Pop Culture

R. Kelly Reveals Childhood Sexual Abuse, Defends Bill Cosby in GQ

Singer opens up about everything we’ve wanted to know.

Over the course of three days, R. Kelly gave GQ full access to ask him anything. In one of the most revealing (and strange) interviews the singer has ever done, the 48-year-old opens up about his tortured past and how it relates to Bill Cosby. 

R. Kelly says that he suffered childhood sexual abuse beginning around the time he was seven years old. One incident involved a male family friend who tried to persuade him to manually get him off for money, which Kelly refused. “It was a crazy weird experience,” he says. “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.”  Later, an older, female relation began a sexual relationship with him that carried on until he was a teenager. “At first, I couldn't judge it,” he says. “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.”

The abuse only stopped once Kelly had a girlfriend. “When I started having a girlfriend, I felt really bad about it. Then I started getting older and knowing that's just not supposed to happen.”

In the same sit down, Kelly compares his sexual abuse case—he was acquitted of having sex with underage girls—to the drama around Bill Cosby. In Kelly’s mind, he seems to think that the Cosby victims are lying because they waited so long to testify. “And when you wait 70 years, 50 years, 40 years, to say something that simple, it's strange. You know why I say that is because it happened to me, and it wasn't true,” he explains. Now’s probably not the time to defend Bill Cosby, R.

For everything you ever wanted to know about R. Kelly, check out the full interview here.

Read more about: Pop Culture

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