Azriel Clary testified in R. Kelly’s New York trial. This came as a surprise to many who saw her 2019 interview with Gayle King.
In addition to speaking with Kelly about allegations of sexual abuse, King interviewed his girlfriends Clary and Joycelyn Savage.
In a new interview since Kelly’s conviction on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering, Clary tells King she was scared during that 2019 interview.
King’s interview with Clary is now streaming on Paramount+. Clary explains how Kelly instilled fear and used intimidation to make her give that interview in 2019.
The reason Azriel Clary was scared
Yes, Clary would allege abuse she suffered under Kelly. Clary told King about rules Kelly made her follow and how he cut her off from her parents.
But the reason she was afraid in their 2019 had more to do with the version of herself she was putting forth.
“I was scared because I was like I don’t want the world to see me this way,” Clary said. “I’m loving, I’m caring, I’m compassionate. No one got to see that side of me.”
King pointed out that Kelly was sitting in the next room while Clary and Savage spoke to King. King didn’t even know it was Kelly because she thought he had left.
Kelly would cough to signal to Clary and Savage.
“He was doing that to let us know that his presence was in the room and to basically do exactly what we had practiced,” Clary said. “He was there.”
Azriel Clary says R. Kelly coached her before the 2019 interview
In 2019, Clary and Savage asserted that no one was forcing them to be in a relationship with Kelly, that they were independent and also wouldn’t talk about the intimate details of their multi-partner relationship. Now, Clary says Kelly coached them.
“He came in and he told us to be angry and be upset and ‘she’s going to try to do this’ so we came in angry,” Clary said.
“Before that interview, he had us practicing every single day. Answering questions so he would have us write down questions and he would ask us those questions.
And 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.”
Azriel Clary says the 2019 interview was a wake-up call
Clary said she looks back on her 2019 interview with King as a pivotal moment in extricating herself from Kelly.
She’d begun dating Kelly when she was 17. Seeing herself under his thumb in 2019 alerted her that something was wrong.
“That is what I feel was very unfortunate about the entire situation, both me and Joy,” Clary said.
“We had no idea that we were actually the ones who were being made fun of. It was almost like mockery but I needed that.
As embarrassing and humiliating as it was, I needed that. I really did. I needed that humiliation to be able to say hey, this is not a lifestyle that is normal.
This is not a lifestyle for anyone to be living in. No one can thrive in this situation and I had to wake up from that.”
CBS News says neither Kelly’s attorneys nor Savage returned their request for comment.