n his first TV interview since being granted $100,000 (£76,000) bail in Chicago, singer R. Kelly emotionally claimed he was innocent of charges of sexual abuse.
On the CBS This Morning programme, he insisted that he was not guilty of 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four women, three of whom were minors at the time.
The singer has faced decades of sexual abuse claims without being convicted, and has denied all previous allegations.
R Kelly is in a Chicago jail, after being charged with sexually abusing four females, three of whom would have been underage at the time of the alleged crimes.
The charges – which he denies – come a month after a revealing, six-part documentary, Surviving R Kelly, which shone a spotlight on allegations of sexual misconduct against the star.
The stories go back to the start of his career in the 1990s, with many centring around the predatory pursuit of teenage girls.
The star was himself the victim of child sex abuse, detailing in his autobiography how he was raped by a female family member when he was eight years old.
He said that “she did it repeatedly for years” and warned him to keep it a secret.
The star, then aged 27, marries 15-year-old singer Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago.
Vibe magazine later discovered that Aaliyah had lied on the wedding certificate about her age, listing herself as 18. The marriage was annulled in February 1995.
For the rest of her career, Aaliyah dodged questions about the nature of her relationship. “When people ask me, I tell them, ‘Hey, don’t believe all that mess,'” she told one interviewer. “We’re close and people took it the wrong way.”
Kelly himself has rarely spoken about Aaliyah since she died in a plane crash in 2001. She is not mentioned in his autobiography, where his author’s note explains that “certain episodes could not be included for complicated reasons”.
In a 2016 interview with GQ magazine, he described their relationship as “best best best best friends”; but declined to comment on their marriage, saying: “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.”
In 1996, Tiffany Hawkins sues R Kelly for the “personal injuries and emotional distress” she suffered during a three-year relationship with the star.
In court documents, she said she began having sex with Kelly in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24, and the relationship ended three years later, when she turned 18. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Hawkins sought $10 million in damages, but accepted a fraction of that amount ($250,000) when the case was settled in 1998.
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