Lawsuits, Sex Scandals, and Shame: R Kelly’s Net Worth Has Plummeted

R Kelly

Robert Kelly, also known as R Kelly, has been in the spotlight in recent weeks and not for his R&B talents. As you probably know, R Kelly has been publicly accused of sexually assaulting young women over the past decade. More recently, those allegations have been detailed in the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. So, how have these events impacted R Kelly’s net worth?

R Kelly’s Tragic Early Life

Robert Sylvester Kelly (R Kelly) was born in Chicago on January 8, 1967. He was the third of four children. His mother was a singer and his father was (and still is) absent in his life. The family had very little and lived in a bare home. Kelly’s mother spent a lot of time at church and, as a result, so did R Kelly. He was raised Baptist.

In 2012, R Kelly revealed he was sexually abused when he was eight years old by a woman at least 10 years older than himself. The abuse continued until he was 14. During this time, he was also shot in the shoulder while riding his bike home. The boys who shot him stole his bike and left him bleeding on the sidewalk. Allegedly, the bullet is still is Kelly’s shoulder.

It is also known that R Kelly had his first girlfriend at the age of eight as well. Lulu and Kelly vowed to be boyfriend and girlfriend forever. Like many other kids, they played make-believe in cardboard houses and had a very innocent relationship. One day, while the pair were at the park, they got into a fight with some older kids. The older group pushed Lulu into a creek and she was swept away. Later, she was found dead downstream.

In the fall of 1981, he entered Kenwood Academy. There he met his music teacher, Lena McLin, who encouraged him to leave the school basketball team to focus on music. Kelly had a learning disability throughout school that left him unable to read and write. This led him to eventually drop out as a teenager.

After dropping out, he began performing under the “L” tracks of the Chicago Transportation Authority. Eventually, he became a member of a small group called MGM (Musically Gifted Men). The group recorded and released one single (“Why You Wanna Play Me”) in 1990. Once the single was released, the group parted ways.

R Kelly’s Career

During this time, Kelly gained national recognition through the talent television show The Big Break in 1989. He progressed through the competition and won the $100,000 grand prize. This helped him get into the studio to record and, in 1992, he released his debut album called Born in the 90s. The album had both Kelly and Public Announcement accredited for its creation.

However, it was the only album co-credited with Public Announcement. After Kelly and the group toured in 1992, the R&B star separated himself from Public Announcement. His first solo album was released in November 1993.

The album, 12 Play, produced Kelly’s first hit single Bump N Grind. The song remained number one on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles Chart for 12 weeks. After the album’s success, he went on to produce and write on Aaliyah’s debut album. Working with R Kelly helped Aaliyah sell more than 3 million copies in the U.S.

At this time, the R&B star became known for his remixes, including Janet Jackson’s Any Time, Any Place. He even remixed some of his own lyrics. Then, in 1995, he received his first Grammy nominations for writing, producing, and composing Michael Jackson’s final number one hit (You Are Not Alone).

That year he also released his second studio album (R. Kelly). It reached number one of the Billboard 200 chart and number one on the R&B album charts as well. The album also produced three platinum hit singles. For more than a decade, he would produce, write, and compose more than a dozen studio albums, and perform thousands of times with numerous big-name celebrities.

Controversy and Sex Allegations

Like many folks in the spotlight, R Kelly’s career has not been without its controversies. However, not many celebrities have seen the immense amount of controversy Kelly has.

An Illegal marriage

In August 1994, the R&B star was illegally married to his protege, Aaliyah. At the time, Kelly was 27 and the young starlet was just 15 years old. Aaliyah admitted to the fact that she lied about her age, falsely stating she was 18. Although both stars denied the marriage ever occurred, Aaliyah filed to have her marriage records expunged in 1997. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.

Child Pornography and Abuse Allegations

R Kelly has been charged and tried on counts of child pornography and abuse, but none of the charges have led to convictions. In February 2002, a video of Kelly engaging in sexual conduct and urinating on an underage girl surfaced.

By June of that year, he was indicted in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography. During the same month, he was taken in by Miami police on an arrest warrant in Chicago. A jury found him not guilty of 14 out of 14 counts of child pornography after the alleged victim refused to testify. New charges are being filed in 2019 involving the same alleged victim.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of Kelly’s home in Davenport, Fla. while investigating photographs leaked to the press. During the search, 12 photos of an alleged underage female were found on a digital camera. The photos, according to the police, depicted sexual conduct with a minor. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the girl in the photographs found by police is the same who appeared in the videotape in 2002.

He was arrested on child pornography charges once again. However, these charges were dropped in March 2004 due to lack of probable cause to search the star’s home.

Sex Cult Rumors

To say that Kelly’s trouble ended there would be untrue. In July 2017, he was accused by three sets of parents of holding their daughters hostage. They called Kelly’s group an “abusive cult.” The alleged victims and Kelly have denied those allegations. The star was accused of sexual misconduct again in April 2018 by a former partner. She claimed Kelly knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease, though he has refused all claims.

In January of this year, Asante McGee opened up about her experience with R Kelly, saying she lived with him and numerous other women.  “He controlled every aspect of my life, while I lived with him,” McGee said.

Surviving R Kelly

In January of this year, Lifetime began airing a six-part series called Surviving R Kelly. The documentary series details the abuse and misconduct allegations against Kelly over the years.

Asante McGee opened up about her experience with R Kelly, saying she lived with him and numerous other women.  “He controlled every aspect of my life, while I lived with him,” McGee said.

Within two weeks of airing, Kelly launched a Facebook page to discredit the series. However, the page was later removed after violating Facebook standards. Kelly plans to take legal action against the creators of the series and Lifetime.

Arrested Again

On February 22, 2019, Kelly was arrested once again and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The charges being brought against him now are a direct result of the Surviving R Kelly series, or at least that is how the star feels.

The current charges accuse Kelly of sexually abusing four females from 1998 until 2010, three of whom were underage at the time. Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has allegedly produced video proof that Kelly performed these heinous acts.

Kelly turned himself in the day before charges were announced and plead not guilty to all 10 counts. He spent two nights in jail before being released on bail. On March 6, 2019, Kelly had what is now an infamous interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning. During the same airing, two women came to Kelly’s defense.

R Kelly Net Worth: $1 Million

When it comes to wealth, R Kelly doesn’t have much left. Some sources estimate his net worth to be as low as $100,000. However, R Kelly’s net worth sits around $1 million. This is because he has spent much of his time and resources fighting the aforementioned allegations.

Taking a look at his finances, it is easy to understand why his R Kelly’s net worth is reportedly so low. After allegations have been made, it seems R Kelly has sold much of what was once in his name. On paper, he has little-to-nothing.

In 2013, he sold his Olympia Fields mansion to Rudolph Isley, an American singer, and songwriter. He sold his Frankfort, Illinois home as well to a Mirab and Parul Shah. Outside of the homes he used to own, Kelly also has a Ford Excursion to his name. The value of this doesn’t contribute much (if anything) to his wealth.

On top of not having many assets, paying lawyers, and publicists, Kelly has also had trouble with the IRS. There are a number of federal tax liens against the star, dating back to the late 90s, and totaling in the millions.

All in all, the star’s wealth has suffered greatly due to allegations and choices he has made. The likelihood of R Kelly bouncing back is unfathomable.

What do you think? Will R Kelly make a comeback? 

Photos: andrew steinmetz and Lean-Op

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  1. Morgan Reiner says

    To people who stand behind him it doesn’t really matter what he did as long as his records sell and they do unfortunately…

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