Gayle King Shares How She Kept Her Composure During R. Kelly's Emotional Interview (Exclusive)

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Gayle King says she wasn't afraid of R. Kelly during her explosive interview with him that aired on CBS This Morning on Wednesday.

The intense interview marks 52-year-old Kelly's first since being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse late last month. The singer was extremely emotional during his interview with King as he denied all allegations against him -- shouting at times, repeatedly asking where the camera was, sobbing and at one point, jolting from his chair. 

King spoke to ET on Wednesday, and she shared that her best friend, Oprah Winfrey, as well as her two children, daughter Kirby and son William, actually called her to check on her given Kelly's intensity.

"I was never afraid, I never thought that R Kelly was going to hurt me," King tells ET. "I knew he was upset with me. I knew that he didn't like some of the questions, but I never thought he was going to physically attack me ... I was only concerned because he was so amped up and very angry that he might accidentally hit me, so I did worry about that."

Many people praised King's calm demeanor on social media after the interview, and King explains why she remained stoic throughout the singer's outbursts.

"I didn't see any point in both of us overreacting," she says. "The worst thing you could do is try to tell somebody, 'It's OK, settle down' -- that only makes them angrier. I just thought, let me sit here quietly. I made eye contact to let him know, 'I'm still sitting here waiting for you,' but I never felt I was in danger."

"I thought a couple of times that maybe we're witnessing a breakdown as it's happening, and that's why I asked him towards the end of the interview, 'Have you thought about therapy, or are you in therapy?'" she also notes. "And he seemed to think, 'Yeah, I've been thinking about that.' He became very emotional and very, very adamant that his voice was heard."

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 Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries in January, in which more women came forward with allegations of abuse against the singer. He has repeatedly denied all allegations against him, which King says she "challenged" him on.

"At no point did R. Kelly shy away from the camera," King points out. "I think that he's so emotional and so sick, he says, of people that are telling lies about him, and that he's been holding it in for a very long time that he just wanted people to hear him and we allowed him to do it, but we also challenged him. ... He kept bringing up that these are old allegations that 'I beat' by the way -- which I thought was an interesting choice of words, that 'I beat' -- and people keep going back to old allegations. And I said these are not old allegations, we're talking about the allegations made in the R. Kelly documentary. He basically just denied everything. ... He really takes no responsibility in any of the allegations that are being made."

For more on the allegations against Kelly, watch the video below:


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