R. Kelly is already facing 30 years behind bars in connection to his charges in New York City. The R&B is staring down some more serious time in relation to charges in Chicago, due to a tape that was released 20 years ago. The now 37-year-old woman and her mother have both taken the stand, leaving people with more questions than answers. Why she did not initially come forward? Why she is talking now? And why did her family stay in touch with Robert despite knowing what he did to their daughter?
Identified solely as Jane, the woman in question was 14 years old at the time she met R. Kelly. Now 37, she admits to being pushed into a physical relationship with R. Kelly at the request of her aunt, singer Sparkle. Jane says that she was encouraged to interact with Kelly in a flirtatious matter and asked to sit on his lap and stroke his head. This evolved into an intimate relationship that lasted until the video of them together leaked. The video became a popular topic and was sold as a bootleg on the streets while being parodied by Dave Chapelle.
Unfortunately, Jane never took the stand to defend herself. Jane’s mother, going under the pseudonym Susan, admits to meeting with R. Kelly and his lawyers following the release of the tape and being asked if she would “go against them.” Susan feared this meant her family was in danger and went along with Robert, who sent them all out of the country. Later on, Susan lied and said she did not recognize her daughter in the tape when she did finally appear in court.
Sparkle, real name Stephanie Edwards, is said to have introduced Kelly to her family. She was rumored to be dating R. Kelly at the time, and the two released the single “Be Careful” together. Sparkle is accused of egging the relationship on, something she’s denied on social media. She claims Jane’s testimony is untrue and that she is being manipulated by her parents, who are trying to pass the blame along and hide their own guilt. Jane also claims that Sparkle encouraged her to ask R. Kelly to be her godfather. Shortly after this, the two began being intimate with each other.
Many reports state that the family kept in touch with R. Kelly for a long time following the tape and trial and saw it as a sign that they were in cahoots with the singer and being paid off. During her testimony yesterday, the mother of Jane admits that they took money from Kelly and stayed in touch with him out of fear. According to Susan, she and her late husband lost their jobs because they left so abruptly to go out of the country on Robert’s dime. Because of this, her husband began working for R. Kelly.
Over the years, Susan also developed a relationship with Kelly and frequently visited him at the studio. While she claims he was helping her with her store, some rumors state that she was actually in an intimate relationship with him as well, which she denies. Susan reportedly still kept in contact with Robert and was at his concert as recently as 2019. It also is reported that more than $79,000 was paid out to “the parents” between 2006 and 2012″ through various companies owned by Robert. Her husband, identified ad Brandon, died last year.