Michelle Kramer, whose daughter was involved with R&B singer R. Kelly for nine years, is one of dozens of people who came forward to discuss their relationships with Kelly and the impact he had on their lives throughout his long career in Lifetime’s docu-series titled Surviving R. Kelly.
In a clip from tonight’s episodes Surviving R. Kelly, Kramer and her husband claim that Kelly kept their daughter from seeing her family for years, and they were devastated.
In the scene shown above, an emotional Kramer tries desperately to find her daughter, Dominique Gardner, after she lost contact with her family following nine years of being involved with the R&B singer.
Kramer blames Kelly for keeping her family apart, saying that “any man that don’t let a mother see they child, or a child see they mother and she’s still living? He ain’t got no heart.”
An emotional Kramer can be seen frantically trying to locate Gardner, eventually tracking her down at a hotel and trying to bring her home. She says that her daughter was with Kelly for nine years, lived with him for more than four, and inevitably went “missing” from her family, losing all contact with her parents for some time.
During Friday’s episode, Michelle Kramer recounts how her daughter Dominique Gardner, then working as a dental assistant in Chicago, fell into Kelly’s circle, with the singer eventually asking that she move to Atlanta.
“At this point, she was 21, 22. What could I do? I had to make the hardest choice,” Kramer said. “All I could do is pray and hope that just one day she would wake up and come home.”
Kramer hadn’t seen Gardner in over a year, and had finally had enough. She decided to track down Gardner to try to convince her to come home. In the TMZ video seen above, Gardner was spotted with another of Kelly’s girlfriends Joycelyn Savage after TMZ posted the video following several articles questioning the welfare of the women in Kelly’s alleged “sex cult.”
The TMZ video showed Savage and Gardner shopping in Beverly Hills. Kramer descended on the Los Angeles district and located her daughter staying in a nearby hotel, and tried to reach out to her.
As Kramer is leaving the hotel, a hotel manager tells her her daughter is on the line at a front desk phone. “She cried like a little girl just hurting for her mommy,” Kramer said of the short reunion with her daughter on the phone. “I said, ‘Baby, can I come back please?’ And she said, ‘Yes momma, come back at 6.’”
The full Surviving R. Kelly documentary covers Kelly’s life, including his childhood, his rise to fame, and his sex scandals. Several big names such as John Legend and Wendy Williams appear in the series, and dozens of women, including Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Lee (above) and former backup singer Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, are filmed talking about their relationship with Kelly over his career. You can read more about Sparkle’s relationship with Kelly here.
R. Kelly has faced numerous allegations of being involved with underage girls throughout his long career. In 2002, a sex tape emerged showing Kelly engaging in sexual intercourse and urinating on an underage girl. Shortly after the tape leaked, police raided his home in Davenport, Florida and found 12 images on a digital camera depicting Kelly “involved in sexual conduct with the female minor.”
Sparkle, an R&B singer and aunt of the underage girl in the sex tape, introduced Kelly to the alleged victim, a meeting that still “haunts” her, according to an emotional clip from the documentary. “I should never have introduced her to him,” she says in the clip, adding of the sex tape, “I’d hear things but to see it visually, and she was so young, it f–ked me up.”
In 1996, Kelly married Lee, a former backup dancer and mother to his three children. In 2005, he and his wife separated after a physical altercation, and Lee later filed for divorce in 2006. In 2018, Lee alleged that Kelly physically abused her during their marriage, claiming he assaulted her in the back of his Hummer and left her hogtied in bed” several times. Lee is featured heavily on the docu-series.
Kelly’s legal team has vehemently denied the reports and information represented in Lifetime’s documentary, threatening a lawsuit if the docu-series aired and sending a cease and desist letter to the network. However, Lifetime wasn’t phased, and aired the series anyway. The six-part Surviving R. Kelly documentary will resume tonight with two more episodes – “Sex Tape Scandal” and “The People vs. R. Kelly.”
Following its two-episode premiere Thursday night, the six-part Surviving R. Kelly documentary will continue tonight and conclude on Saturday, January 5th.