It’s a question R&B fans have been asking for more than a decade – did R. Kelly really marry Aaliyah?
In an unrestricted interview with GQ Magazine, the Grammy winner spoke candidly about the allegations and his relationship with the then 15-year-old girl.
Kelly, who was 27 at the time, said he knew from the very beginning that Aaliyah, his manager’s teen niece, was “gonna be a star, whether I work with her or not,” he told GQ during an interview in his hometown of Chicago.
Kelly said the two were “best friends, deep friends,” and admitted that he was in love with her “just like I was in love with anybody else.”
But when it came to addressing the questions surrounding the pair’s rumored marriage, which reports claim was quickly annulled, Kelly said that, out of respect for Aaliyah's family and because of her passing, “I will never have that conversation with anyone.”
He acknowledged that Aaliyah, who died at the age of 22 in a tragic plane crash, can no longer speak for herself, but said “there was a time that she was plenty here, after that rumor and all of that stuff started.”
“Her mother, her father, anybody else could speak and say whatever they wanted,” he said.
When asked if Kelly did anything in that situation that he feels bad about or that was wrong, Kelly answered with “absolutely not.”
The interview tackled several hard-hitting, sensitive topics in Kelly’s life, including the years of sexual abuse he says he suffered as a child at the hands of a relative and the child pornography charges he later faced. The same topics that prompted him to walk out of a live interview with the Huffington Post last month.
Kelly was acquitted of the child pornography charges in 2009 after being found not guilty by a jury. The verdict ended a six-year saga that began when a videotape surfaced of a man looking like Kelly having sex with a girl believed to be as young as 13. Kelly denied he was the man in the videotape, and the girl in the video never testified.
Kelly would not address in his latest interview whether he was guilty or innocent in the case, saying his lawyers advised him not to “have those kind of conversations,” but said that “when a person is found not guilty, they’re found not guilty.”
But when it came to discussing what is arguably one of the most talked-about moments in Kelly’s past, and has since been the target of a famed Dave Chappelle skit, Kelly said urination is “absolutely not” something he enjoys in intimate moments.
He noted that, despite being found not guilty, many associate the urinating man with him, and although it used to make him feel “terrible,” he no longer cares.
Kelly claimed he has been treated unfairly.
He didn’t shy away from commenting on the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, saying “there something strange” about them.
"When you wait 70 years, 50 years, 40 years, to say something that simple, it's strange,” he told GQ. “You know why I say that is because it happened to me, and it wasn't true."
When it comes to his music, Kelly also made a perplexing admission about his famous hit “Ignition (Remix),” revealing that he actually wrote the remixed version five years before he wrote the original “Ignition.”
When asked how that’s possible, Kelly only replied with “You tell me.”