R. Kelly recently did an interview with GQ in which he agreed to “speak about his whole life without restrictions.” In his answer to a question that interviewer Chris Heath asked, Kelly pointed to Bill Cosby’s character in The Cosby Show as a man he tried to emulate in raising his own children. Heath followed up on that comment later in the interview by asking him his thoughts on the current charges against Cosby. Kelly answered, in part,
“… when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there’s something strange about it. That’s my opinion. It’s just strange.”
When asked if it matters how long they waited, if what they are saying is true, Kelly responded by saying,
“If God showed me that they were telling the truth, I would say that’s wrong. I don’t care if it was a zillion years ago. But God would have to do that, because God is the only one can show me that. No man can tell me that. No woman can tell me that. And when you wait 70 years, 50 years, 40 years, to say something that simple, it’s strange.”
In his 2012 memoir Soulacoaster, Kelly (who is now 49 years old) first mentioned sexual abuse he experienced as a child, from about the age of seven until he was about 14. In his GQ interview, he refers to the woman as a relative but doesn’t reveal who she was. He tells Chris Heath that he didn’t really understand it at the time, that he felt ashamed and weird, tried not to watch when it was happening. As Kelly grew older and he understood it was wrong, he felt his abuser got scared because they realized he was more clearly understanding the scope of what was going on and they slowly removed themselves from his life. Kelly says he has forgiven them now and that the behavior of his abuser was a “generational curse,” passed from one generation to another in his family. When asked if he can relate to anger over childhood sexual abuse because it steals a child’s innocence, he said,
“Absolutely, yes. It teaches you to definitely be sexual earlier than you should have, than you’re supposed to. You know, no different than putting a loaded gun in a kid’s hand—he gonna grow up being a shooter, probably. I think it affects you tremendously when that happens at an early age.
E! Online provides some details about Kelly’s legal issues several years ago when he was charged with possession of child pornography. He was charged with 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl. He was found not guilty of all charges.
There were also charges of his relationship with Aaliyah, the 15-year-old niece of his manager, being more than professional. He wrote a song titled “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” for her first album. They were seen spending a great deal of time together. There were even rumors that they were married after Vibe magazine produced a photo of what appeared to be a marriage certificate. The certificate indicated a false age of 18 for Aaliyah. The marriage was reportedly annulled six months later and the two never worked together or were seen together again.
When asked about Aaliyah, Kelly called them “deep friends,” adding that he is a Capricorn as was Aaliyah and her father so they had a lot in common. Regarding the wedding, Kelly said he will never talk about it out of respect for Aaliyah and her family. Kelly also would not comment about their relationship stating it was also out of respect for her and her family. Asked if he worried about his refusal to talk about it appearing to be a way of protecting himself instead of a way of respecting others, he said he was sure people would say that but that he would not talk about it and that he put his life out there in his book so people could read about it. Aaliyah is not mentioned in Kelly’s book. Asked if he did anything in relation to that experience that he feels bad about now, he said,
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That’s my answer forever: Absolutely not.”
[Photo courtesy of Al Bello/Getty Images]