R. Kelly has been making the press rounds lately, but instead of focusing on his latest album, The Buffet, which dropped in December, the narrative has repeatedly circled back to his long history of sexual abuse allegations. This culminated in Kelly walking out of an on-camera Huff Post Live interview just before Christmas.
Now, Kelly's back in the press in a new interview with GQ where he speaks candidly about being abused as a child, his relationship with late R&B singer Aaliyah and the current case against Bill Cosby.
"Well, my opinion on that is, I don't know what happened. I'm a fan of Bill Cosby's from the Bill Cosby show, of course -- who's not? -- and for me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it's true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago," Kelly told the interviewer, Chris Heath. "And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there's something strange about it. That's my opinion. It's just strange."
This new interview is notable for Kelly's willingness to go deeper into aspects of his life that he's managed to stay relatively silent on, including his connection with Aaliyah, whose 1994 debut album he produced and co-wrote, and with whom he reportedly had a sexual relationship when she was still a teenager.
"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," Kelly 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."
Kelly also opened up about being sexually abused from "about [age] 7 or 8 to maybe 14, 15," something he's spoken about previously. In this interview, he revealed his abuser as a blood relative.
"I, well, definitely forgive them," Kelly said. "As I'm older, I look at it and I know that it had to be not just about me and them, but them and somebody older than them when they were younger, and whatever happened to them when they were younger. I looked at it as if there was a sort of like, I don't know, a generational curse, so to speak, going down through the family. Not just started with her doing that to me."