R. Kelly gave an emotional and explosive talk, defending his innocence in his first interview since being charged with sexual abuse.
Perhaps it was fitting that R. Kelly once lamented his financial troubles in a song.
“I’m a broke a—legend,” Kelly riffed in the expletive-riddled “I Admit,” released last year. “The only reason I stay on tour is cause I’ve got to pay my rent … I admit I had to borrow a couple of m’s from the label. All these hits out, but I couldn’t put food on the table.”
Kelly spent three days in jail last month after he was arrested for multiple counts of sexual abuse, including allegations that three of the four victims were underage. But hours after an explosive interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King aired Wednesday, Kelly was headed back to jail for a different matter – failure to pay child support.
Kelly had until 10 A.M. to pay his ex-wife Andrea Kelly $161,663 in overdue payments, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Following a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Kelly was taken into custody and will be transferred to the county jail.,Cook County Sheriff’s spokesman Sam Randall told USA TODAY
he Chicago Sun Times and the Associated Press said.
Whether Kelly, who continues to be seen with some semblance of an entourage, is truly broke is unclear, though his attorney, Steve Greenberg, said at a hearing after Kelly’s February arrest that his client’s recording contract had been canceled and his finances were “a mess,” according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Kelly, who with hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump N Grind,” has sold out venues around the world, spent three nights in jail last month because he was apparently unable to come up with the $100,000 he needed to post to be released. The amount, 10 percent of a $1-million bond, was finally paid by a 47-year-old woman identified as “a friend’’ in court documents, according to the Chicago Tribune.
There’s little doubt that Kelly’s fortunes have taken a hit in the wake of his being charged with 10 felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Roughly a decade ago, Kelly was tried and acquitted on charges of child pornography, but there continued to be accusations that Kelly abused teenage girls and held women against their will. Those allegations reached a crescendo with the Jan. 3 premiere of the Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which gave a devastating account of how Kelly allegedly physically, psychologically and sexually abused dozens of women.
Since then, artists from Lady Gaga to Celine Dion to Fantasia have removed duets performed with Kelly from streaming platforms or said they will no longer perform hits that Kelly wrote.
Kelly has reportedly been dropped by his label RCA Records, which no longer lists him among its roster on its website. Concert promoters have canceled or threatened to cancel Kelly’s appearances. And the #MuteRKelly movement, which has spent years trying to get radio stations and streaming services to no longer offer Kelly’s music, has ramped up its calls for a permanent ban.
But immediately after Surviving R. Kelly aired, Kelly’s song and album sales more than doubled, according to the data analytics company Nielsen, and audio and video streams spiked 76 and 85 percent – all of which mean that Kelly likely got richer.
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“Is money still being generated? Yes. Is it going to him? I don’t know,” said Lisa Alter, a music attorney and founding partner of the New York-based firm, Alter, Kendrick and Baron, who added that Kelly might not be receiving that income if he’s committed it as security for a loan. However, “he’s getting royalties from different sources, from his performing rights associations, from his record label and from his music publishing.”
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The singer said in “I Admit” that he owed the IRS $20 million and claimed that he doesn’t own the rights to his music. The website Celebritynetworth.com says that while Kelly would have likely been worth at least $150 million, in the wake of his legal troubles, his net worth now stands at a relatively meager $100,000.
The site also says that in recent years, Kelly’s Chicago home was lost to foreclosure, and he was kicked out of two more homes in Atlanta because he did not pay the rent.
R. Kelly became a major star in the 1990s after he was signed by the Jive record label, and he became a part of Sony Music when it bought the smaller company, according to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. Kelly joined the Sony label, RCA in 2012.
Contributing: Leora Arnowitz, Maria Puente
Follow USA Today reporter Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones
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