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R Kelly holds nothing back in frank interview with GQ

In a starkly revealing and lengthy no-holds barred interview with GQ, singer R Kelly opens up about everything from his reported marriage to the late singer Aaliyah and child pornography charges to his childhood in Chicago and defending actor Bill Cosby.

“Aaliyah? I heard first of all this soft voice, but very…a lot of charisma,” Kelly says in the interview.

“And I saw her as a star the minute I heard her sing and dance. Saw her dance. She wasn’t the greatest dancer, but the dance moves she was doing were different than the other dancers that I’ve seen on television. And I said, ‘This girl’s gonna be a star, whether I work with her or not.’ ”

“… Uh, I would describe it as best friends. Deep friends. As far as we both loved music and wanted to be successful. … “Yes. I would say I loved ‘liyah. … Well, there’s a lot of ways to be in love with a person. I was in love with my grandfather, you know. But yeah, I would say I was in love with Aaliyah just like I was in love with anybody else. But in a different, friend type of way.”

On the topic of Bill Cosby, who is facing charges of alleged sexual assault, Kelly states:

“Well, my opinion on that is, I don’t know what happened. I’m a fan of Bill Cosby’s from the Bill Cosby show, of course—who’s not?—and for me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it’s true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago. And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there’s something strange about it. That’s my opinion. It’s just strange.”

When asked about settling cases involving accusations of alleged under-age sex that have been brought against him over the years, Kelly says “he shouldn’t have settled — he was wrong, in these cases, to follow his lawyers’ advice — and that he only did it to avoid bad publicity.” When asked if his accusere were lying, Kelly replies: “All of them. And it wasn’t many. It wasn’t like it was a whole ton of people. But the people that did were absolutely lying. Absolutely.”

Read the entire interview here.