Kelly has been accused of abusing multiple women and underage girls.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of abuse of a minor that may be disturbing to readers.
Multiplatinum R&B singer R. Kelly, or Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been accused of abuse by multiple women over the span of his career. But, the extent of his crimes only came to light after the release of a six-part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, and BBC documentary, R. Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes.
According to BBC, he is currently facing multiple state and federal charges in the US and is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse, and bribery, after being charged in 2019, but he has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.
One of the allegations against the Same Girl singer is that he married his mentee Aaliyah when she was only 15 and he was 27. While the alleged marriage was not a secret, the reason he married her came to light only recently, during a hearing that took place at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in New York City on August 23, 2021.
A former live-in girlfriend, identified only as Jane Doe, testified that the singer told her and other women he was having sexual relationships with, that he married the rising R&B star when she was a minor so that she could terminate her pregnancy, according to Insider. The woman revealed that Kelly, who maintained strict control over the lives of his partners, once took her and his other "girlfriends" to a park and gave them permission to ask him whatever they wanted.
Of course, all the questions directed towards him were about Kelly's relationship with Aaliyah, including accusations that he married her in 1994. That's when Kelly said he married the late singer because she was underage and needed the permission of her parents or "a spouse" to get an abortion, the woman testified. According to HuffPost, the Jane Doe also said that he gave Aaliyah money and a secret “bat phone” so that she could reach him in case of an emergency.
Kelly has also been accused of procuring a fake ID for Aaliyah, so he could fudge her age to get married, reports LA Times. This was confirmed by his former tour manager Demetrius Smith, who reluctantly admitted to bribing someone he knew at the welfare office with $500 to procure a fake ID.
According to NPR, on August 31, 1994, Kelly married Aaliyah Haughton. The official Illinois wedding certificate stated that she was 18. Smith testified that he and Kelly met Aaliyah —who was just 12 at the time— through her uncle, Barry Hankerson, who was also Kelly's manager at the time.
Soon, he began writing and producing music for her, including her debut album, ironically titled, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.
Smith told the courtroom that he was present when the two obtained a marriage license, adding that they wed in casual clothes at a Sheraton in Chicago. Shortly after they exchanged vows, Kelly went to perform at his show, he said.
“It shouldn’t have happened. It was wrong,” Smith testified. Then he added, “I shouldn’t be talking about Aaliyah ’cause she’s not here.”
Aaliyah and Kelly annulled their marriage in 1995.
She died six years later in 2001 when the plane she was traveling from the Bahamas crashed to the ground 200 feet from the runway and after only a minute of take-off. She was 22 at the time of her death.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Scott Gries / Staff (R) E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool/Getty Images