Azriel Clary, former girlfriend and survivor of R. Kelly, has opened up about her experience being under the mental and physical control of the R&B singer and has said that she “lied about everything” in order to protect him.
During an interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings, Clary, who also sat down with the journalist for the infamous 2019 interview where she tearfully defended Kelly, finally came clean about why she stood by the 54-year-old so fiercely at the time.
The 22-year-old revealed, “I was lost and I felt invisible. I gave someone control over me to basically make me do whatever it was that they wanted me to do and act how they wanted me to act.”
Clary, who did testify in his recent trial, also endured sexual abuse from the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer from the time she was 17 until the age of 21.
During the 2019 sit down. Kelly had prepped Clary and another young woman Joycelyn Savage — who still remains loyal to the musician to this day — to go to bat for him in front of the entire world to deflect from claims that Kelly was an abusive predator.
“Before that interview he had us practicing every single day. He told us to be angry and upset,” Clary explained about what happened prior to the girls’ questioning from King. “And if he didn’t like our answers, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it.”
Kelly was especially adamant when it came to questions about sexual activities. “And if he didn’t like our answers, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it,” Clary stated.
Kelly was, according to the young survivor, “very happy” with how the two came off in the interview: “He was like, ‘You guys did amazing. You did so well. You carried yourselves so well.’”
“He got food and wanted to celebrate. That’s how happy he was with that interview,” Clary revealed to the 66-year-old journalist.
Looking back, Clary said that she does not identify with the defensive and harsh performance she gave in order to help Kelly. Within his control, she says that she ended up losing herself.
“I was scared because I was like, ‘I don’t want the world to see me this way. I’m loving, I’m caring, I’m compassionate. And no one got to see that side of me,” she explained.
In regards to his performance during the interview sessions, Clary said, “I think he believed that he had done well. He’d felt like he had really made a great reflection of himself … and how all these women were lying on him, and how all these people were out to get him.”