For over two decades, throughout the ups and downs of his music career, singer R. Kelly has been accused of serious sexual, psychological and physical abuse by over a dozen women, including seven in just the last 15 months. He has faced little to no recourse for his alleged actions, which he continues to deny.
On Friday, another woman added her voice to the chorus: Kelly’s wife from 1996 to 2009, and mother to three of his kids, Andrea Kelly. She appeared on The View and spoke candidly, for the first time publicly, about the abuse she said she endured during their 13-year marriage. R. Kelly did not respond to The View’s request for comment, but has continued to denied all allegations of abuse.
“His forearm was on my neck, so, as he’s pressing down, my breathing is getting labored,” Kelly told the hosts of The View about the time the singer allegedly tried to asphyxiate her as they sat in the backseat of a Hummer, an incident she said gave her PTSD. “And the only reason I think I made it out is because I said, Robert, you’re going to kill me. I can’t breathe. You have to get your arm off of my neck.’ I just thought , ‘Oh, my god. I’m going to die in the back of this Hummer. He’s going to drive off with my body in the backseat, and nobody’s going to know.”
Andrea Kelly described another occasion when the singer allegedly left her bound and hogtied in their bed, while he slept soundly beside her. In 2005, she got an order of protection against him, after he hit her when she said she wanted to get a divorce; they stayed married for another four years. The abuse made her suicidal, Kelly said, but it wasn’t until she climbed over the railing of a balcony and considered jumping that she found the courage to take another leap instead.
“I looked down and God allowed me to see myself laying in blood,” Kelly told The View hosts. “That was my darkest moment … The fact that I was willing to leave [my children] let me know the best thing you have to do for you and your children to live is leave [him].”
Divorced in 2009, Kelly said she decided to speak out now in solidarity with the other women who have accused her ex-husband of physical and sexual violence. Women like Kitti Jones, who told Rolling Stone last year that R. Kelly was abusive throughout their two year relationship. Women like the half-dozen alleged victims who told Buzzfeed last year, that the singer “groomed” them and other young women for his “sex cult.” Women like Jerhonda Pace, who, in the wake of Buzzfeed’s article, broke a non-disclosure agreement when she came forward to accuse the singer of raping her when she was underage. Women like Patrice Jones, who sued the singer three times for allegedly impregnating her when she was underage and forcing her to have an abortion.
“It’s about saving lives,” Kelly said on The View. “You cannot not speak when someone’s life and what they’ve been through is parallel to yours, when you hear words that ring true to your spirit because you’ve survived it and been through it. I wanted to bring validity to these women’s stories. So much of it falls on deaf ears, and no one believes them. It’s true. I’ve been through it. The things that these women are saying, they would not know my life unless they’ve been through it, too. I have to speak up.”