Michelle Kramer, Dominique Gardner‘s mother, is one of dozens of women who came forward to discuss R&B singer R. Kelly and the impact he had on their lives during Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated docu-series Surviving R. Kelly.
The original documentary featured a particularly emotional clip involving Kramer and Gardner, who were finally reunited after several years of being apart due to Kelly’s alleged controlling and abusive relationship with Gardner.
With all eyes on Kramer and Gardner during tonight’s segment of Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, the follow-up documentary to Lifetime’s original series, fans might be curious about Gardner’s family and the woman who never gave up hope that she would see her daughter again. Here’s what we know about Gardner’s mother Michelle Kramer:
Kramer Blames Kelly For Keeping Her Family Apart & Accused Him of Having ‘No Heart’
Kramer told Lifetime that her daughter was with Kelly for nine years, lived with him for more than four, and inevitably went “missing” from her family over the last few years of their relationship, eventually losing all contact with her parents.
During the finale of the original Lifetime documentary, Kramer claimed that Kelly kept their daughter from seeing her family for several years, and that the R&B singer is the sole reason why Gardner no longer kept in contact with anybody from her past. Kramer blamed 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 track Gardner down during the finale of Surviving R. Kelly, eventually finding her at a hotel through the help of TMZ, which you can read more about later in this article.
Surviving R. Kelly Aired the Emotional Reunion With Gardner’s Mother
After losing nearly all contact with her daughter over the last year, Kramer decided to track Gardner down and 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, 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.
Kramer Was ‘Overyjoyed’ to See Gardner at the Hotel After Tracking Her Down in Los Angeles
Although Kramer didn’t see Gardner for a year toward the end of her daughter’s relationship with Kelly, Kramer told Rolling Stone during a March interview that Gardner frequently kept in contact during the eight years leading up to their split. So when she stopped keeping in contact and no longer spoke to her mother, Kramer took action and tracked her down.
When Kramer arrived in Los Angeles to film the Lifetime documentary, she contacted TMZ to help her find her daughter. “TMZ saw Joycelyn Savage and my daughter coming out of a restaurant in Beverly Hills before Mother’s Day. And I knew I was going to L.A. for the documentary. So I called TMZ and [asked about] the video of Joy Savage.”
She continued, gushing about that first phone call with Gardner. “And then I’m waiting five, four, three, two, one — ring. ‘Hello?’ ‘Mom, why you call TMZ?’ I’m like, ‘I ain’t call no TMZ. Girl, what you talking about? Girl where you at?’ ‘I’m in L.A.’ I was like ‘OK. What hotel?’ ‘Mom I can’t tell you that information.’ And I said, ‘Well give me the initial.’ She said ‘M’ — there you go, Marriott.”
When she finally reunited with her daughter, she told Rolling Stone, “I was very — overjoyed. I was happy. I can’t even describe it. I can’t even get the words together. I hadn’t seen her in three years, and she was so scared because she was scared that if he found out… She was like, ‘What you doing here? ‘I came to see you. I just want to have lunch with you.’ My intention was not to take her. I can’t take a grown woman; she grown, she 26. So I don’t want her to hate me; I just wanted to see her. She said, ‘I asked God if it’s time for me to leave here, please give me a sign.’ And I showed up at the hotel, so she knew it was time to go then.”
She Claims Kelly Was Trying to Turn Her Daughter into a Boy in Order to Degrade Her
In the same interview with Rolling Stone, Kramer told the publication that when she finally saw her daughter again after three years, she looked like a boy.
“[When she met R. Kelly], she had long hair, to her shoulders. And to see her hair cut off… She looked like a boy,” Kramer said. “She was in men’s shorts, cologne, boxers, wife beaters, baseball caps — she wasn’t girly at all. My daughter was not a tomboy. My daughter went to the nail salon with me, got a pedicure got her nails done, acrylic nails. She got her hair done, she wore makeup, she wore lipstick. And that’s what she did. He wanted to degrade her by turning her to look like a boy. He’s some sick motherfucker.”
She added, “It’s very sad because, when she undressed and stuff to take a shower [at the hotel], she had on boxers. He was slowly turning my daughter into a boy.”
Kramer also described Gardner’s transition back to reality after she finally left Kelly. Not only did she have to readjust to wearing women’s clothing again, her mother had to remind her that she was allowed to talk to whomever she wanted to.
“Going to the grocery store first time, there’s a man said, ‘Can I help you?’ at the meat counter. She said, ‘Mom, I can’t talk to him.’ She wasn’t allowed to talk to men. And going to the [clothing] store. I’m like, ‘Why are you picking up them little [men’s] shorts?’ I said, ‘You need to go get them lace panties over there. You’re not going to get that. You’re going to get this bra.’”
Kramer Announced That Gardner Was Pregnant in August, 2019
Kramer announced on her personal Instagram page that Gardner was expecting last summer. On August 17, 2019, Kramer made the official announcement when she posted a photo of herself and Gardner with a small 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 posted another picture of Gardner’s growing belly while announcing the sex of her newest grandchild. Kramer wrote, “My beautiful baby girl… is having a baby girl.”
Kramer frequently posts pictures of her family on Instagram, so fans have been able to watch as Gardner’s baby bump grew over the months. The most recent picture Kramer posted with Gardner was in December, 2019, and was captioned, “Happy Sunday…GOD IS GOOD #I am my daughter’s keeper,” followed by a praying emoji. You can check out the photo below.
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.