When R. Kelly's longtime publicist Regina Daniels announced her resignation last November, she didn't give a reason why, other than to say that the singer had "crossed a line." People wondered what that line was, prompting months of speculation and rumors, which centered on Kelly's alleged relationship with Daniels' daughter.
Now, the publicist's husband, music retailer George Daniels, who had also worked with Kelly, is talking — and confirming that Kelly's relationship with the couple's college-age daughter caused them to disassociate from the embattled R&B singer, currently awaiting trial on child-pornography charges.
In an interview with Los Angeles urban radio station KJLH, George Daniels expressed outrage that R. Kelly, who he said was "like a son" to him and his wife, would have gotten into a secret relationship with his 21-year-old daughter, Maxine, who has known Kelly since she was 7 and "in essence ... would be his sister." Daniels called it a "betrayal." Maxine, her father said, was lured away from her studies by Kelly's expensive gifts, which included a car. "When a child is sidetracked, when a child is persuaded to lie, to go against [her parents' wishes]," George told KJLH, "when you have the toys and the gifts and the shopping sprees ... that'll turn anybody."
Daniels said he had no "sense of [Kelly's] intentions" toward Maxine — until she disclosed the relationship to him and his wife at a party. "It didn't get to that extreme of [the alleged sex tape]," Daniels said, "but he crossed the line." While acknowledging that Maxine is an adult, Daniels said that she was still "vulnerable," pointing out that people in her age range can still be "15 or 16 mentally." "People in power, especially entertainers, take advantage," Daniels said. "I confronted him, and he denied it, lied to me to my face.
"Where's the integrity in a man's life when he can turn against someone who loved him like I did?" Daniels asked. "It's a painful thing. It tears at your heart."
For his part, Kelly, who has been separated from his wife since 2005, said via a spokesman that George and Regina Daniels not only knew about the relationship, but they also encouraged it while Regina was still on Kelly's payroll. "It was Regina Daniels ... who persuaded [Kelly] to attend her stepdaughter's 21st birthday party," the spokesman said. "And it was Regina Daniels who shortly thereafter gave her stepdaughter Mr. Kelly's private phone number, with the admonition: 'Don't tell your father.' "
Kelly's spokesman claimed Daniels resigned to avoid being fired "for incompetence," and it was only afterward that the relationship became an issue for her and her husband. As for their outrage, "It's hard to take seriously," the spokesman said.
George Daniels said Maxine's grades at Northern Illinois University slipped during the relationship, but she's "fine" now. "Her grades are back up," he said. Daniels said his motivation in going public was to encourage other parents "to pay attention" so they can avoid a similar situation. "It doesn't have to be a superstar," he said.