Azriel Clary began dating R. Kelly when she was 17 years old. Clary defended Kelly in a 2019 interview with Gayle King, but then testified against Kelly at his New York trial. King conducted another interview with Clary after Kelly’s sentencing. Segments first appeared on CBS Mornings and then a full 45 minute special is now streaming on Paramount+. In the interview, Clary alleges that Kelly cut her off from her parents when she became a legal adult.
Azriel Clary stopped talking to her parents when she was living with R. Kelly
Clary tells King how different her relationship with Kelly became from the time she was 17 to 18. At 17, she was also legally a minor. By 18, Clary alleges Kelly became much more controlling.
“The first Christmas I celebrated with him, he allowed me to send them gifts,” Clary told King. “And after I turned 18 he didn’t care. He cut off all communications. All text messages were when he wanted me to see them. All calls were exactly in front of him and they couldn’t last no more than five minutes. It was a very controlling environment. A lot of people don’t realize that. A lot of people make a mockery out of that. They say, ‘Their parents were paid.’ No, they weren’t. That’s the narrative he painted.”
Azriel Clary learned the lengths R. Kelly went to to separate her from her parents
Clary said her parents did not give up easily on trying to connect with her, however. She alleges that Kelly had ways to make sure she was never alone and unattended. Even if the police tried to intervene, Clary says Kelly had countermeasures.
“He had friends whom were officers and they would alert him beforehand,” Clary said. “So he would tell us go to the mall. Then when a wellness check would happen, it would only be through FaceTime. ‘Hey, where are you?’ ‘Oh, I’m at the mall.’ It comes off to them very innocent and he’s already knowing that our parents are there looking for us but we don’t know that. We can’t see that.”
Clary said that between her 2019 interview with King and her testimony at the trial, she realized her situation was not as harmless as she first thought.
“Physically, I knew that of course I could leave but there had been times where I had left and he always found a way,” Clary said. “The way that he would manipulate situations and the way that he would really tap into what it is that you wholeheartedly wanted to make you come back is where it was very toxic. I feel like mentally, I didn’t have an identity. That was lost. That was gone. I was literally there to serve one person and one person solely.”
Azriel Clary’s parents came out against the singer
In March 2019, King included Alice and Angelo Clary, Azriel’s parents. They spoke out against what they perceived as Kelly abusing their daughter.
“From people in the inside, some of the other victims we talked to, they all said the girls have to prove their loyalty to him by any means necessary,” Alice said. “So that would be a way to of proving her loyalty.”
Angelo responded to Kelly’s claim that he’s dealing with a sickness. The father did not believe Kelly.
“He’s the problem,” Angelo said. “He don’t have a sickness, he made a choice.”
Azriel reportedly moved back home with her parents in January 2020.
CBS News states in the special that Kelly’s attorneys and other girlfriends did not respond to requests for comment.
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