- R. Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls for decades.
- He was accused of making child pornography in 2001 and 2002, but prevailed in court in 2008.
- More recently, numerous people accused R. Kelly of running a "sex cult" where he holds women against their will.
- R. Kelly continues to deny all the accusations against him.
R. Kelly is reportedly under investigation for sexual abuse following the premiere of the Lifetime docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly."
The R&B singer, whose full name is Robert Kelly, has been dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct, child pornography, and relationships with underage girls for decades. They ramped up in 2017, when BuzzFeed News published a story about women who accused R. Kelly of holding girls against their will and sexually abusing them as part of a cult.
Kelly also has an extensive criminal record with allegations for other crimes, including assault and disorderly conduct.
Kelly has denied all the allegations against him. He's settled a number of sexual misconduct cases and secured nondisclosure agreements from accusers. In the child pornography case filed against him by Chicago authorities, he was found innocent by a jury after a long court battle.
Here's everything we know about the accusations against him.
R. Kelly married Aaliyah when he was 27 and she was 15.
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
In September 1994, R. Kelly married the R&B artist Aaliyah, his protg, at a secret ceremony in Chicago. He was 27, and she was 15.
The marriage was annulled in February 1995 after reporting that Aaliyah falsified her age on her marriage certificate and said she was 18 .
Aaliyah's parents told Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times , a reporter who has covered Kelly for decades, that the two never spoke again. She died in 2001, and R. Kelly has repeatedly declined to discuss his relationship with her.
In 1996, Tiffany Hawkins sued Kelly for "personal and emotional distress."
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In December 1996, singer Tiffany Hawkins claimed she began a sexual relationship with Kelly in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 25. She said the relationship lasted for three years , ending when she turned 18. Distraught, she slit her wrists and tried to kill herself, she said in court documents .
Kelly settled the suit in 1998 for $250,000 and agreed not to talk about the case. Chicago police investigated reports that Kelly slept with underage women, but dropped its investigation when the women they interviewed refused to cooperate, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which first reported on the Hawkins case and the police investigation in 2000 .
In the early 2000s, sex tapes of Kelly and underage girls surfaced.
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
In 2001 and 2002, tapes that appeared to show sex between R. Kelly and underage girls set the stage for a legal battle that engulfed the singer's life for years.
It started in January 2001, when someone anonymously sent the Chicago Sun-Times one such tape. Believing the tape could show a felony and could be considered child pornography, the paper sent the video to the police. Neither the Sun-Times nor Chicago police department could verify the identity of the girl in the video, the Sun-Times said .
A second tape surfaced in 2002, anonymously left in Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis's mailbox. It was also sent to Chicago police. In the video, Kelly has sex with what appears to be a young girl, directs her to take different sex positions, and urinates in her mouth.
The girl's aunt identified her to the Sun-Times and said she was 14 years old at the time.
The second tape surfaced shortly before Kelly performed at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kelly told a local Chicago TV station that the tape was meant to undermine him and was distributed by people he had fired.
"All I know is this: I have a few people in the past that Ive fired people that Ive thought were my friends thats not my friends," he said. "The reason these things are happening I really do believe is because of the fact that I didnt fall back as far as blackmail was concerned. I didnt give them any money."
"The world is getting ready to watch me sing a song called 'The Worlds Greatest,' and youve got a tape out there trying to ruin my career," he continued.
On June 5, 2002, Chicago police indicted on 21 counts of making child pornography.
Hours later, Florida authorities indicted him on 12 more counts of making child pornography based on additional images that prosecutors said showed him having sex with another underage girl.
Kelly pleaded not guilty to all charges in June of 2002. Bootleg copies of the sex tapes circulated on street corners, according to the Sun-Times.
In February of 2004, Chicago authorities dropped seven of the 21 indictments. Florida dropped all of its charges in March after a judge ruled that the local sheriff's office lacked the sufficient authority to search Kelly's home for the photos it ultimately found.
After numerous delays, Kelly's trial for the Chicago charges finally began in 2008. The jury found him not guilty on all counts on June 14, after one day of deliberation. Jury members told the Sun-Times that they were certain R. Kelly was in the videos, but could not be certain about the identities and ages of the girls in them.
Also in 2001, a woman accused R. Kelly of sexual coercion when she was 17.
AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
In August 2001, Tracy Sampson, a former intern at R. Kelly's label Epic Records, said the singer seduced her when she was 17 and forced her into having oral sex with another woman.
"He often tried to control every aspect of my life including who I would see and where I would go," Sampson said in her lawsuit against Kelly .
