Please stop asking why women don’t report abuse—sexual or domestic.
It’s been nearly a decade since Andrea Kelly divorced singer, songwriter and multiply-alleged abuser and sexual predator Robert “R.Kelly” Kelly, but she’s broken her silence about their relationship. A Thursday morning appearance on The View was the latest in a series of media appearances that began in June when Andrea appeared on TV One’s Sister Circle, confirming rumors that her ex-husband had abused, controlled, and at times, imprisoned her during their 13-year marriage. Her claims corroborated allegations made by other ex-companions and parents of women believed to currently be trapped in the singer’s “sex cult.”
When asked by The View’s Sunny Hostin why she was coming forward now, Andrea responded that hearing the stories of other women ultimately compelled her to come forward with her own.
“Because it’s about saving lives,” she said. “You cannot not speak when someone’s life and what they’ve been through is parallel to yours ... It’s different when you hear words that ring true to your spirit because you’ve survived it and been through it. And I wanted to bring validity to these women’s stories because I think so much, it falls on deaf ears and no one believes them.”
Andrea, who was frequently emotional but shied away from full disclosure while appearing on VHI’s Hollywood Exes from 2012 to 2014, went into triggering detail about her increasingly degrading relationship with R. Kelly, whom she called “a monster.” She tearfully recalled one incident of being hog-tied by the entertainer, while in another, she was afraid she’d be inadvertently strangled during an attack in a moving Hummer vehicle.
Andrea also made claims eerily familiar to those of other women affiliated with her famous ex when she said he would frequently change her mobile phone number without her knowledge, making it impossible for her family to reach her. If true, it’s a type of isolation and control typical of domestic abuse situations.
As for how she finally gathered the strength to leave the relationship, Andrea admits to becoming suicidal, telling her hosts that it was her youngest child’s growing awareness of the abuse that finally convinced her to leave and file a restraining order.
“I knew I had to be a living example for my daughter,” she said.
She also admits that she grew up witnessing abuse in her family, as did her ex-husband (who has written that he was sexually abused), claiming that “it’s not something that just comes out of the blue.” Andrea currently has no relationship with Kelly, who she says has ceased paying child support for their three children. She refutes accusations that either her previous silence or ultimate decision to go public with her story has been for financial gain.
“People actually said, ‘Oh, she’s coming out because she needs money, or she didn’t say anything because she got money,’” she told The View’s panel. “And there’s not enough money in the world for any woman to stay and be abused.”