In Lifetime’s new six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, the 52-year-old R&B singer’s brothers — Bruce and Carey — break their silence opening up about the man accused of abusing women for decades.
They said their brother was a “mild-mannered,” “afraid” and “timid” kid while they grew up together in Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens housing projects.
“Robert is not cut from a cloth of being street,” Carey, who is R. Kelly’s younger brother, said. “He didn’t come outside, he stayed in the house and played with his keyboard.”
Bruce, who is R. Kelly’s older brother and is interviewed from Chicago’s Cook County Jail as he is currently incarcerated, also said,
“Rob was shy and very timid. If you stared at him in his face he would cry.”
Bruce detailed how R. Kelly had problems reading and writing when he was a kid and said he came home to find his brother crying in the bathroom after being bullied.
“I said, ‘Robert what’s wrong with you man?’ Bruce said. “He just broke down again, ‘I’m just tired of all these kids teasing me.’”
Once the family moved out of the projects, Carey said: “a lot of things changed for the worst.” During a 2016 interview with GQ, R. Kelly revealed that he was sexually abused by a relative from the age of 7 or 8 to around the time he was 14 or 15.
“It teaches you to definitely be sexual earlier than you should have, than you’re supposed to,” he said. “You know, no different than putting a loaded gun in a kid’s hand — he gonna grow up being a shooter, probably. I think it affects you tremendously when that happens at an early age. To be more hornier. Your hormones are up more than they would normally be. Mine was.”
Carey said he believed R. Kelly abuse claims because it also happened to him.
“I was molested by a family member and that shook my world,” Carey said. “I knew it wasn’t right even though I was 6 at the time. I was afraid to tell my mom. Robert, being my big brother — I brought that to him and told him what happened to me. And when I told him he didn’t really respond to it like I thought he should. He said, ‘Naw, that didn’t happen to you.’ I said, ‘Yes it did.’ He said, ‘No it didn’t.’ I left it at that.”
While out on tour with R. Kelly in the past, Carey claimed that his brother “had some guys, who, if he said, ‘Go get some girls from the mall,’ they’d go get some girls.” During his interview, Bruce also said that R. Kelly liked “younger women.”
“You have people who have fantasies about different things,” he said. “I like older women, go figure, you know. But that’s just a preference. Everyone has preferences. So what is the big deal? What is the big issue with my brother?”
R.Kelly’s team haven’t responded to the documentary as of yet. The 3-part “Surviving R. Kelly” airs on Lifetime at 9 p.m. ET from Thursday, Jan. 3 to Saturday, Jan. 5.