R. Kelly accuser Azriel Clary says she was manipulated, coached before 2019 Gayle King interview

"I was lost, and I felt invisible, and I gave someone that control over me to basically make me do whatever it was that they wanted me to do," Clary told King in a new interview, her first since the trial.


R. Kelly accuser Azriel Clary said the singer manipulated and threatened her and coached her on how to act in an emotional interview Thursday with "CBS Mornings."

Clary, 23, was one of the women who lived with Kelly at his home in Chicago. She testified against him in his high-profile sex-trafficking trial in New York, which ended this week with Kelly's conviction on charges of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting people across state lines "for any immoral purpose."

Kelly, 54, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has been in custody for much of the time since he was charged in 2019, and he faces decades in prison when he is sentenced May 4.

He also faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

Azriel Clary arrives for R. Kelly's status hearing in New York in 2019.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters file

"I was lost, and I felt invisible, and I gave someone that control over me to basically make me do whatever it was that they wanted me to do and act however they wanted me to act," Clary told co-host Gayle King in her first interview since the trial.

Clary described how Kelly would manipulate her and other women and threaten to throw them "around this entire room" if he found out that they had tried to discuss any attempt to escape. She said Kelly coached her and another woman, Joycelyn Savage, on what to say before an interview with King in 2019, which made national headlines when Kelly got out of his seat and forcefully denied allegations of sexual abuse.

"I didn't do this stuff," he said in the interview. "This is not me. I'm fighting for my f------ life."

Clary said that before she and Savage sat down with King for the interview, Kelly "came in and he told us to be angry and upset," adding: "So we came in angry. And I was scared, because I was like I don't want the world to see me this way, you know. I'm loving. I'm caring. I'm compassionate, and no one got to see that side of me.

"Before that interview, he had us practicing every single day," she said. "If he didn't like our answer, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it. So any time you mention anything about sexual preference, we already know to say, 'I'm not here to talk about that,' because that's what he told us to say every single time."

Clary told King that she wasn't honest about anything she said in the 2019 interview. Savage and her representatives couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Clary also talked about testifying against Kelly, telling King she was "happy" that he no longer had control over her.

"Everything that we were living in had become very normal, and I had to break out of that. I had to realize that this is actually abnormal," Clary said.

Kelly's attorney didn't immediately reply to an email and a phone call about the interview Thursday.