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BY Abu Mubarik, 2:30pm September 27, 2021,

The truth behind R. Kelly’s negative $2 million net worth

R. Kelly is currently facing trial in New York. Photo credit: AP

R. Kelly is an American singer, actor and producer who is currently facing a federal trial in New York. The singer has been charged with one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for the purpose of sex.

On Sunday, he became an object of mockery after his net worth was revealed amidst his ongoing legal battle. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth is negative $2 million.

According to TMZ, R. Kelly disclosed in court documents that he owned $2 million in back taxes, a claim he made to stress the fact that he wouldn’t be a flight risk if he was released on bail. In his prime, R. Kelly had a net worth of around $100 million, making him one of the highest-earning musicians worldwide.

R. Kelly spoke about his financial woes in the past. In a 2019 interview with CBS, he revealed that he had never been to the bank on his own until he realized there was only $350k in his account.

“So many people have been stealing my money,” he said, claiming that he has been taken advantage of. “People was connected to my account. I went by myself for the first time to a Bank of America. Didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t know what was going on … three weeks ago to a month. Because I was so tired of not knowing where my money was, where my publishing was.”

Early life

Born Robert Sylvester Kelly on January 8, 1967, the singer grew up in the south side of Chicago. He dropped out of school to perform as a subway musician. He had his breakthrough when he won a television talent show. He received prize money of $100,000, earning him a deal with Jive Records in 1991. In 1993, he released the album “Born into the 90s” with his group Public Announcement.


After releasing “Born into the 90s” with his group Public Announcement, he released his debut solo, “12 Play,” in November of that same year. The album was certified six times platinum thanks largely to the single “Bump n’ Grind”.

In 1994, he released another album titled “R. Kelly” which sold over four million copies. He subsequently released other singles like “I Believe I Can Fly” which topped the charts and won three Grammy Awards.

In the early 2000s, he released a series of mini platinum albums and the multi-part hip-hop opera “Trapped in the Closet”. According to Celebrity Net Worth, R. Kelly has released 14 studio albums, five compilation albums and three collaboration albums.

Aside from his three Grammy Awards, the singer won several awards, including AMAs, a BET award and many Billboard awards.

Financial woes

Celebrity Net Worth reports that but for R. Kelly’s legal troubles, he could have a net worth ranging between $50 million to $100 million. He is said to have paid hundreds of millions in legal fees to settle dozens of women who claimed he abused them.

He reportedly lost a large portion of his net worth after divorcing Andrea Lee, his wife from 1996-2009, the most lucrative years of his career. He also owed $5 million in unpaid taxes and in addition lost his Chicago home to foreclosure. R. Kelly was also evicted from two Atlanta area homes after failing to pay more than $30,000 in back rent and fees.

His financial woes grew worse because he could not tour in many countries overseas due to his controversies. His U.S. tours were also often blocked by protests. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Spotify and other streaming services have stopped serving his songs in their own public playlists. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 28, 2021


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