The Women Living With R. Kelly Are Defending Him

Photo: Lazarus Jean-Baptiste/CBS

Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, two women living with R. Kelly, have defended the singer, denying claims that he has held them hostage for years. In an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, 23-year-old Savage and 21-year-old Clary — whom Kelly has been accused of brainwashing into being a part of his sex cult — said that they are both in a relationship with Kelly, and that their parents are expressing concern under false pretenses.

“I’m crying because you guys don’t know the truth,” Clary said during the interview. “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, you’re ignorant and you’re stupid.”

Clary’s parents and Savage’s parents were interviewed in the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which aired in January. Clary’s parents, Alice and Angelo, said that they haven’t had contact with their daughter in years, and Savage’s parents, Timothy and Jonjelyn, said that they believed Kelly was holding their daughter against her will. In part of his CBS This Morning interview that aired on Wednesday, Kelly referred to both women as his “girlfriends.”

“Both our parents are basically out here trying to get money and scam,” Savage told King. “Because they didn’t agree on what happened, you know? With music or whatever it could be. And they’re just very upset.”

Clary also claimed that her parents encouraged her “take sexual videos” with the singer, and that they were soliciting money from him.

“My dad and my mom … they started to send threats to both me and him,” she said. “They said, ‘Oh, I’ll put all your naked pictures all over the world. I’m going to ruin you, I’m going to ruin him. If he doesn’t send $20,000 to this bank account by Monday, oh, I’m gonna put everything out there, and then $10,000 after that.’”

King said during the broadcast that Kelly’s publicist said that he would be absent while they women were interviewed, but that Kelly snuck back into the room after the interview started, and would cough loudly, making the women aware of his presence.

Both families denied the claims that they blackmailed Kelly, and told CBS that they never requested nor received money from him.

After the first part of Kelly’s interview aired on Wednesday, Savage’s family held a press conference, where they said that they hadn’t seen her in two years. Shortly after, Savage called her family for the first time, they say, in two years. “I’ve told you guys a million million times I’m okay where I am, and I’m happy,” she said.

King said during the broadcast that Kelly’s team has agreed to arrange a meeting between Savage and her family, though it’s unclear when that might happen. Her family, King says, wants to arrange for a mental health professional to perform an evaluation on her during the meeting.

The Women Living With R. Kelly Are Defending Him