Timeline of R. Kelly’s life and career
CHICAGO (AP) — R&B singer R. Kelly, long trailed by lurid rumors, has been charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving multiple victims dating back two decades. A timeline of his life and career:
— Jan. 8, 1967: Robert Sylvester Kelly is born in Chicago to Joann Kelly, a school teacher. R. Kelly is third of four children and lives with his family in Chicago’s housing projects. Little is known about his father.
— 1975: At age 8, Kelly begins singing in church. Around the same time, his mother teaches him how Stevie Wonder sings by putting a nickel on the record player needle to slow down the revolutions. “So the runs could go really slow and then you learn them,” Kelly told ABC News in 2004.
— 1979: At age 12, Kelly said, he “experienced a lot of things at a very young age that I don’t know if I was supposed to,” including witnessing older youth rape one of his girlfriends.
— 1983: At age 16, his mother moves the family from the projects and enrolls her son at the prestigious Kenwood Academy, a Chicago public school. Kelly meets his mentor, Lena McLin, who chairs Kenwood’s music faculty. “She was my second mother. She made me feel I could do anything,” Kelly told People in 1994.
— 1984: At age 17, his music teacher places him in a local talent show to perform a version of “Ribbon in the Sky,” a Stevie Wonder song. “That night it was like Spider-Man being bit. I discovered the power you get from being onstage,” he told Newsweek in 1995. In the years that follow, he performs in Chicago’s subway stations full time with his Casio keyboard, often pretending he’s blind to avoid arrest.
— 1990: R. Kelly’s R&B group MGM wins the $100,000 grand prize on the syndicated television talent show, “Big Break,” hosted by Natalie Cole. Because of money disagreements, that was the last time the group performed. Music executive Wayne Williams of Jive Records discovers Kelly singing at a barbecue that summer.
— January 1992: R. Kelly & Public Announcement debut “Born Into The ‘90s.” Released a year later, the album goes platinum.
— Fall 1992: R. Kelly tours on a 10-week nationwide run that includes billings with En Vogue, CC Penniston and High Five.
— November 1993: His album “12 Play” is released and eventually sells more than 5 million copies. Hit singles include “Sex Me” and “Bump N’ Grind,” which becomes the longest-running No. 1 R&B song in more than 30 years.
— Aug. 31, 1994: At age 27, R. Kelly marries 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. Haughton. The couple weds in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age.
— September 1994: Aaliyah’s debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number,” which Kelly produces, is certified platinum. (Aaliyah died in a plane crash seven years later, at age 22.)
— September 1995: Produces Michael Jackson’s hit single “You Are Not Alone.” Kelly also produces songs for Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones, Toni Braxton, and Janet Jackson.
— November 1996: R. Kelly releases his third album, “R. Kelly.” A month later, he incorporates Rockland Records, where he can groom new artists, and his song “I Believe I Can Fly,” from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, peaks at No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The same year, he marries 22-year-old Andrea Lee, a dancer from his touring troupe. The couple goes on to have three children: Joanne, Jaya and Robert Jr.
— Feb. 18, 1997: Tiffany Hawkins files a complaint against Kelly alleging intentional sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor, according to court records.
— January 1998: Hawkins’ lawsuit is reportedly settled for $250,000, shortly after she gave a seven-hour deposition.
— February 1998: Kelly wins three Grammys for “I Believe I Can Fly,” including best R&B song and best male R&B performance.
— November 1998: His album “R.” hits stores. It has since sold 6 million copies.
— November 2000: His album “TP-2.com” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.
— August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in “a position of authority” over her. The case is reportedly settled out of court in the spring of 2002, for an undisclosed amount.
— Feb. 8, 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that it received a 26-minute, 39-second videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The paper reports Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents deny she was having sex with Kelly.
The same day the news breaks, Kelly performs at the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
— June 5, 2002: Kelly is indicted in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography, stemming from the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.
— January 2003: Kelly is arrested at a Miami Dade hotel in Florida on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl. Kelly is released from jail on $12,000 bond. Charges are later dropped after judge rules police didn’t have a warrant to search Kelly’s house.
— Feb. 18, 2003: Kelly’s album “Chocolate Factory” is released, selling 538,000 copies in its first week.
— February 2004: In Chicago, Cook County prosecutors drop seven of the 21 child pornography charges against Kelly.
— November 2004: Kelly files a $90 million lawsuit against Jay-Z and a promoter, claiming breach of contract and sabotage. Jay-Z kicked Kelly off their 40 city tour, citing Kelly’s “unpredictable behavior.”
— July 2005: Kelly’s seventh solo album, “TP.3 Reloaded,” hits No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart.
— September 2005: Andrea Kelly asked for an order of protection from her husband, accusing the singer of hitting her when she said she wanted a divorce. The couple reconciles. She says later they live in different homes.
— February 2006: R. Kelly’s brother, Carey Kelly, says his brother offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person on the sex video.
— May 29, 2007: Kelly releases his album “Double Up,” which peaks at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart.
— August 2007: In Chicago, Judge Vincent Gaughan rules that jurors and the public will see the sex tape in open court, rejecting arguments from defense lawyers and prosecutors that it shouldn’t be shown.
— September 2007: Following a five year delay, the trial is scheduled to start — but Gaughan postpones it until 2008. He doesn’t explain why.
— Dec. 21, 2007: Gaughan decides not to revoke Kelly’s bond after threatening to do so when the singer failed to show up at a hearing a few days earlier. Kelly was in the middle of a 45-city tour and said his bus had been held up by police for speeding in Utah.
— May 9, 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial finally begins.
— June 13, 2008: Kelly acquitted on all counts after less than a full day of deliberations.
— Jan 8, 2009: Kelly and his former wife, Andrea, confirm had divorced after 11 years of marriage.
