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R. Kelly’s girlfriends tell Gayle King parents wanted to blackmail him

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R. Kelly gave an emotional and explosive talk, defending his innocence in his first interview since being charged with sexual abuse.
USA TODAY

One day after R. Kelly returned to TV for a dramatic interview with Gayle King, “CBS This Morning” aired King’s discussion with Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, two women who are romantically linked with Kelly, whose parents accuse Kelly of keeping them as “sex slaves” and brainwashing them.

During the interview, which aired Thursday morning, Savage and Clary echoed some of the more shocking claims Kelly made in his own TV appearance, mainly that the Savage and Clary families “sold” their daughters to Kelly, encouraged them to become sexually involved with him when they were underage, and are now retaliating because Kelly allegedly stopped paying them money. 

“When I was 17, my parents were trying to make me take photos with him, take sexual videos with him,” Clary said. “And they said, if they ever had to blackmail him, which they’re trying to do now, they can use it against him, which is exactly what they’re doing.”

“Our parents are out here just to get money,” Savage said, nodding in agreement with Clary.

In his interview on Wednesday, Kelly told King that the Clary and Savage families behaved irresponsibly when they brought their daughters to his concerts, where he first met both women.

“What kind of father, what kind of mother, would sell their daughter to a man?” he said. “How come it was OK for me to see them until they wasn’t getting no money from me? If I was gonna take my 19-year-old daughter to (the concert of) a 49-year-old icon, celebrity, whatever, I’m not gonna put her on the stage and leave her… Their fathers know more about my music than they do.”

More: R. Kelly’s ‘CBS This Morning’ interview was disgusting – but we couldn’t look away

Following Kelly’s interview on Wednesday, the Savage family held a press conference condemning Kelly and urging their daughter to get in touch. Shortly after, Savage called her family, the first contact she made with them in two years, telling them she’s “very happy.”

The family’s Atlanta lawyer, Gerald Griggs shared video of the family’s side of the call on Twitter, in which the 23-year-old Savage tells them, “I’ve told you guys a million, million times, that I’m OK and I’m very happy, you know where I’m at.”

The video shows her mother, Jonjelyn Savage, and her sisters, Jori, 11, and Jailyn, 18, asking her, “When are you coming home?”

“How do we know you’re happy if we haven’t heard from you for two years?” her mother tells her. “Why can’t you call your family or friends or come to your grandfather’s funeral or talk to your grandmother who has Stage 4 cancer?”

Joycelyn hung up after about three minutes, Griggs told USA TODAY, and he said she appeared to be “reading from a script.”

“When her little sister asked her, how’re you doing, she paused for 45 seconds,” Griggs said. “She called because she and someone in Kelly’s camp saw our press conference (responding to Kelly’s CBS interview). That broke through whatever control (Kelly) has over her.”

Kelly is currently back behind bars following a Wednesday child support hearing, at which he was charged with failure to pay $161,000 in back child support. Failure to pay child support in any amount over $20,000 is a felony under Illinois law. 

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sam Randall told USA TODAY Kelly was taken into custody in the courtroom He will stay in the county jail until he pays what he owes. His next court date related to the case was set for March 13.

Contributing: Maria Puente

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