R. Kelly was born the third of four children. He’s spoken at length about his difficult childhood, and the alleged sexual abuse that he suffered at the hands of his older sister Theresa.
R. Kelly‘s brothers, Carey and Bruce, have also dealt with emotional turmoil and legal troubles as a result of their childhood experiences. Read on to learn more about Kelly’s siblings, their respective careers, and whether they are still close as adults.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kelly’s Brother Carey Is Also a Rapper & Songwriter
Carey Kelly, 49, is a rapper and songwriter. He releases music under the name “Carey Killa,” and one of his most recent songs, “I Confess,” was a diss track aimed at his brother R. Kelly. Carey released a 9-minute rant video in conjunction with the diss, where he took his brother to task for not attending their grandmother’s funeral and for derailing his rap career. You can watch the video above, or you can click here to check out the rest of Carey’s channel.
Carey appeared as one of the interview subjects in the Lifetime miniseries Surviving R. Kelly, and he also talked about his brother’s fate on Good Morning America. During the latter, he confessed to being worried about R. Kelly’s mental health. “Robert is not built for jail,” Carey said. “I’m concerned about others harming him as well, but the reason why I say Robert might harm himself in because he won’t want to face the gangbangers [and others].”
“Robert would be suicidal because he can’t do that for years,” Carey added. “The easy way out would be for him to take his life. I would like to see him get help. If he’s found guilty of these allegations and these charges, he has to deal with that.”
2. Kelly’s Sister Theresa Allegedly Molested Him as a Child
R. Kelly told GQ that he was molested as a child. “I was molested from 7 to about 13 or 14 by people in my family,” he said. “I know I became sexual at an early age because of that.” Kelly refused to name the family member in question, but it was later revealed to be his older sister Theresa.
Carey Kelly appeared on Unwine with Tasha K, where he detailed the abuse that both him and R. Kelly experienced when Theresa babysat. “If we didn’t listen to her or if we didn’t do what she said, it would be some type of reason why we couldn’t go out and play with the other kids, to keep us in the house,” he recalled. “She never kept me and Robert in the house at the same time.” Carey said the molestation began when he was 6 and Theresa was 15, and continued on until he was 12.
Despite the accounts of both men, Theresa Kelly, 57, has denied these accusations. Carey said that he tried to make peace with Theresa as an adult, but that she rejected the notion. “She denied it. I said, ‘I forgive you for molesting me as a kid; I remember everything. And I just want you to know that I forgive you because you’re my sister,'” he recalled. “She told me do not call her, do not contact her.” Theresa has not had contact with either sibling since 1993.
3. Kelly’s Brother Bruce Recently Served Jail Time for Burglary
Bruce Kelly, 53, defended his brother’s penchant for underage women when he appeared on Surviving R. Kelly. “Robert likes younger women. You have people who have fetishes about different things,” he explained. “I like older women. Go figure, you know. But that’s just a preference. … Everyone has preferences. So what is the big deal? What’s the big issue with my brother?”
Bruce also said that he and his brothers are “jealous” when it comes to women. “Me and my brothers, we all have our ways with our girls,” he admitted. “We’re very jealous guys. We don’t want our girls doing certain things, [you’re] not gon’ see our girls talking too much to people, that’s just the way we are.”
Bruce was forced to conduct his interview in jail, as he was serving a 2-4 year sentence for burglary at Cook County. According to Decider, he was admitted to the Vandalia Correctional Center on July 7, 2016, and became eligible for parole in December 2017 but was denied. He remained at Cook County until December 2019.
This is not the first time that Bruce Kelly has been to jail. Vibe reports that he was arrested and charged with drug possession in 2015, for theft and possession in October 2016, and for criminal trespassing and driving without a license in June 2017.
4. Bruce Accused R. Kelly of Not Paying Him As a Driver In 2015
In July 2015, the Illinois Department of Labor investigated Bruce Kelly’s claims that his brother never paid him wages. Bruce had been working as a personal assistant and a driver for R. Kelly, and he told TMZ that he was supposed to be paid $700 for a job. Furthermore, Bruce said that his brother owed him a total of $11,000 for past services.
Bruce took to Facebook to criticize his brother, and said that their mother Joanna would not be proud of his actions. “I can’t believe this is what I have to resort to to get paid from my own Brother. I know my mother is turning over in her grave,” he wrote. “This is not how Joann Kelly raised us. What’s wrong with paying your brother what you owe him. You pay everybody else!!”
5. Carey Blames R. Kelly’s Abusive Childhood for Turning Him Into a ‘Monster’
Carey has been frank about his brother’s criminal charges, and he feels that it stems from the abuse both of them suffered as children. “I knew what was happening to me, and I know that when I got to go outside, I was so glad,” he told Unwine. “And he couldn’t go outside. Robert was bragging that he’s not a virgin no more. For him, it was a different ride.”
“It was like a rush… I think he enjoyed it,” Carey added. “I believe that Robert took it as she opened up a side of him or showed him some things before any other woman had… I think that’s what made him the monster he is today. I believe [Theresa] opened up Pandora’s box.”
The younger Kelly clarified that he does not think his brother’s abuse excuses the crimes he’s been accused of as an adult. “[Robert] mentioned that he got molested by a family member years later,” he said. “No, it’s not an excuse, and I’m an example of why it shouldn’t be an excuse, because I’ve been molested.”