R. Kelly is speaking out in his first interview since being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse late last month.
The 52-year-old singer – who has repeatedly denied all accusations against him – appeared on CBS This Morning on Wednesday and was interviewed by Gayle King.
Kelly has been accused of multiple sexual abuse allegations and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women over the years, but a renewed attention to the allegations came with the release of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly docuseries in January, in which more women came forward with allegations of abuse against the singer.
“I’m very tired of all of the lies,” Kelly told King. “I’ve been hearing things and seeing things on the blogs, you know, I’m just tired.”
“That little girl was trapped in the basement. Helicopters all over my house. Trying to rescue someone that doesn’t need rescuing because they’re not in my house,” Kelly said, listing off some of the things he’s heard about himself. “Handcuffing people. Starving people. I have a harem… a cult. I don’t really know what a cult is, but I know I don’t have one.”
Throughout the interview, Kelly continuously claimed that everyone featured in Surviving R. Kelly is “lying” and maintained that he has “absolutely not” broken any laws.
“If you really look at that documentary… everybody says something bad about me. Nobody said nothing good,” he said. “They was describing Lucifer. I’m not Lucifer. I’m a man. I make mistakes, but I’m not a devil, and by no means am I a monster.”
“… People are going back to my past, OK? That’s exactly what they’re doing,” he added. “They’re going back to the past, and they’re trying to add all of this stuff now to that. To make all of this stuff that’s going on now feels real to people.”
The interview became very intense when Kelly called the accusations against him “stupid,” and said that he doesn’t “need to” do any of the things of which he’s accused.
“Why would I? How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I’ve been through in my way, way past, to hold somebody, let alone four, five, six, 50 you said, how stupid would I be to do that? That’s stupid, guys!… That’s stupid! Use your common sense,” he said. “Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want. But just use your common sense.”
“How stupid would it be for me, with my crazy past and what I’ve been through — oh right now I just think I need to be monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don’t let them eat and don’t let them out, unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle! Stop it,” he continued. “Y’all quit playing! Quit playing! I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me! I’m fighting for my f**king life!”
“This is not true. It doesn’t even make sense,” he added later. “Why would I hold all these women? Their mothers and fathers told me, ‘We’re gonna destroy your career.'”
Kelly continued his intense defense of himself, even leaping out of his chair and screaming.
“Y’all killing me with this s**t. I gave you 30 years of my f**king career. 30 years of my career!” Kelly yelled, before a voice-over from King told viewers that they paused the interview for Kelly’s publicist to calm him down. “Y’all trying to kill me! You’re killing me, man! This is not about music! I’m trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can’t do it! Y’all just don’t want to believe the truth! You don’t want to believe it!”
“… There’s real girls out there missing. There’s real girls out there being abducted, being raped. OK? They really are on chains. They really do have chains on their wrists and they can’t get out… This is not me,” he continued. “… I need somebody to help me not have a big heart. Because my heart is so big people betray me and I keep forgiving them… I’m just telling the truth. And the reason I’m emotional — and I apologize for that — is because this is the first time I was able to say something. I’ve said nothing.”
Later, Kelly reiterated that he is speaking out to have a relationship with his children, not in an attempt to repair his reputation and career. Despite that, he does think that people should “absolutely” continue to buy his music.
“I think they should, although a lot of them may not,” he said of people purchasing his music. “But like I said, I’m really not really fighting for my career here. I’m fighting for my rights and I’m fighting to have a relationship with my kids, most of all, more than anything. I want a relationship with my kids because I have missed a lot of years of their life. They love me. I love them.”
Kelly said that he’d “bet his breath” that his children -Joann, 21, Jay, 19, and Robert, 17 – want to have a relationship with him. “But they’re pressured and I get it. They’re pressured, so I get it. But I believe that’s gonna change in due time.”
He also said that if one of his children said they had experienced the abuse he’s accused of he’d “be up in the mother f**king everything up.”
“Then I would have to arrest myself after I did what I had to do,” he added.
