R. Kelly silenced Aaliyah and her family using non-disclosure agreements following his marriage to the 15-year-old R&B singer and the subsequent annulment, according to the latest installment of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly: The Final Chapter.
The docu-series, which aired on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, focused on the disgraced singer’s 2022 federal trial where the NDA was put forward as evidence. Court documents state Aaliyah, who was Jane Doe #1, secretly married R. Kelly in 1994 when she was just 15, and he was 27.
The wedding used falsified documents showing the “One in a Million” singer to be 18 years old. Aaliyah’s parents forced her to annul the marriage six months later, in Feb. 1995.
In the new episodes, Kelly’s childhood friend and former security guard Gem Pratt claimed Aaliyah’s father reacted furiously to the illegal union and forced his daughter to annul the marriage. According to Pratt, the family came to an agreement with Kelly and signed an NDA stating they would not pursue legal action in exchange for the rights to his first three albums.
“It’s a harrowing document,” Journalist Jim DeRogatis, who broke the news of R. Kelly’s abuse back in the 90s, said of the NDA. “A non-disclosure agreement on both her part and Kelly’s, vowing not to pursue further legal claims for physical abuse. So, it wasn’t just an underage sexual relationship, he hit her, allegedly, according to that court document.”
Pratt said that Aliyah’s father “didn’t want her anywhere near [R. Kelly],” before adding, “This was not a one-man operation. Most people in that camp knew that a lot of these girls were underage. They had to.”
R. Kelly is currently behind bars serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking.