R. Kelly’s ex-wife, Drea Kelly, spoke out against the R&B singer and highlighted the impact the legacy of his crimes will have on their three children.
R. Kelly was found guilty on all nine counts in his racketeering and sex trafficking in his case on Monday. The singer, 54, was facing one count of racketeering including 14 underlying acts of sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking charges. Charges went back more than two decades. Kelly was also charged with eight violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
Now, ahead of his sentencing in May, Drea sat down with “Good Morning Britain” to discuss what the guilty verdict means for her, her children and her fellow victims.
“I sit in a very difficult place because unlike the rest of his victims, I share children with him. I was married to him,” she began.
Drea Kelly shared her thoughts on her ex-husband, R. Kelly, in the wake of his guilty verdict. (Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)
The duo was married from 1996 until 2009. In that time, Drea has alleged that R. Kelly abused her sexually and mentally, creating an environment in which she felt she needed to “walk on eggshells” around the star for fear he would get upset and therefore subject her to more abuse. Despite the fact that he continues to deny any wrongdoing, the guilty verdict marks a massive win for R. Kelly’s accusers. While that includes Drea, she notes that she is in a unique spot given the family ties she has with him.
“So, I wear two hats. I wear the hat of a survivor and an advocate, but I also wear the hat of a mother and an ex-wife,” she explained. “So, it’s very difficult for me. I feel that my heart is in two places. My heart definitely goes out to the survivors and the courage it takes to even come forward and tell their story.”
She added: “But my heart also breaks as a mother because this is now the legacy that my children will have to deal with and their children’s children at the end of the day. You cannot walk away from your bloodline. I have the ability to separate and kind of distance myself from it, but his blood runs through my children’s veins. It’s a part of their DNA. They can’t escape it even if they wanted to, so it’s very difficult for me to sit in that position.”
R. Kelly was found guilty on all nine counts in his sex trafficking trial. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Given her 13-year marriage to R. Kelly and the fact that some of the victim’s complaints go back for decades, Drea was asked if the justice she and the other women are experiencing right now was too long in the making.
“If any of his victims were blonde-haired and blue-eyed, it wouldn’t have taken this long,” she alleged. “Women of color tend to be lowest on the totem pole when it comes to subjects of domestic violence and sexual abuse. So, it’s really sad that it took this long, but I guess we’re making some movements forward.”