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 Kelly has no interest in seeing the tape in question ...

Page 2

 Kelly says he was 'like a godfather' to Sparkle's niece ...

Page 3

 Why he chose to settle previous cases where he was accused of having sex with underage girls ...

Page 4

 John Norris asks Kelly about his marriage to Aaliyah ...

Page 5

 'Sometimes I'm R. Kelly and I really just wanna be Robert' ...

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(This interview took place in May 2002.)

Since early 2002, R. Kelly has been facing serious allegations of statutory rape and child pornography, ever since a videotape surfaced that allegedly shows the singer having sex with an underage girl. While the singer had defended himself via local Chicago media, until this interview, he had yet to address the matter on a national level.

Kelly agreed to speak with MTV News' John Norris on May 9, 2002, in Atlanta, with one stipulation MTV News could ask him anything, so long as we didn't whip out the videotape in question and make him look at it. Even though we could ask anything, he didn't necessarily answer everything (on the advice of his lawyer, who was also in the room). Kelly did open up about having what he called a "problem with women," for which he said he was seeking help. Despite this, he categorically denied being the man in the tape a tape which he said he had not yet seen and insisted it must have been doctored. Here, Kelly talks about the scandal, the backlash and the effect both have had on him.

John Norris: It's been three months since this videotape surfaced at the Chicago Sun-Times, and it's now in the hands of the Chicago police. For the most part during that time you haven't said anything. Can you tell me why you decided to speak out now?

"I had to come out and say something"
R. Kelly: For the fans. For me. My life, my family. Of course lawyers tell you when things like this happen you don't say a word. From the beginning I wanted to speak — believe me, I was gritting my teeth every time I would hear something negative about me or something that's not true about me. It hurt me and I wanted to say something really bad, but unfortunately, even now I have one hand tied behind my back. But I had to come out and say something, because I know my fans are out there and they want to hear me talk. Everybody else wants to hear me talk. I wanted to hear myself talk.

Norris: You and your lawyers have already stated that no videotape exists of you engaged in sex with an underage woman.

Kelly: That is correct.

Norris: I understand you haven't seen this one tape in question.

Kelly: No.

Norris: And I was told you don't want to see it. Is that right?

Kelly: I have no interest in seeing anything that I know I haven't done. It would make me look bad to go look at something that is not me.

Norris: You don't have any desire to see this so you can refute it?

Kelly: Maybe when all of this is over I'd say, "Well let me see that thing, let me see what it is," but right now it doesn't make sense for me to want to see something that is not me. First of all, if it's as disgusting as people say it is and as crazy as people say it is ... I have no interest in seeing some man with a woman whether she's underage or not underage, I have no interest in that.

Norris: Videotaping sex in general is not that unheard of. One could argue that Pam and Tommy Lee's careers were revived as a result of their tape coming out. Have you ever taped your sexual encounters?

Kelly: I've done a lot of things that I regret. I've done a lot of things that are wrong. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to lay out all of my sins. I got a lot that's in me that I'm dealing with personally, and I'm seeking help. I've been talking to a pastor, Reverend Meeks in Chicago, and he's been counseling me on some personal things that I'm going through. But I'm not a guy that would do what people are saying. There are a lot of people out there saying that R. Kelly is a monster, and I just think there are a lot of people out there that are misinformed about who I am.

Norris: You've said you've done some things wrong. I wouldn't call videotaping sex something wrong, but would you rather not talk about whether that's something you've done in the past?

NEXT: Sparkle claims her 14-year-old niece is the girl on the tape in question. Kelly says he was 'like a godfather' to the girl ...
Photo: MTV News

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