— July 12, 2011: Crain’s Chicago Business reported that a $2.9 million foreclosure was filed by JPMorgan Chase bank against Kelly’s suburban Chicago mansion. A spokesman claims the singer was not having financial trouble.
— March 21, 2012: Kelly announced he was reviving his cult classic video series, “Trapped in the Closet.” The project began as five videos for his dramatic cliffhanger songs in 2007, and eventually grew to several dozen musical chapters dealing with a web of sexual deceit. Kelly teamed with IFC to premiere the old and new series, and performed the rap opera at event such as a sing-along at Bonnaroo. There was talk of a Broadway show.
— Sept. 4, 2012: After successful romantic albums “Write Me Back” and 2010’s “Love Letter,” Kelly vowed not to abandon the explicit music that helped make him famous. “Make no mistake about it, R. Kelly is not going anywhere. It’s just that R. Kelly has such a unique talent, and I’ve been blessed to be able to do all type of genres of music ... I’m exploring my gift right now,” Kelly told The Associated Press.
— June 15, 2012: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Kelly owes the IRS more than $4.8 million in back taxes.
— June 27, 2012: Kelly publishes his autobiography, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” focusing on his creative and family life rather than his legal troubles.
— Sept. 29, 2012: Kelly was nominated for two Soul Train Awards, making him the most nominated act ever at the awards show.
— March 18, 2013: Kelly’s custom-built mansion, once valued at more than $5 million, sells for $950,000 in a foreclosure auction.
— July 17, 2017: BuzzFeed reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive “cult.” One woman says she was with Kelly willingly. Following the BuzzFeed report, activists launched the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.
— Feb. 13, 2018: Kelly evicted from two Atlanta-area homes over more than $31,000 owed in unpaid back rent.
— April 30, 2018: The Time’s Up campaign, devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, joined the #MuteRKelly social media campaign and issued a statement urging further investigation into Kelly’s behavior, which had come under closer scrutiny over the last year as women came forward to accuse him of everything from sexual coercion to physical abuse. An appearance at a concert in his native Chicago was canceled after protests. Kelly’s camp responded: “We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.”
— May 11, 2018: Spotify cuts R. Kelly’s music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Kelly’s team says he has only promoted love in his music and that Spotify is acting on “false and unproven allegations.” They note other artists on the service have been accused or convicted of crimes.
— May 21, 2018: News outlets report that Apple and Pandora are also not promoting Kelly’s music, though both companies haven’t officially made announcements.
— May 21, 2018: Faith Rodgers, 20, accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly inflicting her with herpes during a yearlong relationship, according to a lawsuit filed in New York.
— Aug. 15, 2018: An Atlanta-area property company sued Kelly for $203,400 over “extensive damage” to two homes he rented. An associate of Kelly’s was previously accused of robbing the same homes in 2017. Kelly and the company settled for $170,000, but lawsuit says Kelly has only paid $20,000.
— Jan. 3, 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisited old allegations against him and brought new ones into the spotlight. The series follows the BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,” released the previous year, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”
— Jan. 8, 2019: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx holds press conference after her office is inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary, some tied to Kelly’s Chicago-area home. Foxx says there’s no active investigation of Kelly and that launching one would require victims and witnesses.
— Jan. 9, 2019: Lady Gaga apologizes for her 2013 duet with R. Kelly in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him, saying she intended to remove the song, “Do What U Want (With My Body),” from streaming services. The collaboration had been intensely criticized when it was released, in part because of the allegations against him and because of the sexually charged performances they did on “Saturday Night Live” and the American Music Awards in 2013.
— Jan. 10, 2019: Nielsen Music says streaming numbers for R. Kelly nearly doubled after the Lifetime documentary. Kelly averaged more than 955,600 streams in the last week of 2018. He averaged more than 1.5 million streams from Jan. 3-6.
— Jan. 14, 2019: Faith Rogers said Kelly had written a letter last October to one of her lawyers, threatening to reveal embarrassing details of her sexual history if she didn’t drop her May 2018 lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse. The Chicago Tribune publishes a story detailing court records it obtained on a July lawsuit seeking payment of $174,000 in back rent and other costs for his Chicago recording studio. A signed eviction notice was put on hold for Kelly to pay by Jan. 21.
— Jan. 21, 2019: Multiple media outlets report Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, had parted ways. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion recently removed their duets with Kelly from streaming services, and French rock band Phoenix apologized for collaborating with Kelly in 2013. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct.
— Feb. 1, 2019: An estimated 25.8 million people had seen all or some of the six-part documentary series that brought together dozens of people who accused Kelly of sexual misconduct, primarily contact with underage girls, since the first episode aired Jan. 3, according to the Nielsen company.
— Feb. 6, 2019: Kelly announced by tweet a new tour outside the U.S., saying he’d be going to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The tweet was later deleted following a backlash from Twitter users who urged fans not to buy concert tickets.
— Feb. 14, 2019: Attorney Michael Avenatti said he gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and that it is not the same evidence used in Kelly’s 2008 trial, when he was acquitted on child pornography charges.
— Feb. 22, 2019: Kelly is charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. He is arrested after turning himself in to police.
— Feb. 23, 2019: A judge sets Kelly’s bond at $1 million, saying it amounts to $250,000 for each of the four people he’s charged with abusing.
— Feb. 25, 2019: Kelly’s attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts $100,000 bail — 10 percent of the $1 million bond set by the judge — and is released from jail in Chicago.
— March 6, 2019: CBS airs interview in which Kelly vehemently denies the sexual abuse charges against him. Later, authorities in Cook County take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he couldn’t pay $161,000 in back child support he owes his children’s mother.
Compiled by News Researchers Jennifer Farrar and Randy Herschaft in New York.
See the AP’s full coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly.