Women Living With R. Kelly Defend Singer in Gayle King Interview
In a CBS interview airing Thursday, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary support Kelly's claims that their families, who say the women are brainwashed, sought money out of their relationship with the R&B singer.
Two women who say they are in a relationship with R. Kelly and live with him fiercely defended the embattled singer in an interview airing Thursday, with one claiming her parents are "out here to get money."
In a clip of an upcoming CBS This Morning interview with Gayle King released Wednesday, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary claim that their families are voicing concern for their safety under false pretenses. "When I first met Robert, my parents told me to lie about my age," Clary, who was 17 when she met Kelly and who is now 21, says in response to a query from King about why she thought her parents were lying. "So when I met him, he thought I was 18." She adds that her parents lied to the police as well, saying that she was 18 years old.
"Everything that she's saying is true," Savage, who met Kelly at age 19 and who is now 23, responds. "Both our parents are basically out here trying to get money and scam." As she speaks, Clary verbally assents in the background. "Because they didn't agree on what happened, you know? With music or whatever it could be. And they're just very upset," Savage adds.
Savage's and Clary's parents have accused Kelly, 52, of brainwashing their daughters; Savage's parents have said he kidnapped Joycelyn, though she has maintained she is living with the singer by choice.
In his own interview with King on Wednesday morning, Kelly suggested that Savage's and Clary's parents had been "selling" their daughters to him for money and had approved of the relationship until they "weren't getting no money" from it. "I love them, and it's almost like they're my girlfriends. It's like we have a relationship. It's real," he added.
Just after Kelly's interview with King on Wednesday, the singer returned to police custody for failing to pay $161,000 in child-support payments. During the interview, Kelly was out on bail following his Feb. 22 arrest in Chicago on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Kelly is awaiting trial on those charges related to the sexual abuse of four people, including three minors.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Savage's parents railed against Kelly's claims in his King interview, saying they never "sold" their daughter to him nor requested money from him. "The allegations Mr. Kelly has brought against my family is very horrific," Timothy Savage, Joycelyn's father, said. "We are a solid family; we care about our daughter. From day one the only thing we wanted to do was actually to see our daughter, hear from our daughter, and make sure she's fine."
An expanded version of King's sit-downs with both Kelly and Clary and Savage will air as a one-hour primetime special on Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The special will include unseen portions of both interviews.
More of King's heated conversation with Clary and Savage aired on Thursday. The women called themselves a "family" all together and the interview grew contentious when King asked them to describe the sexual nature of their relationships with Kelly.
Clary continued to fight back against her parents claims that she has been brainwashed by the singer. She insisted that her parents have known where she has been the last four years, have seen her several times and have stopped answering her calls. "He's a manipulative liar. He's the one you need to watch out for," Clary said of her father. "I was not having sex with [Kelly] at 17."
She claimed that her parents encouraged her to take sexual photos and videos with Kelly. "They said, because if they ever have to blackmail him, what they're trying to do now, they can use it against him. Which is exactly what they're doing," Clary told King of her parents alleged attempts to blackmail Kelly. "You're trying to solicit me like some fucking hoe," she added. Savage backed up those claims.
"This is the first time hearing, to be honest with you, that your parents are trying to get money from R. Kelly," said King.
Clary was eventually brought to tears, telling King, "You guys don't know the truth. You guys are believing some fucking facade that our parents are saying. This is all fucking lies for money and if you can't see that then you're ignorant and you're stupid as fuck because you want to be. All because that's the world we live in. Negativity is what sells. Gossip is what sells. Rumors are what sells."
When King pushed back that this isn't about rumors, it's about decades of sexual assault, Clary insisted they aren't there to talk about allegations, they are there to talk about their parents.
Both sets of parents have denied ever asking Kelly for money or receiving money from him.
"I'm sure Mr. Clary, if he watches this this morning, his head would explode because he has a very different version of what these young women are saying," said King, who also spoke to the father, to sum up her chat with the women and from the CBS news desk. King explained that the agreement with Kelly's team was that he wouldn't be in the room for the interview with the women, but that Kelly entered the room anyway and was around the corner and would cough very loudly "so they were aware that he was there."
Anchor Norah O'Donnell added that Kelly tried to stop the interview several times backstage. "The girls at some point were certainly aware that he was there. And I just wanted to say, as a mother, get your things, let's go," said King of what she called a bad and tawdry situation. "When you're looking at these young women, they parrot a lot of what he is saying."
King added, "They do not think they're being abused, or manipulated or brainwashed, but again, they are 21 and 23."
Jonjelyn Savage, the mother to Joycelyn, said during the family's news conference, "What I saw on TV, the way he acted and the way he got upset, I can only imagine what he does behind closed doors." Joycelyn called her family after their news conference in a brief conversation where she repeatedly told them she was happy.
March 7, 5:45 a.m. Updated to include the full Clary and Savage interview.