Dominique Gardner, one of R. Kelly’s former live-in girlfriends and alleged abuse victims, cried when she was finally able to reunite with her family during Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which aired in January, 2019.
Gardner will also be featured on Part II of the hit documentary, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, which premiered Thursday, January 2, 2020. The follow-up series will air over the course of three days, ending on Saturday, January 4, 2020 with the finale.
So who is Dominique Gardner, and what is her tie to R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly? Why was her reunion with her family so emotional, and where is she today? Here’s what you need to know about Gardner:
Gardner Claims Kelly Controlled When She Was Allowed to Drink, Use the Bathroom & See Her Family
Gardner recounted the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Kelly for nine years of her life, telling Chicago music journalist Jim DeRogatis why she didn’t leave him for so long.
“He is a giver, because when everything between me and him was good — oh, my God, it was, like, perfect,” she told DeRogatis, who has covered the allegations against Kelly for 20 years, in a March article published by The New Yorker. “But, as soon as he gets mad, he turns into a person like, oh, what up, the new Rob.”
She detailed the decade of abuse during the New Yorker interview, telling DeRogatis “I couldn’t even have a drink without his permission. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I’ve gotta ask you if I want a drink? Everything you do, you have to ask him. That’s not living, that’s not normal. I’ve got to ask to use the fucking bathroom? Are you serious? I’m about to pee on myself if I can’t get in contact with you. What the fuck is this?”
She told DeRogatis that she wouldn’t call what he did to her and the other women “mind games,” and she refused to use the word “cult” in reference to their relationship. “It was just the fact that he tried to break me,” Gardner added. “I couldn’t be broken. He wanted that control over me, and I wouldn’t give him that power. So, he figured, like, If I don’t give her food, she’ll come around. Nope. I’d rather die than come around and give you my soul.”
Gardner’s Mother Blames Kelly For Keeping Her Family Apart
Gardner was involved with R. Kelly for nine years, and her mother Michelle Kramer is one of dozens of people who came forward to discuss Kelly and the impact he had on their lives throughout his long career. Kramer and her husband claim that Kelly kept their daughter from seeing her family for several years.
Lifetime aired an emotional clip of Kramer during the original documentary, which shows the woman trying desperately to locate her daughter and bring her home. 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.”
Kramer can be seen frantically trying to locate Gardner during the finale of Surviving R. Kelly, eventually tracking her down at a hotel. She said 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.
Surviving R. Kelly Aired the Emotional Reunion With Gardner’s Mother
Kramer hadn’t seen Gardner in over a year, and claimed that she had finally had enough. She decided to track down her daughter to try to convince her to come home once again. In the TMZ video seen above, Gardner was spotted with another of Kelly’s girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage, while shopping in Beverly Hills. TMZ had posted the video following several articles questioning the welfare of the women in Kelly’s alleged “sex cult.”
Once Kramer located her daughter who was staying in a nearby hotel, she descended on the Los Angeles shopping district and tried to reach out to her.
As Kramer is leaving the hotel, a hotel manager tells the woman that 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.’” You can watch the full emotional reunion in the clip above.
Gardner Returned to Kelly Shortly After Her Family Reunion, But Left Him Permanently Two Weeks Later
Gardner said she briefly returned to Kelly in May, just a few short months after the docu-series aired. She permanently left him two weeks later, according to the New Yorker. She told DeRogatis that her final straw was Kelly not allowing her to attend her younger brother’s graduation.
“I would probably still be there,” she said. “But when he told me ‘No’ … I’m, like, ‘What is wrong with you?’ You don’t let people see their families, I guess, because we might realize how much freedom and happiness we have out there with our families.”
Kramer Announced That Gardner Was Pregnant Last Summer
Last summer, Kramer announced on Instagram that Gardner was expecting. On August 17, 2019, Kramer made the official announcement via Instagram when she posted a photo of herself and Gardner with a slight baby bump. She said: “I’m a proud MiMi again… Life goes on after Surviving R. Kelly.” She made sure to note that Kelly is not the father of her grandchild.
A month later, Kramer updated her Instagram again with a picture of Gardner’s growing baby bump. Gardner’s mother wrote, “My beautiful baby girl… is having a baby girl.”
Tune in Thursday, January 2 through Saturday, January 4 to catch Part II of the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning. Each new segment will air at 9 p.m. EST on the network, with reruns of the first documentary and previous episodes airing throughout the day.
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