R. Kelly’s former girlfriend Azriel Clary says the backlash she received as she came forward with abuse allegations from Kelly was hard to fathom.
Clary was in a five-year relationship with Kelly, starting when she was a minor.
Despite the criticism, Clary says she will continue to be a voice for herself and other victims.
A recap of Azriel Clary’s five-year relationship with R. Kelly
Clary met Kelly when she was 17 years old at a concert in her Florida hometown.
As an aspiring singer, she was invited on stage with Kelly and later accepted a proposal from the singer backstage to be his protégé.
Initially, Clary’s parents or another adult in the family accompanied Clary when she worked with Kelly. Her parents claim that when Clary turned 18, all communication between them and their daughter stopped.
They later discovered that Clary began a sexual relationship with Kelly while she was still a minor.
Per the Clarys, their daughter was one of Kelly’s several live-in girlfriends who lived in a sex cult.
They also say their daughter was in a manipulative and abusive relationship with Kelly that controlled her every move.
Related: R. Kelly’s Girlfriend, Azriel Clary, Speaks Out After Moving Out His Chicago Condo
Amid the controversy of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary, Clary and Kelly’s other live-in girlfriend, Joycelyn Savage, spoke to Gayle King and disputed her parents’ account.
They claimed her parents were out to blackmail Kelly.
Months later, however, Clary fled Kelly’s home and confirmed that she was abused by Kelly during their relationship.
Azriel Clary comes forward with details of the abuse she says she was subjected to by R. Kelly
Clary has opened up more and more about her tumultuous relationship with the embattled R&B singer. In a January 2020 interview with the UK Sun, Clary spoke out about the verbal, physical and emotional abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Kelly.
Clary told the paper that one of her worst beatings came from Kelly when he discovered she was communicating with her friends, something he had forbidden his girlfriends to do.
“I was just communicating with two of my girlfriends and he made me text them a very long lie, basically saying why I didn’t want to be friends with them anymore,” she claimed. “And then he hit me, he verbally abused me and then he physically hit me.
Then he hit me with a shoe – a size 12, Nike Air Force One shoe.
And he hit me all over my body, it felt like hours and I was covered in welts from my neck down.”
Azriel Clary says she has been victim shamed since telling her story about her relationship with R. Kelly
Many accuse Clary of being with Kelly because of his wealth and status.
They also wonder why she has now gone public with her allegations when she previously denied them.
For Clary, the backlash was disheartening. She told Claudia Jordan on Jordan’s Out Loud talk show:
Related: R. Kelly’s Former Live-In Girlfriend, Azriel Clary, Is Back Home With Her Family: Here’s What Her Parents Said
“For me personally, it was pretty disturbing.
A lot of the pushback I received was from the black community and other influencers and celebrities,” Clary said. “But more importantly, it made me feel like it’s really important that I share this because there are so many people who are just like me. The victims are not the ones who should be shamed. It should be the predator. It should be the abuser.”
Still, Clary won’t be silenced, telling Jordan, “It just goes to show that there are still a lot of hypocritical people out there and a lot of people who are just very ignorant of the situation.
There’s really nothing I can do for them personally, but what I can do is help the victims know that it’s okay to say what you feel. It’s okay to open up to the world regardless of the backlash that brings.”