R.Kelly’s decade-long sex trafficking trial came to an end on Sept. 27 and his ex-wife is weighing in.
The jury found the singer guilty on all nine counts including one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, we reported. The 54-year-old artists’ ex-wife Andrea Kelly, who is also known as “Drea,” spoke out following her former husband’s guilty verdict, stating that she felt “torn” about the news.
“I sit in a very difficult place because unlike the rest of his victims, I also share children with him. I was married to him, so I wear two hats. I wear the hat of a survivor and an advocate, but I also wear the hat of a mother and an ex-wife… I feel that my heart is in two places,” Drea, who shares three children with the disgraced singer, explained during an interview on Good Morning Britain.
“My heart definitely goes out to the survivors and the courage that it takes to come forward and tell the story, but my heart breaks as a mother because this is now the legacy that my children will have to deal with and their children’s children, ” she continued.
“At the end of the day, you cannot walk away from your bloodline,” Drea added. “I have the ability to separate and distance myself from it, but his blood runs through my children’s veins and it’s part of their DNA and they can’t escape it even if they wanted to. So it’s very difficult for me to sit in that position.”
The former choreographer previously claimed that Kelly “physically and sexually abused” her during their 13-year-long marriage. She was married to the Chicago native in 1996 and their divorce was finalized in 2009, Page Six notes.
Declining to speak about her children’s reaction to their father’s conviction, she said: “I support my children in with everything. They have the right to feel whatever they feel.”
Last year during her keynote speech at the Marjaree Mason Center’s Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business Awards event, Drea shared details behind the abuse she endured at the hands of the Grammy-award-winning artist. The mother of three said that Kelly told her he wanted to keep her away from the spotlight to protect her from fans and paparazzi, but Drea said it was far from the truth.
“Now looking back at it, no, actually it was to keep me isolated so that no one would know about the abuse, and also I felt so distant and separated from the world that I didn’t feel empowered to speak out about it,” she explained at the time, according to ABC 30 Action News.
Drea said she contemplated taking her own life at one point by jumping from a penthouse balcony.
“I think the thing that really kept me from jumping and saving my life was hearing my children in the background and they were saying, ‘Mama, mama, why did she jump, why did she leave us,'” she said of her emotional experience.
Some of Kelly’s other victims have also released statements following the milestone verdict, including Jerhonda Pace, who was one of the first women to testify against Kelly during his federal trial. Pace took to Instagram to express her thoughts over the news writing, “Today, my voice was heard.”
She continued in the caption:
“Today the jury found R. Kelly guilty. For years, I was trolled for speaking out about the abuse that I suffered at the hands of that predator. People called me a liar and said I had no proof. Some even said I was speaking out for money. Speaking out about abuse is not easy, especially when your abuser is high-profile. However, I DID IT. Me speaking out caused a domino effect and so many people came forward. There are still some people that haven’t came forward. I’m so grateful to be a voice for those who didn’t have the courage.”
The 28-year-old accused the R&B icon of holding her captive at his house in Olympia Fields as he repeatedly had sex with her while she was underage. Pace alleged at one point, Kelly even physically choked her after she failed to acknowledge him while walking into the room.
Kitti Jones, a former Dallas radio DJ, also shared her reaction to the verdict.
“We got justice today,” Jones said in a statement to The Daily Beast.
“I wouldn’t say I now have closure because in the end none of us will get our time back. But this is a small victory.”
Jones detailed her abusive relationship with the “Bump n’ Grind” crooner in her book titled “I Was Somebody Before This.” The successful author spent two years with Kelly, even giving up her career to be with the star amid his sexual abuse allegations.
“I allowed myself a few hours to get my tears out today—and now I am just celebrating this win. But we have a long way to go, this isn’t over,” Jones added.
Kelly faces 10 years to life in prison, however, his attorneys are considering filing an appeal. The singer’s sentence hearing in New York City is scheduled for May 4, 2022.