In a new interview with GQ, R.Kelly addresses his issues with illiteracy, relationship with Aaliyah and why he won’t comment on their rumored marriage and the infamous case surrounding him having sex with an underage girl. Check out a few excerpts.
Growing up having challenges reading:
Other kids could read, other kids could write, other kids could spell, they could do math,” he says. “I felt like an alien, I felt like an outcast. I felt like, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ My mother couldn’t answer it. My stepfather wasn’t really interested in it one way or another. And my brothers and sisters were so young at the time they wouldn’t do nothing but tease me about it. I was the ‘dummy’: ‘How you gon’ do this? You can’t even read!’
How he’s gotten better with reading:
Since my daughter showed me voice texts on my phone, I’ve gotten a lot better. I’m not a A student, I’m not even a B student, but I’ve gotten a lot better with the reading because of texts. And I can voice-text and say whatever I want to people. And then they text me back and I take my time and I can read through it.
As a child, a family friend, a man, trying to persuade Kelly to masturbate him for money:
It was a crazy weird experience. But not a full-blown experience, because it didn’t go down. Contact sexual—no. A visual—absolutely. A visual from him showing me his penis and all that stuff.”
Being sexually abused by a woman as a child:
At first, I couldn’t judge it. I remember it feeling weird. I remember feeling ashamed. I remember closing my eyes or keeping my hands over my eyes. I remember those things, but couldn’t judge it one way or the other fully.
How he feels about being sexually assaulted as a child now:
I, well, definitely forgive them. 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.
If he can relate to being angry about losing an innocence that shouldn’t have been lost:
Absolutely, yes. It teaches you to definitely be sexual earlier than you should have, than you’re supposed to. You know, no different than putting a loaded gun in a kid’s hand—he gonna grow up being a shooter, probably. I think it affects you tremendously when that happens at an early age. To be more hornier. Your hormones are up more than they would normally be. Mine was.
If he thinks that set him on a path that he’s kept on:
Yeah. In a lot of ways, absolutely. I think so.
What he saw in Aaliyah musically when he started working with her:
Aaliyah? I heard first of all this soft voice, but very…a lot of charisma. And I saw her as a star the minute I heard her sing and dance. Saw her dance. She wasn’t the greatest dancer, but the dance moves she was doing were different than the other dancers that I’ve seen on television. And I said, ‘This girl’s gonna be a star, whether I work with her or not.’
How he describes his relationship with Aaliyah:
Uh, I would describe it as best friends. Deep friends. As far as we both loved music and wanted to be successful. She’s a Capricorn, I’m a Capricorn, my momma a Capricorn, her daddy’s a Capricorn, you know. It was just so much in common with each other.
If he was in love with Aaliyah:
Yes. I would say I loved ‘liyah.
How he was ‘in love’ with Aaliyah:
Well, there’s a lot of ways to be in love with a person. I was in love with my grandfather, you know. But yeah, I would say I was in love with Aaliyah just like I was in love with anybody else. But in a different, friend type of way.
Reports that he had a marriage ceremony with Aaliyah:
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. 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.
Well, unfortunately when there’s two parties involved in any situation, both parties have to be respected. Sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself in a way to respect someone else’s wishes, and to respect someone else’s passing…. People can say, ‘Hey, well, he’s just trying to protect hisself.’ Well, I have nothing to protect myself from. I’m still successful, and I’ve got an album out now, I’m gonna move on after this interview and go to the next interview and do another interview, and these questions are going to be asked. I did the best I could by writing my book and putting it out there for whoever wants to read about Robert. [Aaliyah is not mentioned in Kelly’s book.] Can’t satisfy everybody, unfortunately. I wish that I could.
If it was R.Kelly in the video, with an underage girl:
[pause] Because of my lawyers, to this day I cannot have those kind of conversations. Being advised by my lawyers in this.
If he’s watched Dave Chapelle’s skit, making fun of him urinating on another woman:
No, I haven’t.
Click here for the full interview.