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R. Kelly’s major controversies: From Aaliyah to alleged ‘cult’

R. Kelly has been accused of holding women in a “cult,” according to a report published Monday by BuzzFeed.

The report follows a string of major headlines for the 50-year-old R&B star, who has been sued by multiple women and previously battled child pornography charges. Here are the controversies you should know about.

Marriage to Aaliyah, August 1994

Kelly was 27 years old when he married his manager’s niece, 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, who said she was 18 years old on the marriage certificate, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in December 2000.

Aaliyah’s family learned about the marriage and split the couple up, according to WBEZ. The marriage was annulled in October 1994.

In 1997, Aaliyah sought to have the marriage records expunged, the Sun-Times reported. She died in an August 2001 plane crash at age 21.

In a GQ interview published in 2016, the topic of the reported marriage came up. Kelly responded that “because of Aaliyah’s passing, as I’ve always said, out of respect for her mother who’s sick and her father who’s passed, I will never have that conversation with anyone.”  

Tiffany Hawkins sues R. Kelly for $10 million on Christmas Eve, December 1996

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