Parents of R. Kelly's Girlfriend Azriel Clary Explain Why They Let Her Go on Tour With Him When She Was 17

The parents of one of R. Kelly's live-in girlfriends, 21-year-old Azriel Clary, say they take "full responsibility."

The parents of one of R. Kelly's live-in girlfriends, 21-year-old Azriel Clary, are opening up about attempting to get their daughter to come back home.

Alice and Angelo Clary sat down with Gayle King for an interview that aired on CBS This Morning on Wednesday. The Clarys have claimed that their daughter -- who lives with Kelly at his home in Chicago -- has been brainwashed by 52-year-old Kelly and is part of an alleged sex cult. Kelly has denied all accusations against him.

Azriel met Kelly in 2015 when she was 17 years old. The Clarys allege Kelly promised to help launch her singing career, but claim that just three days after the meeting, she went to a hotel to meet the singer without their knowledge. Angelo says Azriel told them it was an audition, and got defensive when they questioned her. 

"'Why wouldn't you trust me?'" Angelo recalls Azriel saying at the time. "'Y'all would think I would put myself in a predicament and not call you all if something wasn't right?'"

Alice also says their daughter accused them of ruining her chances at a singing career.

"And that's exactly what she said. 'This is my opportunity. This is my big break,'" Alice says.

Eventually, the Clarys say they developed a professional relationship with Kelly, though he rejected them when they pitched various business deals. They say that when he later asked that Azriel go on tour with him, they were powerless to say no since they claim Azriel had threatened to attempt suicide if they didn't allow her to go. The Clarys claim Azriel had already made one suicide attempt previously before she even met Kelly, following a bad breakup.

"I don't wanna call her bluff on it because I know she just attempted this previously," Alice says. "But… I'm thinking in my head, 'She's only got three more months, she's gonna be 18, so she can do what she want. And she really carry out this? And then now I'm living with regret for the rest of my life?'"

The Clarys eventually signed a letter giving their consent for Azriel to go on Kelly's tour and stay with a woman named Valerie Denise Payton. Alice claims that at the time, Kelly told them Payton worked with his music label, Sony Records, but they later found out she works for Kelly.

As for the criticism they say they face for letting their then-17-year-old daughter go on tour with Kelly despite the rumors surrounding him for decades, they say, ultimately, they trusted their daughter. 

"That gave me pause. I mean, it gave me awareness," Angelo says of Kelly's reputation. "But you're talking about a young lady that's raised by two parents.... I didn't trust him. What I trusted was I raised my child right. I trust my daughter was -- will be honest with us. And this was strictly her music. R. Kelly had a platform as big as music can ever give somebody. I didn't see the label stop supporting him."

At the end of the day, Angelo says he takes "full responsibility" for the situation they're in with their daughter.

"We never denied responsibility," Angelo says. "I feel like I failed my daughter because I should have saw different signs. I should have saw the change in my baby girl." 

In Azriel's own interview with King last week with another one of Kelly's live-in girlfriends, 23-year-old Joycelyn Savage, she emotionally defended the singer.  

"I'm crying because you guys don't know the truth," Azriel said. "You guys are believing some f**king facade that our parents are saying. This is all f**king lies for money, and if you can't see that, you're ignorant and you're stupid."

In King's interview with Kelly himself, the singer candidly talked about his relationship with Savage and Clary. He also vehemently denied having sex with Azriel when she was underage.

"I love them and it's almost like, they're my girlfriends," Kelly said of the two women. "It's like, you know, we have a relationship. It's real. And I know guys, I've known guys all my life that have five or six women, OK? So don't go there on me, OK? Because that's the truth."

When King questioned Kelly about the age difference between him and the women, Kelly pointed out that they were both over the age of 18.

"I don't look at much younger than me, I just look at legal," he noted. "I just look at, you're you, I'm me. Now I don't know if you're married. I don't know. I don't know if you had a relationship. I don't know. But one might be older than the other, one might be younger than the other, OK? So I just look at legal, OK? There are older men that like younger women. There are younger women that like older men.... I'm an older man that loves all women."

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