R. Kelly's Ex-Wife Drea Kelly Reflects on Alleged Physical, Financial Abuse—What Else Does She Know?

Drea Kelly speaks at Faces of Hope’s benefit luncheon at Boise Centre West on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. - Photo: Josh Burkholder Photography
Drea Kelly speaks at Faces of Hope’s benefit luncheon at Boise Centre West on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. - Photo: Josh Burkholder Photography
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R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea “Drea” Kelly is speaking up and shedding light on her alleged physical and financially abusive marriage to the disgraced R&B singer.

As the keynote speaker for third annual fundraising luncheon for Faces of Hope—a Boise, Ida. non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and more—Kelly reflected on her tumultuous marriage and recalled that she saw early signs of abuse in her own childhood.

She recalled how she witnessed her grandfather—who was a pastor—physically assault her grandmother and how that normalized abuse in relationships.

“I remember many Sundays being with my grandmother and watching that man take the same hands (he used) to choke the life out of her, to cast out demons, christen babies and lay blessings,” she explained per Idaho Press.

Reflecting on how that played a role in her eventual relationship with the “Ignition” singer, Dreareflected:

“A lot of people want to ask women in that position, ‘How could you ever marry a man like that?[It’s] because it wasn’t foreign to me. I grew up in a household where domestic violence was prevalent, and not only was it prevalent, I thought, ‘Well, if a man of the cloth is abusive, surely a man of the world is, and they ended up being so much alike.’”

She went on to explain that her final straw came after R. Kelly allegedly slapped her so hard while she was sitting on the toilet that she landed into their bath tub.

After that, though she was ready to be permanently done with her life at the time and had limited financial resources to escape, she began to seek out free online resources for domestic abuse survivors to get the help she needed. That move ultimately saved her and allegedly got her out from under her R. Kelly’s grasp.

Additionally, Drea revealed that it was hard to pinpoint when exactly the abuse began in their relationship and that due to society’s conditioning of girls to accept certain bad behaviors from boys who—it’s becomes hard to tell the difference between juvenile treatment and abusive treatment.

“We don’t know the difference between control and concern, you have this man controlling the finances … paying all the bills so you don’t have to work,” Drea Kelly said. “Now I’m confused. I don’t know who’s the good guy and the bad guy, because all my life, I’ve been trained to know he’s the same.”

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