• R. Kelly's ex-wife Andrea Kelly speaks out about domestic abuse during marriage

    By: Mitchell Northam, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:
    ATLANTA -

    It’s been less than a year since a BuzzFeed report claimed singer R. Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” at his homes. The day that story came out, on July 17, 2017, the family of one of Kelly’s alleged victims held a press conference in front of one of the singer’s former homes in an Atlanta-area neighborhood.

    The #MeToo movement and #MuteRKelly campaigns have empowered more of Kelly’s alleged victims to come out and speak. And Tim and Jonjelyn Savage continue to publicly fight for their daughter, 21-year-old Joycelyn, to stop living with Kelly.

    On Wednesday, the Savages appeared on the TV One talk show “Sister Circle” along with the singer’s ex-wife, Andrea Kelly. The show is filmed at a studio in Atlanta.

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    Andrea Kelly, who is also the mother of the singer’s three children, was married to Kelly from 1996 to 2009. She said Kelly abused her throughout their relationship and that she contemplated taking her own life by jumping off a balcony before, she said, God let her see in the future.

    “The basis of this stance is you have to love somebody enough to tell them, ‘Enough.’ And I don’t believe that my ex-husband has enough people in his life to be real with him, to be honest with him, who care about his healing, who care about these families’ healings, and I feel like it’s God’s time,” she told “Sister Circle.”

    Looking directly at the camera as if she was talking to her ex-husband, Andrea Kelly disputed some of the claims he made in his 2013 book, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me.”

    “My truth is, Robert, you don’t get to tell my story. That is my truth. You should have never put me in your book. And if you’re going to put me in your book, then you’re going to tell the truth in the book,” she said. “You don’t get to tell people that we got divorced because I had a problem with being a stay-at-home mom. We got divorced because I was no longer going to sit and be violated. What he did to me was criminal.”

    After hearing Andrea Kelly’s story, the Savages joined her on the set.

    “We didn’t want to go to the media,” Jonjelyn Savage said on the talk show, fighting back tears. “We had no choice. They think that, because somebody is over 18 (years old) that they’re grown, but we know our daughter. We know she’s not sane. The phone calls we’ve got are like prison calls.”

    Jonjelyn Savage said that her family “refuses” to take any settlements or payments from Kelly. She and Tim Savage also appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show in May.

    People from Kelly’s camp have tried to contact the Savages, according to a report from the Henry County police on May 23 that was acquired by BuzzFeed.

    According to the report, James Mason, whom BuzzFeed identified as Kelly’s manager, called Tim Savage and told him, “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family. When I see you, I’m gonna get you. I’m going to (expletive) kill you.”

    Police filed the incident as a terroristic threat. Tim Savage told police he had not had any contact with his daughter in two years, according to the report.

    A spokesperson for the Henry County Police Department told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that “the incident is still being investigated.”

    Joycelyn Savage was spotted by TMZ on May 7 shopping in Los Angeles. She told the website that she was on vacation and visiting family and friends. Kelly wasn’t with her.

    “There’s rumors out there. People saying I’m captive or held hostage. Well, obviously, that’s not true. I’m out here enjoying life, as you can see,” she told TMZ. “None of that is true.”

    In multiple statements, Kelly has routinely denied the claims of abuse, including the claims that he runs a sex cult. 

    Kelly, who last performed in Atlanta in August, has stayed in the news recently. On May 21, The New York Times reported that a Texas woman filed a lawsuit against him, alleging sexual battery, false imprisonment and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease.

    On May 15, according to the Chicago Tribune, a U.S. District judge threw out a federal lawsuit Kelly had filed against Comcast Spectator, which runs the Macon Coliseum, when Kelly and attorneys representing him failed to appear in court. Kelly claimed that Comcast Spectator owed him $100,000 for an unpaid performance.

    In a video acquired by Spin Magazine in May, Kelly says, “It’s too late. They should have done this (expletive) 30 years ago,” referring to the #MuteRKelly movement, which was co-founded by Atlanta resident Kenyette Barnes. She and former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves protested Kelly’s concert at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater In August 2017.

    Celebrities such as Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, John Legend and Quest Love have shown support for #MuteRKelly on social media.

    For a brief time, music-streaming service Spotify stopped promoting Kelly on its platform and removed his music from its pre-made playlists, saying on May 10 that he had violated its new Hate Content and Hateful Conduct policy. But on June 1, following backlash, Spotify ditched the policy and its ban on Kelly. Pitchfork reported that Apple Music and Pandora had also stopped promoting Kelly and had removed his music from curated playlists.

    Kelly had two homes in Georgia, but was evicted from both in February. Fulton County records show he owed more than $31,000 in past due rent payments. Prior to his eviction, the homes were ransacked in 2017 by Alfonso Walker. He was arrested and charged with theft and burglary.

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