Aaliyah's Ex Damon Dash Says Late Singer Was 'Just Happy to Be Away' After R. Kelly Relationship

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Aaliyah R. Kelly
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Aaliyah's ex-boyfriend, Damon Dash, is speaking out about the late singer's relationship with R. Kelly.

As part of Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, Dash got candid about Aaliyah's marriage to Kelly when she was 15.

"Aaliyah was like the sacrificial lamb for all that, bro, because she didn’t deserve none of that," Dash said during the episode, a preview for which was first published by TMZ on Thursday. "Good soul, good girl, and wasn’t even really so resentful, like, 'Let that man live, but keep him the f**k away from me.' That’s all she wanted, she was just happy to be away."

News broke of their secret marriage in 1994, with outlets sharing a marriage certificate that showed Aaliyah's age as 18 when she would have been 15 years old. Kelly was 27 at the time.  

"I know the whole story," Dash continued. "I know it was the cover-up and all of that, but how does that cover it up? It just made the conversation less crazy, like, 'Oh, he married a child.'"

"That was a headline, that was like, a rumor," he says. "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…15 or 13, anything under 18 is disgusting. She was a child."

Dash also addressed his own relationship with Aaliyah before her tragic death in a plane crash in August 2001 at the age of 22.

"Aaliyah and I were seeing each other when she passed. We were very serious. You know, we had talked about getting married. She was my best friend. She taught me how to love to the extent that I know how to love now," Dash said. "There are a lot of f**ked people out there. She just said [Kelly] was a bad man, and she left it at that."

Dash alleged in the interview that Aaliyah was "so uncomfortable" about her past with Kelly, that he had a hard time dealing with knowing she went through something traumatic.

"It made her so uncomfortable that I couldn’t know about it, because it would have made me too uncomfortable not to try to rectify that situation. But I just wouldn’t have been able to tolerate knowing certain things and being in the same room as certain people," Dash said. "So I had to get therapy over that."

"If people would have protected Aaliyah, so many other girls wouldn’t have to get touched, you understand what I'm saying?" Dash claimed. "Whether they know they are in a bad place or not, the fact that they were able to get touched meant they were in a bad place, and they wouldn't have been able to get help earlier. You shouldn't have to always learn from pain. Sometimes you can learn from other people."

Kelly, then 27, is believed to have wed Aaliyah on Aug. 31, 1994. Kelly's former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, claimed in several interviews -- most recently in the documentary Surviving R. Kelly -- that he facilitated the purchase of the fake I.D. on Kelly's behalf, in order for the two to get married.

Kelly and Aaliyah long denied that they had ever gotten married. However, their illegitimate marriage was legally annulled by a judge in Michigan at the request of Aaliyah's parents in February 1995.

Last month, however, Kelly pleaded not guilty to federal charges accusing him of bribing an Illinois government employee to issue Aaliyah a fake ID. The singer filed his plea and appeared in the New York City courtroom on a television screen via video chat from Chicago, where he is currently jailed.

Kelly has been accused of multiple sexual abuse allegations and inappropriate encounters with girls and young women over the years, but a renewed attention to the allegations came with the release of Surviving R. Kelly last January, in which multiple women came forward with allegations of abuse against the R&B singer. He has repeatedly denied all the accusations against him.

Kelly is currently in jail after he was arrested in Chicago in July on federal sex crime charges -- which he pleaded not guilty to -- and since then has been hit with various new charges.

For more on Kelly, watch below.

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