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‘Aaliyah Looked Worried,’ R. Kelly Confidant Recalls As Series Explores His Alleged Marriage To 15-Year-Old Singer
R. Kelly’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith claims in the new Lifetime docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly" that he forged paperwork to say Aaliyah was 18 when she was actually three years younger.
A new docu-series has exposed disturbing details about R. Kelly’s alleged abuse of multiple women and girls, including his supposed marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was a teenager.
“Surviving R. Kelly,” a six-episode docu-series airing on Lifetime, makes unsettling allegations about Kelly's relationship with the singer.
Kelly met Aaliyah when she was just 12. He was introduced to her through Barry Hankerson, her uncle and his manager. Kelly and his team then took her under their (arguably creepy) wings as she began her recording career.
Kelly’s former backup singer Jovante Cunningham said that she and Kelly's entourage “taught [Aaliyah] her street thang, gave her her vibe, taught her how to be an artist, in the sense of having a stage presence.”
She also claimed she caught the pair having sex, when Aaliyah was just 15.
Kelly’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith claims in the documentary that Kelly confided in him that he believed he may have gotten Aaliyah pregnant, when she was still 15 and he was 27.
Smith said he was present when the pair secretly married, also when Aaliyah was just 15. He claimed he even had forged the paperwork to make it look like Aaliyah was 18, a move he admitted he was “not proud” of.
“Aaliyah looked worried,” he said. “Scared. Worried and scared. I wanted so much to grab Aaliyah and talk to her. … She gave me a look like she wanted me to talk to her. That’s why I feel like I failed them, both of them. I knew that it had changed the course of everything.”
One of the biggest hits off Aaliyah’s debut album was the 1994 song “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.”
"The title song is about a young girl who is trying to get an older guy to go all the way with her," music journalist Touré says in the show. "It’s frightening and it’s disgusting."
VIBE first published an alleged wedding certification in their December 1994 issue, reporting that a wedding between the two artists took place a few months earlier in Illinois. That story, which referred to Aaliyah as his “15-year-old protege” fueled rumors about their relationship for years.
If the allegations are true, then the marriage was illegal. One must be 16 years of age to wed in Illinois.
R. Kelly has long denied the secret wedding, previously telling GQmagazine that he “will never have that conversation with anyone.”
However, he did say “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.”
He's also threatened to sue Lifetime over the series, which chronicles his alleged sexual and physical abuse of multiple women, TMZ reports.
Many viewers of the docu-series, including some celebrities, took to Twitter to express their sadness over how the 15-year-old budding star was allegedly failed by the adults in her life.
Aaliyah died in 2001 in a plane crash in the Bahamas, where she was filming a video. She was just 22.
[Photos: Getty Images]