R. Kelly Says He’s ‘Fighting For His Life’ During Emotional First Interview Since Arrest

R. Kelly performs at the '18th Annual Soul Train Music Awards' in 2004
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested last month under a dark cloud of sexual abuse allegations. The claims were detailed in a six-part documentary released in January called Surviving R. Kelly and state that the 52-year-old sexually assaulted three teenage girls and another woman in separate incidents dating back over 20 years to 1998. The allegations further state that he was both physically and verbally abusive to them while he kept them against their will.

Upon his arrest in February, Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces but was forced to spend several days behind bars while he struggled to come up with the $100,000 bail that was set for his release.

Now he has given his first television interview following his arrest, according to CNN, and the stress of the situation seems to have resulted in an emotional breakdown on Kelly’s part.

Speaking to Gayle King of CBS This Morning, Kelly expressed that he is “fighting for his life” after the allegations and arrest. According to the singer, the allegations have been dreamed up by unspecified people from his past.

“They’re going back to the past and they trying to add all of this stuff now to that, to make all of the stuff that’s going on now [feel] real to people.”

Turning his attention directly to the camera and the audience beyond, he pointed out just how “stupid” it would be of him to “hold girls against their will.”

After emotionally appealing to the audience to “use their common sense,” Kelly looked as though he started crying.

Kelly insists that the allegations are nothing but rumors, and unfounded rumors at that.

Several stills released by CBS This Morning show Kelly in an emotional state, even at one point jumping to his feet and gesticulating wildly around the room as he appeared to proclaim his innocence and plead for the public to believe him. He seemed to go between distraught and furious throughout the interview.

Kelly faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and could face seven years behind bars for each if he is found guilty. Three of the victims are listed as being “between the ages of 13 and 17” at the time of the abuse. The fourth victim’s age was not made public.

Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s legal counsel, has stated that he firmly believes the women are all lying.

The full interview will be aired on CBS This Morning on Wednesday.