Stephen Belafonte Why Didn't I Adopt Eddie's Daughter? ... Never Thought I Had To

3/27/2018 6:57 AM PDT

Stephen Belafonte Explains Why He Never Adopted Eddie Murphy's Daughter

EXCLUSIVE

Stephen Belafonte says he never adopted Eddie Murphy and Mel B's biological daughter because he always thought of himself as her true father, and it never occurred to him.

We got Stephen Monday night at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in WeHo, where he explained why he was still fighting for visitation rights to his stepdaughter, Angel, with Mel in court.

It comes down to this for Stephen ... Angel is his daughter, plain and simple. He says Eddie was never really in the picture, and he never thought he would have to adopt Angel because he would be with Mel forever. As for what went wrong -- besides the divorce -- he's got a label for what he believes Mel pulled in court.

He shows us his tattoo again as well, this time taking a moment to explain the design's significance ... and why he won't complete it until he's reunited with his kid.