R. Kelly's Ex-Girlfriend Azriel Clary Now Says She 'Lied' to Gayle King
By CBS News
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R. Kelly's former girlfriend, Azriel Clary, has come forward with new and disturbing accusations against the R&B superstar. In an exclusive interview, Clary told The Sun that she was abused and brainwashed by Kelly.
In a March interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, however, Clary, and Kelly's other girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage, adamantly defended their live-in relationship with him. Now, Clary has told The Sun she "lied on Gayle King" and regrets the interview.
"I definitely do believe that I was very naive and very brainwashed and manipulated by him," Clary said. "And as much as I hate to say it I'm woman enough and I'm grown enough to admit that yes, I was brainwashed and yes, I was manipulated. And yes, this man did have me wrapped around his finger. If he would have told me to jump, I would have said, 'how high?'"
Clary, now 22, met Kelly, 53, at one of his concerts when she was just 17 years old and moved into his Chicago home while she was still in high school. She told The Sun that Kelly controlled her every move, including what she wore and who she communicated with, and that his control extended to their sexual relationship.
According to Clary, Kelly regularly forced her to have group sex with other men and women.
"Robert had a high sex drive so usually 3 to 5 times a day was normal for him," she said, explaining that the singer would abuse the women who did not obey.
"It was always just something that happened, and if you did not want to participate, if you embarrassed him in front of other women, or even just did not perform well he would tell you to leave or wait in the restroom with the water on until he was finished," she told The Sun. "And the majority of the time after he would tell you to turn the TVs up and he'd go in the bathroom and beat the woman that did not do what he wanted."
Clary described one instance of abuse by Kelly against her in which he allegedly beat her with a size 12 shoe.
"I was talking to my friends from high school and he didn't like that I was still talking to them... he thought that I was keeping things from him," she told The Sun. "And he beat me all over, it felt like hours and I was covered in welts all the way from my neck down."
In addition to his live-in girlfriends, Clary says Kelly also has girlfriends in cities across the country who will not come forward.
"There's usually three main cities in every state. So three times 50 -- that lets you know how many women are probably out there," she said.
According to Clary, Kelly maintains control through sexual blackmail.
"He makes everyone do very degrading stuff, whether on film or writing it down, he makes them sign it," she said. "And I think a lot of women are ashamed or embarrassed to come out because of stuff like that because it'll be incriminating them."
She says Kelly forced women to write letters alleging sexual abuse by their family members. According to Clary, Kelly also filmed women abusing children in order to black mail them.
"And so I know a lot of women out there are too embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed to come out because this man had that much power to control them," she said. "... Personally had I ever done anything like that, I would be entirely too ashamed to come forward. Thankfully, I've never been in that situation. But have I seen it done to other women? Yes, I have."
A lawyer for Kelly told CBS News that Clary's allegations are not true.
"I just feel really ashamed for giving someone that much power over me," Clary said.
Clary told The Sun she decided to leave Kelly in November, and return to live with her parents, after seeing the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly. She says Savage is still under Kelly's control.
Earlier this month, the 24-year-old Savage was arrested after allegedly assaulting Clary at Kelly's Chicago Trump Tower condo, CBS Chicago reports. Clary said she went to the condo in order to "save" Savage.
Savage pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, and was released from custody on her written promise to appear in court next month.
Kelly has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and abuse in Illinois, New York and Minnesota, including three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim between the ages of 13 and 16, The Associated Press reports. He is currently in prison in Chicago, awaiting trial in federal court in April.
(This story was originally published by CBS News on Jan. 30 at 12:39 p.m. ET)