‘He Had Us Practicing Every Single Day’: Azriel Clary Says R. Kelly Coached Her For Gayle King Interview
Back in 2019, Azriel Clary went on CBS News and infamously stood by her then-abuser R. Kelly . Throughout the interview she was hostile, aggressive, sobbing and adamantly denied that Kelly was the serial rapist that he was portrayed to be in the media. Earlier this week, Clary sat down with King again and admitted everything she said was a lie and that Kelly had coached her on how to handle the interview. She said Kelly told her and Joycelyn Savage to be angry and upset.
“Before that interview, you know, he had us practicing every single day,” she told King. “Answering questions and if he didn’t like our answers, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it.”
Clary, 23, said after the interview Kelly was happy with their performance and even wanted to celebrate.
“He was, like, ‘You guys did amazing. You know, you did so well. You carried yourself so well.’ I believe he even, like, got food and wanted to celebrate. That’s how happy he was with that interview. And I was just there, like, ‘Wow.'”
She said Kelly even believed that he had done well during his sit down with King. Clips from the interview had gone viral due to Kelly unraveling, crying and screaming that he was innocent.
“Truthfully, I think he believed that he had done well,” Clary recalled. “He felt like he had really made a great reflection of himself and where he was in life and how all these women were lying on him and how all these people were just, you know, out to get him. And, you know, that sympathy card that he just loves so much.”
Clary, who met Kelly when she was 17, was also one of his victims who testified in the Brooklyn federal trial last month. Kelly was found guilty on all charges including racketeering, kidnapping, sex trafficking and violating the Mann Act. Clary told King that “it was very disturbing to have to relive those moments.”
“A piece of me was happy because I felt like this person no longer has control over me, you know? You don’t tell me what to do and what to wear and where to go and how long to be in a room anymore.”
Clary left Kelly in 2019, seven months after her first interview with King. She said after she spoke to her, she had a moment of enlightenment.
“It kind of made me kind of wake up in a sense, and realize, ‘Why am I acting like this? Why am I putting myself through all of this misery? Why am I exploiting myself for a man who has me in this position in the first place, you know?’ And I really had to come to terms and, you know, realize that it wasn’t love. Love doesn’t hurt, you know?”
King went on to say that Clary is in therapy but still lives in fear and receives death threats from R. Kelly supporters.
Watch the full interview below.