BuzzFeed News has reported that a handful of parents are accusing R. Kelly of keeping their daughters against their will.
“Surviving R. Kelly,” which premiered Thursday on Lifetime as part of a three-night, six-hour event, has been making headlines for the disturbing portrait it paints of the controversial singer.
Below, read more about the most troubling allegations in Part 1 of “Surviving R. Kelly.”
R. Kelly’s brother says they were both molested as kids
Kelly has publicly said he was molested by an older female relative as a child, first in his 2012 “Soulacoaster” autobiography and several additional times over the years. In “Surviving R. Kelly,” the singer’s younger brother, Carey, says he experienced similar abuse.
“If he’s saying (he was abused), I don’t think he’s lying,” Carey Kelly says in an interview for the documentary. “Because it happened to me. It happened to me. … I was molested by a family member, and it shook my world, because I didn’t understand it. I knew it wasn’t right, even though I was 6 years old at the time.”
Carey recounted going to his older brother, Robert (aka R. Kelly), about the abuse when he was a child.
“Robert, him being my big brother, I brought that to him and told him what happened to me,” he said. “And when I told him, he didn’t really respond to it like I felt he should. When I told him, he said, ‘No, that didn’t happen.’ And I said, ‘Yes it did.’ And Robert said, ‘No it didn’t.’ And I left it alone. I really didn’t want to take it to my mom, because my brother was the test. And if he believed me, maybe I could’ve taken it to an adult.”
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Former backup singer Jovante Cunningham claims R. Kelly had sex with an underage girl while others watched
Cunningham, one of Kelly’s former backup singers, is one of the few women interviewed in “Surviving R. Kelly” who worked with the singer while she was underage but does not claim he sexually propositioned her.
One of the many harrowing stories Cunningham tells recounts a time she was in the studio recording with Kelly when he started having sex with a girl she knew was underage – in full view of others.
“The first time I witnessed a sexual act in the studio was during the recording of (Kelly’s song) ‘Slow Dance (Remix).’ He had one of my teenage friends in the booth with him, bent over. We were all right there. I will not say with whom, but I knew she was underage.”
R. Kelly timeline: Tracking his career of alleged sexual misconduct
R. Kelly’s ex assistant describes Aaliyah as ‘worried, scared’ during alleged wedding
Kelly reportedly married singer Aaliyah on Aug. 31, 1994, using a falsified Cook County marriage certificate, later published by Vibe, that listed her age as 18. (She was, in fact, just 15 at the time.) Demetrius Smith, Kelly’s former tour manager and personal assistant, who has come out previously with disturbing details about his time with the singer, shared more details about Kelly and Aaliyah’s wedding day.
“I’m not proud of that (day),” he said. “I had papers forged for them. Aaliyah was underage. We got the marriage license, we were at a hotel in Maywood, Illinois. It was just a quick little ceremony, nothing elaborate. Aaliyah didn’t have a white dress, Robert didn’t have on a tux, just everyday wear. Robert said ‘I do.’ Him and Aaliyah.”
“Aaliyah looked worried, scared,” he continued. “She was worried and scared. I wanted so much to grab Aaliyah and talkto her. She gave me a look like she wanted me to talk to her. … I knew that it had changed the course of everything.”
The marriage was annulled a short time later, with Kelly publicly maintaining that the wedding never happened.
R. Kelly’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ may have a disturbing backstory
Lizzette Martinez says Kelly coerced her into a sexual relationship when she was underage. She said in the documentary that she became pregnant with Kelly’s child when she was a senior in high school, and miscarried shortly after she found out about the pregnancy.
Martinez claims Kelly told her that she was the inspiration for “You Are Not Alone,” which became a hit sung by Michael Jackson in 1995.
“He just said he had something really special he had been working on,” she said. “When he wrote it, he was thinking of me. So when he played it, he called the song ‘You Are Not Alone.’ ”
Andrea Lee says her wedding to R. Kelly was a surprise – even to her
Lee was one of Kelly’s backup dancers before she married the singer in 1996 when she was 22. Lee, who recounts stories of her husband’s controlling and abusive behavior in “Surviving R. Kelly,” also shares the unconventional story of their wedding day, a surprise ceremony Kelly threw for Lee.
“My wedding was a surprise wedding. I did not know I was getting married,” she said. “We went to Colorado and I remember going into a hotel room and there was a violinist, there was a cello player, he had the cake, he had the food, he had everything. He went over the top.”
“And it was like, ‘Robert, what if I wanted to do it in a church?’” she added. “‘What if I wanted to wear a wedding dress?’ I don’t think he even understood crossing that line from being generous to controlling.”
Kelly and Lee have three children together. Lee filed a restraining order against Kelly in 2005 after he allegedly assaulted her when she asked for a divorce. Their divorce was finalized in 2009.
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