In the final installment of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” series, it was revealed that the disgraced and convicted musician had Aaliyah and her family sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep them mum over his marriage and later annulment to the then underage singer, Variety reported.
The docuseries focused on last year’s federal trial against R. Kelly. During the trial, the evidence that was presented included the NDA, and Aaliyah was referred to as Jane Doe #1. The docuseries also sought to present Aaliyah as the victim. In the wake of their marriage in the 1990s, Aaliyah came under media scrutiny. The deceased singer was 15 when she married R. Kelly.
R. Kelly established a working relationship with Aaliyah after the latter’s uncle and manager introduced her to him. Kelly, who went on to become Aaliyah’s mentor, oversaw the writing and production of her first album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. But following the release of the 1994 album, there were rumors that R. Kelly was romantically involved with the underage singer.
R. Kelly and Aaliyah, who was then 15, tied the knot in 1994. And though the singer was underage, the age on the marriage certificate claimed she was 18. Aaliyah’s parents ultimately annulled the marriage the following year.
Per Variety, individuals featured in the docuseries expressed remorse over the marriage. They also opened up about the non-disclosure agreement. Gem Pratt, who was R. Kelly’s former security and childhood friend, said that Aaliya’s father pushed for the marriage to be annulled. Pratt also said the marriage got the late singer’s father very angry.
Pratt also claimed R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s family signed a legal agreement that prevented her family from using the illegal marriage as a basis to pursue charges against the convicted singer following the annulment. To keep her family silent, R. Kelly incentivized them by selling the rights to his first three albums to them.
“Her dad didn’t want her anywhere near him,” Pratt said. “He couldn’t do this by himself. It’s impossible…It’s clear as day there were enablers,” Pratt also said in the docuseries. “This was not a one-man operation. Most people in that camp knew that a lot of these girls were underage. They had to,” he later added.
Jim DeRogatis, who was the first reporter to highlight R. Kelly’s sexual abuse more than 20 years ago, got hold of the NDA in question, Variety reported. DeRogatis touched on the NDA some years ago, saying it was a sealed document.
“It’s a harrowing document,” DeRogatis said. “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.”