More and more allegations continue to emerge against the embattled international singer, Robert Kelly better known by his stage name R. Kelly.
The Grammy award-winning singer is currently facing multiple count charges of child abuse, abusing women and girls for more than two decades, including kidnapping, forced labor and sending child pornography across state lines.
Prior to his legal woes, when people want to point to the starting point of Kelly’s history with minors, they usually reference his relationship with his teenage protégée, the late singer Aaliyah Haughton known simply as Aaliyah.
R. Kelly Reportedly Charged for Allegedly Bribing Official to Marry 15-Year-Old Aaliyah
Kelly mentored Aaliyah when she was 16 and he was 27. He went on to produce her debut album, coyly titled “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number”.
He later went on to marry her on August 31, 1994, with an official Illinois wedding certificate that stated that she was 18.
In light of his recent ordeals, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York have dug up new facts and filed a new charge against the “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker.
Kelly and others in his circle allegedly bribed a public official in Illinois to create a fake ID for “Jane Doe #1.”. This was a day before his wedding to Aaliyah.
The marriage was annulled months later and in the years since Aaliyah’s death at the age of 22, Kelly has described their relationship as “deep friends,” but has carefully avoided further comment.
In 2016, Kelly told GQ:
“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,” he added, “I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we were very close.”
It is noteworthy that this is not the first time the allegation of Kelly forging an identity document for Aaliyah is coming up. Journalist Jim DeRogatis’ recently published Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly, the singer’s former tour manager and personal assistant, Demetrius Smith, said that he obtained a fake ID on Aaliyah’s behalf. Smith repeated that assertion during an on-screen interview in the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which aired in January.
However, Thursday’s indictment is the first time that Kelly has faced criminal charges in relation to his marriage to Aaliyah.
Maintaining his innocence, Kelly has denied this new charge which is coming 25 years later after the crime was allegedly perpetrated.
Kelly continues to deny all allegations, which now include 19 federal charges and numerous separate sexual assault charges in Illinois, as well as multiple ongoing civil lawsuits.
Within months, the marriage was annulled, but it remained a subject of intense speculation directed at both Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22, and Kelly, who has described their relationship as “deep friends,” but has carefully avoided further comment. (For much of the 1990s, Kelly was managed by a man named Barry Hankerson, who was also Aaliyah’s uncle.)
In 2016, Kelly told GQ,
“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 too personally. But I can tell you,” he added, “I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we were very close.”
Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg also spoke to Good Morning America back in January in the wake of Surviving R. Kelly. Shrugging off the controversy surrounding the singer’s marriage to Aaliyah, Greenberg said:
“He was married to her when she was 15. Elvis was married to Priscilla,” he said. (Presley was 14 when she met her future husband.)
Greenberg added that Kelly had “no idea” of Aaliyah’s true age when they wed.
“But my understanding is that she [Aaliyah] did not claim to be 15. And in order to get married, she had to lie about her age.”