Additionally, Kelly denied the thought that his past abuse – he’s previously said that he was molested from ages seven to 13 – has affected his life in any way outside of his music.
“It hasn’t affected me at all. I mean it has affected me in a way, though. It affected me in this way: anything I’ve been through… or any struggles I’ve had in my past has affected my music,” he said. “… I know people think, ‘Oh, he was abused. That’s why he’s doing that.’ No no no no.”
“… When you’re R. Kelly and you’re famous and your name is ringing 25 million times a day all over the world of people trying to get money from you… and they’re using your past, they’re using the past allegations, the past case that he beat to link it on to that, OK? They’re using that,” he said.
While Kelly denied all the charges against him, he did say that he has done “lots of things wrong when it comes to women.”
“I apologized in those relationships at the time I was in the relationship, OK?” he said.
Kelly also spoke about his current relationship with two younger women; 23-year-old Joycelyn Savage and 21-year-old Azriel Clary, saying that age does not matter to him and that he “just look[s] at legal.”
“I love them and it’s almost like they’re my girlfriends. It’s like, you know, we have a relationship. It’s real,” he said. “And I know guys, I’ve known guys all my life, that have five or six women, OK? So don’t go there on me, OK? Because that’s the truth.”
“I don’t look at much younger than me, I just look at legal,” he continued. “I just look at, you’re you, I’m me. Now I don’t know if you’re married. I don’t know. I don’t know if you had a relationship. I don’t know. But one might be older than the other, one might be younger than the other, OK? So I just look at legal, OK? There are older men that like younger women. There are younger women that like older men… I’m an older man that loves all women.”
Additionally, Kelly spoke out against the people in the music industry – including Lady Gaga and John Legend – who have spoken out against him in light of the documentary.
“The interesting thing about this is the fact, working with Lady Gaga. She’s a very great talent and all. And it’s unfortunate that her intelligence go to such a short level when it comes to that,” he said. “You know, I have nothing against none of these artists. But I think it’s not professional for them to do that. Because something like this can happen to any artist. Anybody famous. Anybody famous can get accused of so many different things.”
Kelly again pointed to his celebrity status as a possible reason why people would make claims against him that he says are not true.
“You can start a rumor on a guy like me or a celebrity, just like that. All you have to do is push a button on your phone and say, ‘So-and-so did this to me. R. Kelly did this to me,'” he said. “And if you get any traction from that, if you’re able to write a book from that, if you’re able to a get a reality show, then any girl that I had a relationship in the past that it just didn’t work out, she can come and say the same exact thing.”
“I’m talking about the power of social media,” he added. “… So nobody’s allowed to be mad at me and be scorned and lie on me? I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive, but I’m alive.”
On Feb. 22, Kelly turned himself in to police after he was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, Illinois. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said during a press conference that the charges against Kelly allegedly involve four victims – including three minors – with claims spanning back to 1998.
“Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a class 2 felony with a sentencing range of 3-7 years per count,” Foxx noted.
Following Kelly’s arrest, the singer’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, spoke to the media and slammed the charges.
“I think all the women are lying,” Greenberg said. “Unfortunately the State’s Attorney has now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti and Gloria Allred, and brought these charges. Mr. Kelly is strong. He’s got a lot of support, and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges, one by one if it has to be.”
Kelly made his first court appearance on Feb. 23, and his bond was set at $1 million. However, Greenberg said the R&B singer didn’t have the 10 percent — or $100,000 bail – that he needed to post, CBS Chicago reported. Kelly thus spent the weekend in jail and returned to court on Feb. 25, when Greenberg pleaded not guilty on his client’s behalf. Kelly eventually posted bail later that evening and was released from Cook County Jail.
The singer’s next court appearance is set for March 8.
For more on the case, watch the video below:
R. Kelly Leaves Jail After Posting Bail for Multiple Sexual Abuse Charges
R. Kelly Pleads Not Guilty, Remains Jailed on Sex Abuse Charges
R. Kelly Can’t Afford to Post Bail After Judge Sets $1 Million Bond