Hollywood actor Eddie Murphy has publicly accepted for the first time that he is the father of Mel B's baby daughter.

The paternity of three-month-old Angel Iris Murphy Brown has been in dispute ever since Mel B – full-name Melanie Brown and otherwise known as Scary Spice – listed her daughter's father as Shrek star Murphy on her birth certificate.

Murphy, 46, had consistently denied that he was the father of the infant during Mel B's pregnancy, but a DNA test earlier this summer proved him wrong.

A statement issued through his lawyers said the actor "always had and will continue to honour his responsibilities as a father".

But Murphy, who reportedly is engaged with producer Tracey Edmonds, added: "Mr Murphy and Ms Brown dated very briefly and never made any plans of any sort.

"He acknowledges paternity of the child Angel, and has paid child support to Ms Brown as well as covering the expenses of her pregnancy."

Murphy and Mel B, 32, dated for four months last year. He has five children from his first marriage to Nicole Mitchell while the singer has an eight-year-old daughter.

The Spice Girl said of her daughter: "Angel is my baby and Eddie's.

"She will always know that she was planned and wanted by both of us."

04/08/2007 16:39:10