In his first interview since being acquitted of child pornography charges, R. Kelly says he was betrayed by those closest to him, but hopes he can put the case behind him for good and move forward.
“I can’t keep answering these questions,” he told BET’s Toure in a special that aired Tuesday night. “If you were charged with something and found innocent, then you can’t be found guilty for being found innocent.”
The 41-year-old singer was arrested in 2002 for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a 13-year-old girl. At his trial, prosecutors were unable to verify the authenticity of the tape, or the identity of the female seen in the footage. Kelly was cleared of all 14 charges.
When asked by Toure if he is attracted to teenage girls, Kelly replied: “When you say teenage, how old do you mean?” He added: “I have some 19-year-old friends, but I don’t like anybody illegal if that’s what we’re talking about, underage.”
Kelly also alleged that the accusations against him may have been made by disgruntled former employees, including his brother, Carey Kelly. The Kelly sibling claimed that R. Kelly attempted to bribe him if he would say the man in the video was himself and not his famous brother.
“When you’re me, when you’re R Kelly, everybody wants a piece of you, and if you don’t give ’em a piece they’ll find a way to get a piece of you one way or the other,” he said. “I’ve been blackmailed a billion times in my career – before the trial, during the trial, after the trial.”
“Do not listen to the people that were fired, listen to the facts” Kelly continued. “I know people are out to get me because I’m very vulnerable, especially during a seven-year trial.”
Ultimately, Kelly says he’s determined to keep pushing on with his music.
“I’m not going to let this affect my gift,” he said. “I’ve done vintage R. Kelly songs during the trial because I said no matter what, I’m not going to let this make me run under a rock and not do my job. Some people fall off and I chose not to do that.”
Watch R. Kelly answer the question, “Do you like teenage girls?: