R Kelly’s lawyer has finally confirmed the long-kept rumour that the musician married Aaliyah when she was 15. Steve Greenberg appeared on Good Morning America where he addressed the recent allegations of rape, abuse and statutory rape made about his client on the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R Kelly.
He was asked if the Ignition singer, real name Robert, was ever in a relationship with a woman who was below the age of consent, to which Greenberg replied that Kelly ‘absolutely’ denied being with an underage girl. Presenter Lindsey Davis went further, and asked him explicitly: ‘Was he married to Aaliyah when she was 15?’ Greenberg responded: ‘He was married to her when she as 15. Elvis was married to Priscilla.’
Davis continued to press Greenberg, and asked him, ’15 is not of the age of legal consent, right?’ Greenberg defends R Kelly however, by claiming the star didn’t know she was underage. ‘Right,’ he went on to say, ‘except my understanding is that she did not claim to be 15. And in order to get married she had to lie about her age.’
‘And he [R Kelly] is saying he had no idea,’ replied Davis. ‘No idea,’ Greenberg confirmed. Greenberg’s statement seems to contradict a 1994 interview on BET with R Kelly and Aaliyah that made mention of the fact that she was in high school at the time. Earlier in the interview Greenberg said he hoped the rapper would sue Lifetime ‘for defamation, because people should not be able to do this to someone.’ Vibe first broke the story of Aaliyah and R Kelly’s marriage in 1995, and Jovante Cunningham, the rapper’s former dancer, claims she saw Kelly having sex with Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old.
Aaliyah’s family and R Kelly denied this happening, and denied that the pair got married despite a marriage certificate which claimed Aaliyah was 18 instead of 15 at the time.