What happened with R. Kelly and Aaliyah?

RAPPER R. Kelly was legally able to marry the singer Aaliyah when she was only 15-years-old.

After a new book claimed Aaliyah did not want to board the plane that led to her untimely death, many wondered about her relationship with the disgraced rapper.


Aaliyah and R. Kelly

How did R. Kelly marry Aaliyah?

It was revealed during one of R. Kelly’s court appearances that the rapper was accused of bribing a government employee to overlook Aaliyah’s age.

In 2019, federal prosecutors in New York accused the rapper of bribing an Illinois government employee on August 30, 1994, of getting a fake ID for his 15-year-old spouse to be.

According to the indictment and those familiar with the case, the ID would be used to help Aaliyah get a marriage license that listed her age as 18.

She is listed in federal indictments as “Jane Doe #1.”

On day three of R. Kelly’s trial, Demetrius Smith, the disgraced star’s former tour manager from 1984 to 1996, told a New York courthouse on August 20, 2021, that Robert Sylvester Kelly suspected the young singer of being “in trouble.”

“He said, ‘don’t call Barry. It’s deeper than you think,'” Demetrius remembered. R. Kelly was reportedly referring to his manager and Aaliyah’s uncle, Hankerson.

“Robert told me he thought Aaliyah was pregnant,” he said.

“That broke my heart because I really believed him when he said he wasn’t messing with Aaliyah.”

Although it was suspected that Aaliyah was pregnant when she married R. Kelly in 1994, the rumors have never been confirmed.

In her explosive book, Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah, released on August 17, 2021, biographer Kathy Iandoli mentions the pregnancy rumors.

“There is speculation that she was pregnant,” she wrote, “but he couldn’t be held accountable for any crime because she was technically his ‘wife.’ It was a way to legalize his abuse.”

Did anyone know how young Aaliyah was during her marriage to R. Kelly?

Many didn’t know of Aaliyah’s true age when she married the rapper, who has been pelted with several criminal charges on allegations that he sexually abused minors.

Even R. Kelly’s own lawyer, Steven Greenberg, said he thought she was 18.

“My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” Greenberg told Good Morning America in 2019.

Their marriage was annulled several months later, but false listings of her age persist decades after the incident.

Vibe Magazine reprinted an R. Kelly story that ran the same year as his marriage to Aaliyah, including a marriage license for the two reading Aaliyah as age 18 and Robert Kelly as 27.

The license was dated a day after Kelly allegedly paid the bribe, on August 31, 1994.

How did Aaliyah and R. Kelly meet?

The singer was born in Brooklyn but raised in Detroit and immediately hit the stages to rise to stardom, performing on stage with Gladys Knight at age 11.

She was introduced to Kelly by her uncle Barry Hankerson, who was also her manager.

Aaliyah was just 14 years old when she came out with her first album; Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, which was produced by Kelly and released in 1994.

The album went platinum and went on to sell over a million copies.

After their marriage was annulled, Aaliyah refused to talk about their relationship.

Aaliyah and eight other passengers perished in a plane crash in August 2001


Aaliyah and eight other passengers perished in a plane crash in August 2001Credit: Getty – Contributor

“I don’t really comment on that because I know that’s not true. When people ask me, I tell them, ‘Hey, don’t believe all that mess.’ We’re close and people took it the wrong way,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times months after.

A spokesperson for the singer told Metro that when R Kelly was mentioned, he is immediately ignored.

“When R. Kelly comes up, she doesn’t even speak his name, and nobody’s allowed to ask about it at all.”

How did Aaliyah die?

A new book claimed that the R&B singer did not want to board the plane that led to her untimely death.

The singer tragically died in a plane crash in August 2001 at the age of 22, along with eight other passengers.

Aaliyah apparently was worried that the small twin-engine plane, which was chartered for Miami, was overloaded.

It crashed less than a minute after taking off in the Bahamas.

The plane was later found to have exceeded its weight limit by several hundred pounds, and the pilot was found to have traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body.

He was also unqualified to fly the twin-engine plane.

It still remains a mystery as to why the plane was cleared to fly.

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