Kelly settled the suit in 2002 for an undisclosed sum and denied wrongdoing, according to the New York Post .
In 2002, a woman sued him, alleging he impregnated her when she was underage and forced her to have an abortion.
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In April 2002, Patrice Jones sued R. Kelly, saying he impregnated her in 1998, when she was underage. She said Kelly had sex with her 20 to 30 times before she turned 17 . Jones also said Kelly forced her to have an abortion.
Kelly settled the lawsuit out of court that same year. Jones signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement, according to the BBC .
Just months later, another woman sued him for videotaping her during sex without her knowledge.
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Montina Woods, an adult dancer, filed another lawsuit against Kelly in May 2002 . She said Kelly filmed her having sex with him without her permission, and that the video was included among bootleg videotapes that circulated on the street.
The case was also settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Woods signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement, according to the Sun-Times .
The parents of several women and former members of Kelly's inner circle accused him of running a sex cult.
In 2017, after years of relative silence around Kelly, BuzzFeed News published an investigative report from Jim DeRogatis where multiple people close to him said he held women against their will in an abusive cult .
The report alleged that six women lived in properties rented by Kelly where he "controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records." Several of the women's parents went to police to seek help in getting their daughters back.
The story was published with the backdrop of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where more than 80 women accused the former movie producer of sexual assault or rape. The accusations sparked a reckoning throughout the entertainment industry and elsewhere that led to the ousting of numerous powerful people accused of sexual misconduct.
Time's Up, an organization founded in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, spread the #MuteRKelly hashtag in an effort to encourage authorities to investigate Kelly for sex crimes .
Kelly denied allegations of running a sex cult.
"Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him," his attorney told Variety . "Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."
Another accuser came forward after the BuzzFeed News story.
AP Photo/Jerry Lai
After the story was published, another woman, Jerhonda Johnson, broke her non-disclosure agreement and said she had sex with Kelly when she was 16 years old , in 2008.
Yet another accuser detailed life in R. Kelly's alleged "sex cult."
In October 2017, Rolling Stone published an account from Kitti Jones , who said she had a relationship with R. Kelly between 2011 and 2013, beginning when she was 14, as part of his "sex cult."
Jones said Kelly physically abused her, forced her to have sex with other women, and sometimes withheld food from her for days if she disobeyed him. She also later said Kelly said he was "training" her as a "sex pet."
A representative for Kelly denied any wrongdoing and said his relationship with Jones was consensual.
In May 2018, a woman sued Kelly, saying he abused her and knowingly gave her an STD.
Scott Legato/Getty Images
Faith Rodgers sued Kelly in May 2018, saying he mentally, physically, and verbally abused her as well as intentionally gave her herpes.
Rodgers told the BBC that she unwillingly had sex with Kelly after he flew her to New York to attend one of his concerts in May 2017.
"Defendant, R. Kelly, locked Plaintiff in secluded areas including rooms, studios and motor vehicles, for extended periods of time in order to punish Plaintiff for failing to please Defendant sexually and/or for perceived offenses and violations of his prescribed code of conduct," the suit alleges .
Rodgers filed an anonymous criminal complaint over the STD infection in Dallas in April 2018 . Dallas police closed the case without filing charges, according to TMZ . Kelly denied any wrongdoing.
In June 2018, Kelly released the song "I Admit," a 19-minute track where he said he liked younger girls but denied being a pedophile , or that he kidnapped, starved, or brainwashed anyone. The song also attacked reporter Jim DeRogatis and expressed frustration that venues cancelled his concerts in the wake of reporting about his alleged sexual assaults.
Kelly's ex-wife accused him of domestic violence.
Chance Yeh/Getty Images for A+E
Andrea Kelly, who was married to R. Kelly between 1996 and 2009, told ABC's "The View" in November 2018 that Kelly physically abused her. On one occasion, she said, Kelly hog-tied her and left her on the bed before he fell asleep. She said she divorced Kelly after she tried committing suicide.
"I wanted to bring validity to these women's stories," Andrea Kelly said. "So much of it falls on deaf ears and no one believes them."
The docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly" reportedly spurred new investigation into the singer.
The series "Surviving R. Kelly" detailed the accusations against Kelly with new interviews from numerous accusers, including Andrea Kelly. After it aired on Lifetime in January, Georgia's Fulton County District Attorney's Office opened a new investigation into the singer, according to TMZ .
A spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office declined INSIDER's request for comment on a possible investigation. R. Kelly continues to deny all the allegations against him.