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'I Had To Get Therapy Over That:' Damon Dash Speaks Out About Aaliyah's Relationship With R. Kelly

While being interviewed for Lifetime’s newest "Surviving R. Kelly" series, Dash, who dated Aaliyah before her untimely death in 2011, said that he knew the "whole story."

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Disturbing Details of R. Kelly's Alleged Abuse of Four Victims

R. Kelly’s relationship with the late singer Aaliyah has once again come under scrutiny, this time during Lifetime’s recently premiered documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning.”

The sequel to the network’s smash hit 2018 series “Surviving R. Kelly” aims the magnifying glass at the singer again by delving into his history and taking a closer look at his hugely controversial marriage to the singer Aaliyah. While the late singer, born Aaliyah Haughton, was tight-lipped during her lifetime regarding her brief marriage to Kelly, Damon Dash, record producer and Aaliyah’s former boyfriend, was featured in “The Reckoning” and spoke about the effect that he believes Aaliyah’s relationship with her former mentor had on her.

“She just said he was a bad man, and she left it at that,” Dash said during episode two of the series. “I’m just saying, it just made her so uncomfortable, that I couldn’t know about it, because it would've made me too uncomfortable not to try to rectify that situation.”

He went on to explain that the situation led him to seek therapy, commenting, “But I just wouldn't have been able to tolerate, you know, knowing certain things and being in the same room with certain people. You know what I mean? Unless they're begging me not to. So, I had to get therapy over that.”

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Outlets began reporting in 1994 that Kelly and Aaliyah had gotten married, and a marriage certificate printed by Vibe magazine lists Aaliyah’s age as 18, although she was 15 at the time, while Kelly was 27. The marriage was annulled months later, due to her age, according to the Associated Press.

Kelly, who is currently facing numerous federal charges, was charged with bribery last month, with prosecutors alleging that he paid a bribe to a public employee in order to obtain “fraudulent identification document” for a girl described in the indictment as “Jane Doe,” the outlet reports. The ID, which was procured one day before Kelly married Aaliyah, was for the young singer, an anonymous source reportedly claimed. Kelly’s lawyer, meanwhile, has called the charge “ridiculous and absurd.”

Speaking during episode two of “The Reckoning,” Dash described Aaliyah as a “sacrificial lamb” in the situation, and lamented that those around her did not protect her when she was younger.

“If, like, people would have protected Aaliyah, so many other girls wouldn’t have got touched,” he said. “You understand what I'm saying? And whether they know they're in a bad place or not, the fact that they were able to get touched meant they were in a bad place, and they would've been able to get help earlier. You know, you shouldn't have to always learn from pain. Sometimes you can learn from other people. Like, Aaliyah was like the sacrificial lamb for all that, 'cause she didn't deserve none of that.”

He went on to call Aaliyah a “good girl” and a “good soul,” and explained that she wasn’t resentful toward her former mentor, and instead had a feeling of, “let that man live, but just keep him the f--k away from me.”

“That’s all she wanted. She was just happy to be away,” he continued.

Dash and Aaliyah met through his accountant in 2000, and the two were dating when she died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001 at the age of 22, Billboard reports. The music mogul said during the Lifetime series that he and Aaliyah were planning to get married before she passed. He also said he knew “the whole story.”

“I know it was to cover up and all of that,” he continued. “But how did that cover it up? It just made the conversation less crazy. ‘Oh, he married a child?’ That was a headline. That was, like, a rumor. That was something talked about like it was normal. It wasn’t like, ‘Ew, disgusting, you married a 13-year-old.’ It was like, ‘Oh you married Aaliyah?’ She’s 13.”

When a producer off-camera corrected Dash, stating that Aaliyah was actually 15 years old at the time of her marriage to Kelly, Dash remarked, “I don't have to be accurate 'cause I don't care. It's 15, 13. Anything under 18 is disgusting. You know what I mean? She was a child, bro.”

This isn’t the first time the Lifetime series has discussed Kelly’s alleged relationship with Aaliyah. The 52-year-old singer was known as having taken Aaliyah under his wing at the start of her career, and produced her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.”

During Lifetime’s first Kelly documentary, Jovante Cunningham, one of Kelly’s former backup dancers, claimed that she once witnessed Kelly having sex with Aaliyah on a packed tour bus.

“[I saw] things that an adult should not be doing with a child. He was having sex with Aaliyah,” Cunningham said during one episode.

Following the bombshell accusation, Aaliyah’s mother, Dianne Houghton, denied Cunningham’s story, calling it “lies and fabrications” and accusing Cunningham of trying to tarnish her daughter’s legacy. However, Cunningham stood by her claims in a statement issued to PEOPLE last year, commenting, “It’s unfortunate that there are still people trying to protect [R. Kelly] when they know he has destroyed so many people’s lives. I loved Aaliyah and when people watch the documentary, they will see how much I cared for her and how much Robert’s actions deeply affected me and so many others.”

Kelly has long been accused of sexual misconduct, with many allegations concerning his alleged encounters with underage girls. The backlash against Kelly took on new life following the release of Lifetime’s first Kelly documentary last year, and the disgraced singer, who is currently in custody in Illinois, is now facing various charges, many of them sex-related, in multiple states.

During the first episode of “The Reckoning,” Dash said that he had a strong reaction while watching the first episode of the first series last year.

“I was getting tight,” he explained. “I was with Aaliyah, so I knew exactly what went on and, you know, my thing was always, I didn’t understand why it took so long.”

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