BBMAs 2018

R. Kelly Talks Sexual Abuse as a Child, Aaliyah Relationship & Allegations With GQ

 Sebastian Kim for GQ
R. Kelly posed for GQ.

R. Kelly delves a bit deeper into his past than expected for GQ's latest cover story. The 48-year-old entertainer -- who has repeatedly dodged the sexual allegations that have haunted his career and recently made an on-camera exit during an intense interview with Huffington Post -- unpacks a lot from his past, specifically addressing being sexually abused from the age of 7 or 8, as well as the hefty allegations that surfaced against him in 2000.

“Back then, too young to judge. As I'm older, I've only learned to forgive it," he explains of the abuse, brought on by an individual he refers to as a relative. "Was it wrong? Absolutely. But it's a family member that I love so I would definitely say no to that one. To be honest, even if my mom, I saw her kill somebody, I'm not gonna say, ‘Well, yeah, she definitely should go to jail.’ It's just something I wouldn't do.”

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When asked about the concept of losing innocence under those circumstances, Kelly relates. “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. To be more hornier. Your hormones are up more than they would normally be. Mine was.”

At one point, the singer recalls his relationship with Aaliyah, sharing how he believes they were both in love. 

“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," he said. "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.”

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While he isn't forthcoming with details about their marriage, he does agree with this loaded question: "But here's what seems difficult from the outside. Sadly, Aaliyah can't speak for herself, and people have what they think is a very clear idea of the situation—that the two of you got married, that you were having a sexual relationship. Right now, that's the record as far as people are concerned. Those are the facts."

“Right," Kelly said. 

The lengthy profile -- which spanned over three meetings with the singer -- covers the life-changing accusations that surfaced from a Chicago Sun-Times article in 2000 and a sex tape uncovered by police in 2002 that showed a man who resembled Kelly having sex with a young woman, and at one point, urinating in her mouth. The most awkward exchange comes when writer Chris Heath asks about him that detail.

Heath: "Well, to ask the embarrassing question -- to give you a chance to clarify something -- and this wouldn't be illegal, but is that something you like as part of sex?"

Kelly: “Absolutely not.”

Heath: "In no circumstances?"

Kelly: “No.”

Kelly tightened his lips again when it comes to addressing if the man in the video is indeed him. 

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“Well, to be honest with you, man…however, whatever, whenever," Kelly continued. "When a person is found not guilty, they're found not guilty. And it doesn't matter if it's a murder case, it doesn't matter what case it is, when they're found not guilty, they're not guilty. And I think that a lot of haters out there wanted to see me go down.”

Heath: "Sure. But let me ask a simple question: Is that you in that video?"

Kelly: “[pause] Because of my lawyers, to this day I cannot have those kind of conversations. Being advised by my lawyers in this.”

Heath: "I understand why you wouldn't during the trial period, but…"

Kelly: “Because they could come back to haunt me. Things could come back and they can just restart all over again. And I have to protect myself.”

Kelly goes on to discuss his thoughts on Bill Cosby's accusers and the passing of his mother. Read the full interview here.