Stephen Belafonte, whose seven-year marriage to Mel B is said to be on "life support" following a string of explosive arguments, has jetted back to their home in Los Angeles after she told him their relationship is "over" and refused to return to their apartment in West London.

A source close to the39-year-old  former Spice Girl, who is still apparently recovering after being hospitalised with crippling stomach pains last Thursday - which sh "could have died" from - said: "Mel is feeling strong about her decision at the moment, but it's obviously a very difficult time. She was at her lowest point in a long time and it's very telling that he wasn't there for her."

Stephen is said to have left the UK on Sunday afternoon, hours before Mel returned to the set of the X Factor, to waggle her ringless fingers around, but her friends fear they could still reunite.

The insider told the UK's The Sun: "The fact that he left the country before she'd even gone back on 'X Factor' is another sign of just how bad things have become between them. But Stephen is playing hard to get and hoping that by leaving the country Mel will give in and agree to have him back. They have been in bad places before but he always ends up taking the control. This time all her friends hope that won't happen."

The film producer, also 39, was last spotted walking to the shops with Mel's 3 daughters Phoenix Chi, 15, Angel, seven, and Madison, three, in London on Sunday morning. So things can't be that bad... then again, stranger things have happened.