wants to take it head on.”
The former Scary Spice was briefly married to dancer Jimmy Gulzar, with whom she had Phoenix in 1999. Brown has lived in Los Angeles for the past few years and worked on launching a solo singing career – but British reports indicate that the Spice Girls may reform next year for a concert that is being planned by Princes William and Harry in memory of their mother, Princess Diana.
Murphy and Brown began dating over the summer after Murphy’s April divorce from his wife of 12 years, Nicole Mitchell.