CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King said the one subject she was not allowed to touch on during her interview with R&B singer R. Kelly was his relationship with the late Aaliyah.
In an interview with The New York Times about the explosive interview, King explained that his representatives told her she could not ask about the "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" singer.
"They didn’t want any questions about Aaliyah, which I was fine with," King explained. "I feel we have heard the Aaliyah story. Really, this interview was about R. Kelly’s reaction to the Surviving R. Kelly documentary and the latest charges, and they said he cannot discuss the latest charges because those are still in court. Okay, fine. I still feel we had a lot of information to get from R. Kelly."
King did not ask about Aaliyah, and the singer was only briefly mentioned at the beginning of CBS News' hour-long special about the interview Friday night.
Kelly was introduced to Aaliyah in the early 1990s, and he quickly became her mentor and produced her first album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number in 1994. Around the time of the record's release, rumors of a romantic relationship between Kelly and Aaliyah began to swirl. In August 1994, the two married with a then-15-year-old Aaliyah listed as 18 on the marriage certificate. The marriage was annulled less than a year later. After ending her professional relationship with Kelly, Aaliyah continued to record and perform. She died in a plane crash at the age of 22 in 2001.
King's interview with Kelly was filmed in Chicago on Tuesday, while he was out on bail after being arrested on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. The day after the interview, Kelly was arrested again for failing to pay child support.
The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer has been dogged by allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct against underage girls for two decades, but has long denied it. During the interview with King, he got up, yelled and cried while declaring his innocence.
"Thirty years of my career! And y'all trying to kill me? You killing me, man! This is not about music!" Kelly yelled. "I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids! And I can't do it! Y'all just don't want to believe the truth! You don't want to believe it!"
While some feared Kelly would hurt King, the anchor told O: The Oprah Magazine she was never scared.
"I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me," King explained. "After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave."
King chose to not get in the way, and instead let Kelly's crisis manager try to calm him down.0comments
"So what I was really thinking to myself was: I'm not done with this interview, so I'm going to let him have his moment," she said. "If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say 'This is over.' So I didn't interrupt his anger and let him have that."
Photo credit: CBS