NEW YORK. – R Kelly’s marriage to late singer Aaliyah has been one of the many shocking details to have resurfaced during the sex abuse trial.
The 90s singer, 55, was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking following a federal trial in New York in September last year.
Performer R Kelly, whose full name is Robert Kelly, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.
He was branded a “predator” who used his fame to “prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification”.
During the trial, it was revealed that Kelly was accused of bribing a government employee to overlook Aaliyah’s age so the pair could wed in 1994 – when Aaliyah was just 15 years old.
The singer met Aaliyah through her uncle Barry Hankerson, who was Kelly’s manager at the time.
Barry brought a 12-year-old Aaliyah into the studio and had her sing for Kelly. The pair then began spending time together as Kelly produced the singer’s debut album, which he titled Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.
However, their relationship soon turned sour – with accusations of sexual abuse, pregnancy and a fraudulent marriage licence so Aaliyah could have an abortion.
Kelly was accused of bribing the Illinois government employer on 30 August 1994 so he could obtain a fake ID for the late singer, who died in 2001.
The fake ID, which claimed her age was 18, was then used to obtain a marriage license so a then 27-year-old Kelly could wed the singer, who’s full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, named as Jane Doe one in the federal indictments.
During the 2021 trial it was also claimed by a victim, under the pseudonym Jane Doe five, that Kelly obtained the marriage license so Aaliyah could get an abortion with his legal consent.
The claims Aaliyah fell pregnant with Kelly’s child at 15 emerged in a 2011 book titled The Man Behind the Man: Looking from the Inside out.
The book was written by Demetrius Smith Sr, a former member of Kelly’s team, claimed Kelly “wanted to burst out in tears” upon his suspicions Aaliyah was with a child.
It read: “’I think she’s pregnant’ he said, in a voice that sounded as if he wanted to burst out in tears. ‘Oh man, Rob’ was all I could say at the time.
“Derrel McDavid arranged for a car to pick Aaliyah up at O’Hare airport and she had a hotel room available on arrival. This was crazy! How were we going to get through this without causing ill feelings with Barry Hankerson.”
And, on Mother’s Day in 2016, music producer Timbaland reportedly shared a tribute to Aaliyah on Instagram before it was deleted.
However, the share was seen by fans, leading many to question if her pregnancy was widely known within the industry.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg said his client had “no idea” Aaliyah was 15 when they married.
He said last year: “My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age.”
In December 1994’s issue of Vibe magazine, the marriage license between Kelly and Aaliyah was printed, listing the rapper’s age as 27 and his so-called proteges’s age as 18, when she was 15 at the time.
The license application date was recorded as 30 August 1994, a day after Kelly allegedly paid the bribe.
Months later, the marriage was annulled and both Kelly and Aaliyah denied it ever took place.
Following the annulment, Rock The Boat singer Aaliyah refused to speak about what had happened. – The Mirror.