R. Kelly, the famous R&B singer whose glory days were now over, is now embroiled in one criminal charges after another. He has long faced allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse, some of which have been made public through documentaries or court documents.
The singer is heading to court again, this time for a federal trial stemming for years of sexual abuse allegations. He denies allegations against him. Here’s a timeline of his life, from his early years to his current life.
Jan. 8, 1967: Robert Sylvester Kelly is born in Chicago to Joann Kelly, a school teacher. He is the third of four children and lives with his family in Chicago’s housing projects.
1979: At age 12, Kelly said, he “experienced a lot of things at a very young age that I don’t know if I was supposed to,” including witnessing older youth rape one of his girlfriends.
1984: At age 17, his music teacher places him in a local talent show to perform a version of “Ribbon in the Sky,” a Stevie Wonder song.
1990: R. Kelly’s R&B group MGM wins the $100,000 grand prize on the syndicated television talent show, “Big Break,” hosted by Natalie Cole. That is the last time the group perform together because of money disagreement. He was later discovered by music executive Wayne Williams of Jive Records singing at a barbecue that summer.
January 1992: R. Kelly & Public Announcement debuts “Born Into The ’90s”. It was released a year later. The album goes platinum.
November 1993: His album “12 Play” is released and eventually sells more than 5 million copies. Hit singles include “Sex Me” and “Bump N’ Grind,” which became the longest-running No. 1 R&B song in more than 30 years.
Aug. 31, 1994: R. Kelly secretly marries 15-year-old singer Aaliyah D. Haugton when he’s 27. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age.
November 1996: R. Kelly releases his third album, “R. Kelly.” A month later, he incorporates Rockland Records. His song “I Believe I Can Fly,” from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, peaks at No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The same year, he marries 22-year-old Andrea Lee, a dancer from his touring troupe. The couple goes on to have three children: Joanne, Jaya and Robert Jr.
Feb. 18, 1997: Tiffany Hawkins files a complaint against Kelly alleging intentional sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor.
February 1998: Kelly wins three Grammys for “I Believe I Can Fly.”
August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in “a position of authority” over her. The case was reportedly settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Feb. 8, 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it received a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The paper reported it to the Chicago police and they began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents deny she was having sex with Kelly.
June 5, 2002: Kelly is indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges stemming from the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.
January 2003: Kelly is arrested at a Florida hotel on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl. Charges are later dropped after the judge ruled police didn’t have a warrant to search Kelly’s house.
September 2005: Andrea Kelly asks for an order of protection from her husband, accusing the singer of hitting her when she said she wanted a divorce.
February 2006: R. Kelly’s brother, Carey Kelly, says his brother offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person on the sex video
May 9, 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial begins.
June 13, 2008: Kelly is acquitted on all counts after less than a full day of deliberations.
Jan 8, 2009: Kelly and his former wife, Andrea, confirm they divorced after 11 years of marriage.
June 15, 2012: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Kelly owes the IRS more than $4.8 million in back taxes.
June 27, 2012: Kelly publishes his autobiography, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” focusing on his creative and family life instead of his legal troubles.
Sept. 29, 2012: Kelly is nominated for two Soul Train Awards, making him the most nominated act ever at the awards show.
July 17, 2017: BuzzFeed publish reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive “cult”. Following the BuzzFeed report, activists launched the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.
April 30, 2018: The Time’s Up campaign, devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, joins the #MuteRKelly social media campaign and pushes for further investigation into Kelly’s behaviour, which had come under closer scrutiny over the previous year as women came forward accusing him of sexual coercion and physical abuse. Kelly’s camp responds: “We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
May 2018: Spotify cuts R. Kelly’s music from its playlists, citing its policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Apple and Pandora also stop promoting his music soon after. Kelly’s team pushes back, noting other artists on Spotify had been accused or convicted of crimes.
May 21, 2018: Faith Rodgers, 20, files a lawsuit accusing R. Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly inflicting her with herpes during a yearlong relationship.
Jan. 3, 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisited old allegations against him and brought new ones into the spotlight. The series followed the BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,” released the previous year, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will.
Jan. 14, 2019: Faith Rogers says Kelly had written a letter the previous October to one of her lawyers which threaten to reveal embarrassing details of her sexual history if she didn’t drop her May 2018 lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse.
Jan. 21, 2019: Multiple media outlets reports Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, part ways. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion remove their duets with Kelly from streaming services, and French rock band Phoenix apologizes for collaborating with Kelly in 2013. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct.
Feb. 14, 2019: Attorney Michael Avenatti says he gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and that it is not the same evidence used in Kelly’s 2008 trial.
Feb. 22, 2019: Kelly is arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.
Feb. 25, 2019: Kelly’s attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts bail and is released from jail in Chicago.
March 6, 2019: CBS airs an interview in which Kelly denied the sexual abuse charges against him. Later, authorities in Cook County take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he couldn’t pay $161,000 in back child support he owed his children’s mother.
May 30, 2019: Kelly is charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago. They involve one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.
July 11, 2019: Kelly is indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York included charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labour and the sexual exploitation of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.
July 16, 2019: A federal judge orders Kelly to be held in jail without bond after a prosecutor warned he would pose an extreme danger to young girls if set free.
Aug. 2, 2019: Kelly pleads not guilty to federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing women and girls who attended his concerts, as his lawyers continue to label the alleged victims disgruntled “groupies.”
Aug. 5, 2019: Kelly is charged in Minnesota with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
Oct. 2, 2019: Kelly is denied bail in his New York City sex abuse case after a judge agreed with prosecutors that freeing him from jail would create a risk of him fleeing or tampering with witnesses.
Dec. 5, 2019: Kelly is charged by federal prosecutors with paying a bribe in exchange for a “fraudulent identification document” for an unidentified female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah. He later pleads not guilty.
March 5, 2020: Kelly pleads not guilty in Chicago to an updated federal indictment that included child pornography charges and allegations involving a new accuser, while prosecutors say more charges alleging yet another victim were upcoming.
Aug. 12, 2020: Federal prosecutors announce charges against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
July 24, 2021: Federal prosecutors in Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an underage boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming trial to hear those claims.
Aug. 18, 2021: Opening statements begin in Kelly’s long-anticipated federal trial arising from years of allegations that he sexually abused women and girls while pursuing fame and fortune.
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