American superstar Robert Sylvester Kelly, popularly known as R. Kelly, has shared his whole life story with Chris Heath of GQ Magazine.
According to the GQ Magzine, R. Kelly agreed to speak without restrictions. It is a story about the difficult places he came from and how he became who he is now. It is also the story of a man who has been publicly accused of multiple sexual offenses with underage women, and who stood trial for making child pornography, marriage to late singer Aaliyah at 15 and more.
See excerpts below.
Inability to Read
On his inability to read as a child: Other kids could read, other kids could write, other kids could spell, they could do math. I felt like an alien, I felt like an outcast. I felt like, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ My mother couldn’t answer it. My stepfather wasn’t really interested in it one way or another. And my brothers and sisters were so young at the time they wouldn’t do nothing but tease me about it. I was the ‘dummy’: ‘How you gon’ do this? You can’t even read!’
On still struggling with reading as an adult: Since my daughter showed me voice texts on my phone, I’ve gotten a lot better. I’m not a A student, I’m not even a B student, but I’ve gotten a lot better with the reading because of texts. And I can voice-text and say whatever I want to people. And then they text me back and I take my time and I can read through it.
Sexual Abuse as a Child
On hiding his sexual abuse from his mother: put [it] so far in the back of my mind that I even forgot about it. As I got older, the more I just didn’t want it to be in my past. The more I became successful.
On one of his sexual abuse experiences: It was a crazy weird experience. But not a full-blown experience, because it didn’t go down. Contact sexual—no. A visual—absolutely. A visual from him showing me his penis and all that stuff.
On another sexual abuse that lasted years: I tried to push her away, but she wouldn’t stop until she was finished. When she was, she said, “You better not say shit to no one or else you gonna get a terrible whupping.” At first, I couldn’t judge it. I remember it feeling weird. I remember feeling ashamed. I remember closing my eyes or keeping my hands over my eyes. I remember those things, but couldn’t judge it one way or the other fully. It became a regular thing. Every other day, every other week. As far as I can remember, about [age] 7 or 8 to maybe 14, 15. Something like that.
On confronting the person: Maybe eight, nine years ago. Didn’t want to talk about it. Didn’t own up to it. Told me, ‘Sometime when you’re kids, you think you’ve been through something, or did something, that you didn’t do, probably was a dream.’ Things like that. But it was definitely not a dream.
On rumours he married Aaliyah when she was 15: Well, because of Aaliyah’s passing, as I’ve always said, out of respect for her mother who’s sick and her father who’s passed, I will never have that conversation with anyone. Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mother and father who has asked me not to personally. But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close. We were, you know, best best best best friends.