Last March, R Kelly sat down for an interview with Gayle King to discuss the allegations that he has sexually abused women and young girls. Kelly said he agreed to sit down with King because he’s “tired of all the lies… that little girls trapped in the basement…handcuffing people, starving people, that I have a cult. I don’t know what a cult is, but I don’t have one!”
During the interview, the singer exploded at King and began to scream at the camera. In the midst of the emotional outburst, Kelly exclaimed, “I have been assassinated, buried alive! But I’m alive!”
He continued screaming, “How stupid would I be to do that… is this camera on me? That’s stupid! Use your common sense! I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me! I’m fighting for my f*cking life! You’re all trying to kill me!”
King then told Kelly she doesn’t want him simply ranting to the camera, and he responded, “I need help.” When King asked what kind of help, the R&B singer said, “I need somebody to help me not have a big heart… Because my heart is so big, people betray me and I keep forgiving them.”
The interview marked Kelly’s first since being charged with sexually abusing four women– three of them underage. It took place at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. At the time of the interview, Kelly was free on bail. He went back to jail for failure to pay child support the day after the interview took place.
The New York Times Wrote a Piece About How King Kept Calm During the Interview
Days after the interview, The New York Times published a piece titled, “How Gayle King Kept Her Cool in the R. Kelly Interview.”
In the piece, King explains that the subject of the interview was supposed to be Kelly’s reaction to the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”.
Asked what was going through her mind when the singer became hysterical, King told the New York Times, “I could see it escalating, but I didn’t think he was going to jump out of his chair. Even when he jumped out of the chair, I have to say, I didn’t think he was going to do anything to me. It’s just that he was extremely emotional and extremely worked up.”
She continued, “In my head, if there was a thought bubble, it would have been: Please don’t walk out, please don’t walk out, please don’t walk out! Because I’ve seen him walk out of interviews. And I’m sitting here thinking, we’re not even halfway done! I was just thinking, I want to salvage this, I want to save this.”
King went on to say that while she has no sympathy for his charges or the allegations, she felt sympathy “for a human being that I could see was coming unglued.”
Oprah Called Gayle King After the Interview Aired to Make Sure She Was Okay
After CBS aired segments of King’s explosive interview with R Kelly, Oprah called the host to check in on her. King says of both Oprah and her children (who also called to make sure she was okay), “They were worried. They thought that maybe I might have been frightened. If you look at the pictures and the video, it does look frightening. I guess nobody wants to see your mom get yelled at, but I didn’t necessarily feel that he was yelling at me. I thought that he was having a rant, and I was just in the path of his anger.”
Oprah also took to Twitter to commend King. She wrote, “Bravo @GayleKing for calm and and steady focus during #RKelly interview. Outstanding job! Tell @CBSThisMorning we want to see the whole thing.”
Last July, a federal grand jury in Chicago indicted Kelly on 13 counts, including enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, in addition to the child pornography charges, according to Vanity Fair. The outlet reports that the singer will remain in jail until his trial in May of this year.
READ NEXT: Why Is R. Kelly’s Brother Bruce In Jail?