R. Kelly's Ex-Wife Breaks Her Silence: 'What He Did to Me Was Criminal'

One of the voices conspicuously missing to date in the ongoing story of R. Kelly's alleged sexual abuse scandal is that of the singer's ex-wife, Andrea Kelly. The dancer/choreographer who was married to Kelly from 1996-2009, and who is the mother of his three children, had been strangely silent on the allegations that Kelly has been keeping a group of young women in what has been deemed a "sex cult" for several years, reportedly controlling their movements, access to the outside world and even their bathroom habits.

But on Wednesday, Kelly broke that silence in an interview with TV One's Sister Circle daytime talk show, telling the show's hosts that the singer abused her throughout their 13-year marriage and that at the point just before she left, she contemplated suicide because of her despair. 

“My truth is, Robert, you don’t get to tell my story. That is my truth. You should have never put me in your book," she said, addressing claims the singer made about her in his 2013 memoir Soulacoaster. "And if you’re going to put me in your book, then you’re going to tell the truth in the book. You don’t get to tell people that we got divorced because I had a problem with being a stay-at-home mom. We got divorced because I was no longer going to sit and be violated. What he did to me was criminal.” 

Remembering the day she walked away from the R&B star, a tearful Kelly described "playing sick" in bed all day and finally deciding that it was time to "end it." Looking out from the balcony of the hotel room she was sharing with her ex, she said she climbed up on the railing, one foot against the wall and the other over the ledge, picturing her bloody body on the street below.

Stepping back from the ledge and begging God to give he a sign, Kelly said a voice told her to type "domestic violence" into her laptop, all the while assuring herself that she was not the "teeth missing... broken bone girl" people think of when they picture domestic abuse. But then, on the domestic violence website she saw a questionnaire with 17 questions about abuse and "of the 17 Robert had done 15 to me," she said.

Andrea Kelly also sat with the parents of Joycelyn Savage, who have claimed that the singer has brainwashed their daughter and restricted their access to her, claims Savage has appeared to refute in handful of stilted media appearances. "I just want you to know that I stand in the gap for Joycelyn, and I know I understand it to a level that no police officer, no counselor, no judge, nobody will understand," Kelly told the Savages. Andrea Kelly said her parents and family had taken some of the same public actions to reach her as the Savages have in appealing to the press for help in contacting their daughter.

Blaming Kelly's ability to avoid prosecution or censure for his alleged actions on "enablers" who surround the singer and shield him from consequences, the Savages thanked Andrea Kelly for speaking out. Kelly explained that she's waited nearly a decade to break her silence because she feels that her ex-husband doesn't have anyone in his life who truly loves him or who will encourage him to face reality. "I don't believe that my ex-husband has enough people in his life to be real with him, to be honest with him, who care about his healing, who care about these family's healings," she said.

Andrea Kelly did not appear to directly confront the details of the current allegations against her ex-husband, which have played out in a series of exposes over the past year that culminated last month in a police report filed in Dallas by a woman who claims that Kelly knowingly infected her with an STD during an eight-month relationship that began when she was 19 years-old. The woman also claims that she was the victim of unlawful restraint, the furnishing of alcohol and illegal drugs to a minor and aggravated assault (via the alleged intentional STD infection). 

Through her lawyer, the woman further alleged that she was “being groomed to join Kelly’s sex cult,” allegations of which first arose last year when parents of two young women living with Kelly told Buzzfeed they believed their daughters were being manipulated, abused, and prevented from contacting family. “Kelly gradually introduced the cult to our client over the course of their relationship, culminating with an explanation that she would have to sign a contract and offer collateral information about herself and her family for Kelly’s protection,” the attorney’s statement said. After the relationship with Kelly ended, the latest accuser reached out to the parents of a woman named in last year’s Buzzfeed report, who apparently advised her to get tested for STDs.

Kelly, who turned 51 in January, has faced accusations of sexual misconduct and grooming underage women for more than 20 years. Last year’s Buzzfeed report — by journalist Jim DeRogatis, who has covered Kelly closely since receiving an anonymous sex tape that ultimately led to Kelly’s acquittal on child porn charges in 2008 — has led to intensified scrutiny. In the months since the explosive “cult” report, a former radio DJ has alleged similar sexual and psychological abuse, saying some victims were as young as 14. Another woman has said Kelly had sex with her while she was underage, then attempted to conceal the relationship by asking her to sign a false incriminating statement and a non-disclosure agreement.

The string of allegations against Kelly have given rise to the online #MuteRKelly movement, which has sought to get the singer banned from radio and concert appearances in an effort to shine a light on what they say is a "25 year history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse allegations." Kelly has consistently denied all allegations of misconduct; a spokesperson for the singer had not returned requests for comment at press time.