R. Kelly has had his own share of controversy, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he would feel sympathetically toward Bill Cosby.
The singer shared his thoughts in an extensive new interview with GQ, saying, “I’m a fan of Bill Cosby’s from the Bill Cosby show, of course.”
As for the allegations of sexual abuse against Cosby, Kelly said, “For me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it’s true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago.
“And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, 19, there’s something strange about it,” Kelly said. “If God showed me that they were telling the truth, I would say that’s wrong. I don’t care if it was a zillion years ago.”
Kelly was accused of videotaping sex with a minor and in 2008 was acquitted on 14 counts of making child pornography. Those charges are why Kelly says God would have to persuade him that Cosby was guilty.
“No man can tell me that. No woman can tell me that,” Kelly said. “And when you wait 70 years, 50 years, 40 years, to say something that simple, it’s strange. You know why I say that is because it happened to me, and it wasn’t true.”
We learned a few other things about Kelly from the interview:
He struggles with reading
Kelly says that when he was growing up, “Other kids could read, other kids could write, other kids could spell, they could do math” while he struggled. That made him feel like “an alien” and an “outcast.”
“I felt like, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ ” Kelly said. “My mother couldn’t answer it. My stepfather wasn’t really interested in it one way or another. And my brothers and sisters were so young at the time they wouldn’t do nothing but tease me about it. I was the ‘dummy’: ‘How you gon’ do this? You can’t even read!’ “
He said he’s gotten better with reading by texting but uses voice-to-text and has to take his time reading the responses.
He believes sex abuse is ‘a generational curse’
Kelly shared more about the sexual abuse he experienced as a child: “As far as I can remember, about (age) 7 or 8 to maybe 14, 15. Something like that.” Though he has previously said it was at the hands of a family friend, he now refers to the unnamed woman as a “relative.”
He wrote about the abuse in his 2012 memoir “Soulacoaster” and now says, “As I’m older, I’ve only learned to forgive it.”
“Was it wrong?” he asked. “Absolutely. But it’s a family member that I love so I would definitely say no to that one. To be honest, even if my mom, I saw her kill somebody, I’m not gonna say, ‘Well, yeah, she definitely should go to jail.’ It’s just something I wouldn’t do.”
He said he views the abuse as “a generational curse” that has been handed down through his family. “Not just started with her doing that to me.”
He won’t admit marrying Aaliyah
Despite speculation over the years (and a story that produced what appeared to be a marriage certificate), Kelly still refuses to discuss whether he married protegee Aaliyah Haughton when she was underage.
He will only cop to loving Haughton, who died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.
“Well, because of Aaliyah’s passing, as I’ve always said, out of respect for her mother who’s sick and her father who’s passed, I will never have that conversation with anyone,” Kelly told GQ.
“But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close,” he added. “We were, you know, best best best best friends.”