Gayle King shocked the world when she sat down with R. Kelly for an intimate conversation following the release of Surviving R. Kelly. Now, she is evaluating the drama almost three months later.
During the interview, King confronted Kelly, 52, about sexual abuse allegations against him, all of which he adamantly denied. Before long, the "Ignition" singer got irate, jumped from his seat and stood over King shouting. King noted in an interview with PEOPLE that the tension grew fast during her sit down with Kelly.
"When he jumped out of the chair, and he's hitting, and he's screaming, and spit is flying because he's angry, I just thought, 'You can't respond in kind to that. If you respond in kind to that, then we're both off the rails,'" King recalled. "My main thing at that time was, 'I still have some more questions, please don't let him walk out of this interview. We're not don yet.'"
She continued, "I thought, if I made eye contact — I looked at him, I also looked at the chair — to let him know that I'm not going anywhere. And in the end, he sat back down and we continued the interview."
King admitted that she wasn't aware just how frightening Kelly standing over her looked until she saw the footage and photos afterward. She wasn't afraid, however. King told PEOPLE she didn't think, at any point during her talk with Kelly, that she was in danger.
"I never thought, as jarring as that looks, and as unsettling and certainly disturbing, I never thought he was going to hurt me. I was never afraid. I just knew that he was angry, I knew that he was irritated with some of the questions, but I also thought he knew the questions were fair. I was just worried that he would accidentally hit me, the way he was moving all around," King said.
She added, "I never felt physically in danger, that, 'Oh God, he could do something to me.' I didn't feel that."
King attributed Kelly's behavior that day to "a bit of a breakdown."
The R&B singer certainly hasn't had it easy since Surviving R. Kelly premiered. In addition to being hit with 10 counts of sexual abuse, Kelly is said to have been facing some financial hardships. The Blast reported that the disgraced recording artist's bank account was overdrawn after authorities seized $150,000 from him. His account was said to be negative $13 after the withdrawal.
The money taken from Kelly's Windtrust Bank account was money he allegedly owed a former landlord. He reportedly had two other band accounts with Bank of America. Each one held $44,595.58 and $154,527.22 respectively. Everything but $625 was reportedly taken from those accounts for his former landlord, too.
Per the report, Kelly's former landlord was granted a $173,000 judgement against him. His legal team had been working tirelessly to collect the money he was owed to no avail, until Kelly's bank accounts and record label, Sony Music and the ASCAP, were subpoenaed. For their part, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers said Kelly wasn't owed money at that time.
In addition to the legal and financial battle with his former landlord, Kelly was dealing with child support payments owed to his ex-wife, which a judge refused to lower for him. According to a report from CBS News, Kelly owed his ex more than $161,000, and pleaded with a judge to lower his monthly payments.
He was expected to pay $21,000 to Andrea Lee Kelly, his former wife. His lawyer told reporters he was struggling to make payments because of his recent dip in social standing. Kelly's legal rep alleged that he was having trouble making money as a result.0comments
"If you can't play a show, if you can't go out on tour, if they're not streaming your music anymore, obviously you're going to have financial problems," lawyer Steve Greenberg said. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out."
Kelly was due to return to court on May 8. He continues to be under investigation for sexual assault in several cities.
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