R Kelly’s ex-wife Drea has said that, as the disgraced artist’s former partner and the mother of his children, she feels torn over his conviction for racketeering and sex trafficking.
The R&B star was found guilty on Monday afternoon (27 September) after decades of sexual misconduct allegations were made against him. Kelly had pleaded not guilty to racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labour.
He was also convicted by criminal counts accusing him of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose”.
Kelly now faces 10 years to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 4 May 2022.
Choreographer Drea, who shares three children with the singer, has previously claimed she was “physically and sexually abused” by him.
Speaking to Susanna Reid and Alastair Campbell on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (28 September), Drea said that it was “really sad” it had taken so long for R Kelly to be found guilty.
When asked about how she felt about the news, she said: “I’m in a very difficult position because I also have three children with him. I feel like my heart is in two places.”
She added: “You cannot walk away from your bloodline. It’s a part of their DNA, they can’t escape it even if they want to.”
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.”
Drea – whose real name is Andrea Lee – was married to the R Kelly between 1996 and 2009. She described being with him as a “life of constant fear” and said his mood was unpredictable. “It was very much Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” she said.
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
In a 2019 interview, one of R Kelly and Drea’s daughters, Abi (born Joann), said she tries not to pay attention to news about her father: “I don’t let that be a part of my every day,” she said. “We don’t have a relationship, so it’s not like me to check in on him. I don’t personally go look it all up and read. I keep myself out of it.”
They have another daughter together, Jaah, and a son, Robert Jr.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.