R. Kelly Bound Aaliyah to Non-Disclosure Agreement

R. Kelly Bound Aaliyah to Non-Disclosure Agreement

R. Kelly kept Aaliyah and her family quiet through a nondisclosure agreement following his marriage and subsequent annulment to the then-15-year-old singer.

The new allegations were made on the final episode of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired Jan. 2 and Jan. 3. The documentaries centered around R. Kelly’s federal trial in 2022, where the NDA was brought into the courtroom as evidence. The late Aaliyah was Jane Doe #1 at trial.

“Surviving R. Kelly” uses Aaliyah’s story to cast her as R. Kelly’s victim, after years of the media and music industry scandalizing her marriage to the now-convicted singer in the ’90s.

Aaliyah’s debut album in 1994 was titled Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number and was recorded when she was 14 years old. R. Kelly — who was Aaliyah’s mentor and was first introduced to her by her uncle, music executive and manager Barry Hankerson — was a songwriter and lead producer on the album. At the time the album was released, rumors swirled that there was a relationship between 15-year-old Aaliyah and 27-year-old R. Kelly.

The pair secretly married in August 1994. Aaliyah was 15 at the time, but the marriage certificate falsified her age as 18. The marriage was annulled by Aaliyah’s parents in February 1995.

In “Surviving R. Kelly,” on-camera interviews with individuals from R. Kelly’s camp who were in the room when the pair married express their regrets about the marriage. Insiders close to R. Kelly and Aaliyah are sharing new details about the allegedly forged legal settlement between R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s family.

Aaliyah’s family members declined to comment to the producers of “Surviving R. Kelly,” according to a statement that aired as part of the Lifetime documentary series.

A childhood friend of R. Kelly and his former security, Gem Pratt, appears on “Surviving R. Kelly” and claims that Aaliyah’s father was angry about the wedding and forced the annulment. Pratt claims that Aaliyah’s family had a contractual agreement with R. Kelly stating that they would not press charges against him for the illegal marriage after it was annulled; in turn, R. Kelly sold the rights to his first three albums to Aaliyah’s family, giving them a financial boost.

“Her father didn’t want her anywhere near him,” Pratt says in the documentary.

Various on-camera guests on Surviving R. Kelly described the marriage as a way for R. Kelly to avoid prison for statutory rape of a minor.

Recent episodes of “Surviving R. Kelly” devote time to covering opportunities in R. Kelly’s camp, who turned a blind eye to his abuse over three decades and helped the convicted musician make deals to see his victims , including booking flights for minors. girls to cross state borders for private meetings. A prosecutor who appeared as a legal expert in the documents described R. Kelly as “the head of a criminal enterprise.” Another expert said that “everyone had a financial incentive to look the other way”.

“He couldn’t do it on his own. It’s impossible… It’s clear that the day had opportunities,” said R. Kelly’s former bodyguard, Pratt. He later said: “This was not a one-off operation. Most of the people in that camp knew that many of these girls were minors. They had to.”

The NDA was brought up in R. Kelly’s trial in New York in 2022, but did not receive widespread coverage. The use of NDAs has become a hot topic in sexual harassment cases, especially in the workplace, highlighting a power imbalance with the perpetrator or corporations silencing victims through forced legal documents.

Before R. Kelly’s trial, journalist Jim DeRogatis — the reporter who first broke the story of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse more than two decades ago — revealed the NDA R. Kelly used against Aaliyah. A few years ago, DeRogatis spoke about the leaked documents, stating in an interview that Aaliyah’s annulment and legal claim against R. Kelly had been sealed.

“It’s a chilling document,” he said. “A non-disclosure agreement between her and Kelly, pledging not to pursue further legal claims of physical abuse. So it wasn’t just an underage sexual relationship, he hit her, allegedly, according to that court document. “

Speaking to Variety about the latest installment of Surviving R. Kelly, executive producer Jesse Daniels said the production team was careful not to use Aaliyah in the documentary and hoped to highlight the abuse she tragically suffered at the hands of R. Kelly when she was a teenager. “We’ve had a lot of conversations about how to tell Aaliyah’s story each time because we really want to honor her legacy. “But what she went through, we can’t turn our backs on,” Daniels said.

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