R. Kelly Ex-Girlfriend Azriel Clary Tells Gayle King Her Relationship Was 'Never Consensual' With Singer
Azriel Clary is now accusing R. Kelly of forcing her into a relationship when she was a minor and continuing to abuse her. Clary testified in the New York trial, which found Kelly guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering. She sat down with CBS reporter Gayle King for a follow-up interview after the verdict. During their latest talk, Clary now says her relationship with Kelly was “never consensual”.
Azriel Clary amends her previous defense of R. Kelly
In 2019, Clary and Joycelyn Savage sat down with King and defended their boyfriend, Kelly. In a separate sit-down with King, Kelly exploded, “I’m fighting for my f***ing life! Y’all killing me with this sh*t!” In the 2021 interview, Clary tells King a different story.
“It was never consensual, it was never consensual,” Clary repeated. “It was a lot of force, it was a lot of abuse, it was a lot of manipulation.”
Azriel Clary struggled to get out of her relationship with R. Kelly
At 17, Clary would have been a minor legally. At the time, Kelly would have been 48. Clary is now 23 and Kelly 54. Clary describes how her relationship with Kelly got more intense after she turned 18, a legal adult. At that point she passed the age of consent, but Clary describes rules she alleges Kelly made her and other women follow, such as what they wore and whose phone numbers they could keep in their phones. Now, Clary says speaking out against Kelly has lifted a burden from her.
“I feel like I was relieved,” Clary said. “I also feel like it was God’s work, I really do, because I feel like for a very long time, a lot of women were very voiceless. A lot of women were signing things that they did not know they were signing. A lot of women had settlements where they couldn’t say anything.’
Clary also said that she has not found universal support for coming forward. Some of Kelly’s other girlfriends, including Savage, have lashed out at her. Clary has reported acts of vandalism since she came forward, such as someone setting her car on fire.
“I feel like I received a lot of backlash for being vocal,” Clary said. “And even with me being vocal, I still felt voiceless. I feel like the verdict really resonated with those women and myself and women whom didn’t even get the opportunity to speak that had been traumatized by this experience.”
How Azriel Clary ended up with the singer
Clary was an aspiring singer since she was a child. She had performed on stage throughout her childhood and teenage years. Her relationship wtih Kelly began when the singer offered to mentor her and help her career. Clary’s parents, Alice and Angelo, told King in 2019 they initially trusted a professional recording artist to be professional. The Clary family had had positive experiences with musicians in the past, and Azriel herself said she assumed Kelly would be the same.
“I had met many celebrities and musicians beforehand,” she said. “He was the only one that took advantage of that situation.”
Kelly faces sentencing in May 2022. There are also two more trials in different cities looming.
According to CBS, Kelly’s attorneys and other girlfriends did not respond to their request for comments on Clary’s allegations.
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