R. Kelly is one of the most successful artists of all-time. The R&B star has released hit singles and chart-topping albums for over three decades. He’s also the focus of an ongoing federal investigation involving child pornography and kidnapping, which has led many to question how much he’s worth.
How much money does R. Kelly have? How wealthy is he in 2020? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kelly has an estimated net worth of $100K. This number is drastically lower than years prior, and has made it difficult for Kelly to post bail or pay for child support. Read on to learn more about Kelly’s net worth and how he’s spent his money.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kelly Has Owed the IRS Over $20 Million In Taxes During His Career
In July 2019, R. Kelly released a 19-minute song titled “I Admit.” He made several personal admissions throughout the song, but the line that caught the most attention was he said he owed the IRS $20 million in back taxes. “I was told I had to sell my cars, I was told I couldn’t get a loan,” he sings. “Said I owed 20 million to the IRS and they were coming to get my home.”
While the amount turned heads, this was not the first time Kelly’s financial troubles with the IRS had been made public. In 2008, Kelly paid $3 million to the IRS after they filed multiple liens against him. A similar occurrence happened in June 2012, when the IRS said that Kelly owed them over $5 million in back taxes. According to the Chicago Tribune, Kelly owed a whopping $1.4 million for the year 2005 alone. The amounts the singer was forced to pay for each respective year included:
- 2005 – $1,472,366.77
- 2006 – $ 710,520.51
- 2007 – $ 376,180.11
- 2008 – $1,122,694.90
- 2009 – $ 173,815.18
- 2010 – $ 992,495.24
Kelly’s issues with the IRS have continued throughout the decade. The Jasmine Brand reports that he had to pay an additional $730K in back taxes to the IRS in 2017. The singer was forced to pay the amount quickly, as the IRS had already begun to seize his property and assets to collect.
2. Kelly Has Settled Dozens of Sexual Misconduct Cases Out of Court
Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women dating back to the 1990s. Some of these cases went to trial, but many of them were settled out of court as a means of avoiding publicity. Tiffany Hawkins was the first underage woman to accuse the singer of misconduct when she filed a $10 million lawsuit in 1996. Vox reports that Kelly settled for $250,000.
Other notable cases came from Tracy Sampson and Montina Woods. Sampson was an intern at Epic Records who claimed that Kelly coerced her into a sexual relationship when she was 17. The suit was eventually settled out-of-court. Woods filed a suit seeking $50,000 in damages after Kelly allegedly taped a sexual encounter between them. The suite was settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum.
Kelly also settled an out-of-court suit with Patrice Jones, who claimed that she became pregnant with the singer’s baby at age 16, but was convinced to get an abortion. Because they were largely undisclosed, it is impossible to gauge how much money Kelly has lost as a result of these settlements.
3. Kelly Lost a Large Portion of His Fortune When He Divorced Andrea Lee In 2009
Kelly and Andrea Lee married in 1996, and divorced in 2009. The Chicago Tribune reports that Kelly lost a large chunk of his yearly earnings in the divorce, as he was forced to give Andrea a one-time $1 million payment, $250,000 a year in child support and $10,000 a month in alimony. The alimony ended after Andrea remarried in 2013, but Kelly is still required to pay child support.
In addition to child support and alimony, Kelly was ordered to pay college tuition for his daughter Joann Kelly. TMZ reports that the singer stopped paying for Joann’s housing and books in 2018, however, and she was forced to drop out. Kelly’s spokesperson, Darrell Johnson, said that Joann’s education was predicated on receiving receipts that she is in school, and when Kelly stopped receiving them, he stopped sending money.
The legal issues surrounding Kelly’s divorce are still plaguing the singer today. In October 2019, Kelly’s divorce lawyer, Lisa Damico, withdrew from the case, citing “irreconcilable differences,” and demanding that she be paid $12,750 in unpaid legal fees. According to the Chicago-Sun Times, Damico has yet to receive proper compensation.
4. Kelly Was Arrested for Owing $160K In Unpaid Child Support In 2019
In addition to income taxes, Kelly has struggled to keep up with his child support payments. The Chicago Tribune reports that Kelly tried to reduce his payment amount in 2013, claiming he had seen a “steady decline in his popularity” due to his “age, drastic decline in record sales, increased album purchase prices …. and the overall economic downturn.”
Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Lee, countered the request and asked that the monthly payments be increased. She accused the singer of hiding his income and assets, and claimed that her salary from the reality series Hollywood Exes was not enough to support their three children. “People think that I’m living this great, lavish life, but they don’t understand,” Andrea said on Surviving R. Kelly. “People just think oh, you know, she wants to come forward now because the checks stopped. … The checks have been over for a very long time.”
Kelly was arrested for failure to pay $161K of child support on March 6, 2019. According to ABC, the singer agreed to pay $62,499 to cover back child support for the months of March, April and May, but his ex-wife is still seeking the remaining $32,383. Andrea is also seeking compensation for attorney fees, which her attorney told her she is entitled to as a means of securing future payments.
5. Kelly Claims to Be ‘Broke’ Following Touring Restrictions & Record Label Departure
Kelly’s ongoing federal case has reduced his main source of income: music. The singer was scheduled to release two more albums on RCA Records, but the label refuses to put out said albums, or put money behind promotion after Surviving R. Kelly aired. Billboard reports that the label also received a petition with over 200,000 signatures requesting that Kelly be let go from their roster. RCA have not officially commented on Kelly’s status, but they did eventually remove him from their roster.
Kelly declared that he was “broke” on the song “I Admit.” During one of the verses, he sings, “I’m a broke a*s legend. The only reason I stay on tour is cause I’ve got to pay my rent … I admit I had to borrow a couple of m’s from the label. All these hits out, but I couldn’t put food on the table.”
Kelly is also facing possible touring restrictions. Concert promoters have canceled or threatened to cancel his appearances, and a group of Australian politicians lobbied to have him banned when he announced an Australian tour in February 2019. The singer continues to net royalties from streaming platforms like Spotify, but Lisa Alter, a music attorney, told USA Today that he may not be getting the money directly. “Is money still being generated? Yes,” she said. “Is it going to him? I don’t know.”