The final installment of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly aired on January 2 and 3rd and revealed the agreement Kelly made with Aaliyah’s family to avoid having them press charges after he married the late singer when she was just 15.
The revelations were made during Kelly’s 2022 federal trial where the nondisclosure agreement he made with Aaliyah’s family was used as evidence in the courtroom, Variety reports. The late Aaliyah was Jane Doe #1 in the trial.
The docuseries highlights Aaliyah as a victim of Kelly who was first introduced to him when she was a 14-year-old aspiring singer. Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson introduced his niece to Kelly who served as a lead songwriter and producer on Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album “Age Aint Nothing but a Number”.
At the time, there were rumors that Aaliyah, who was 15, was dating Kelly, who was 27. The pair got married and falsified Aaliyah’s age as 18. The marriage was annulled by Aaliyah’s parents in February 1995.
In the docuseries, people who were close to both R. Kelly and Aaliyah shed light on the legal agreement that was allegedly forged between Kelly and Aaliyah’s family that said they wouldn’t press charges against the singer if Kelly sold the rights to his first three albums them.
Aaliyah’s family allegedly agreed to receive a financial incentive from Kelly in exchange for keeping the annulled marriage under wraps. Members of Aaliyah’s family declined to take part in the docuseries.
The final episodes of the docuseries bring attention to those in Kelly’s camp who seemingly ignored Kelly’s abuse of underage girls for three decades and enabled him to take operate what one prosecutor described as a “criminal enterprise.”
“He couldn’t do this by himself. It’s impossible…It’s clear as day there were enablers,” said R. Kelly’s former security guard, Gem Pratt.
“This was not a one-man operation. Most people in that camp knew that a lot of these girls were underage. They had to.”