R. Kelly divorce files show a decadelong battle over money

Records from singer R. Kelly’s divorce from Andrea Kelly were unsealed Monday.

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R. Kelly in June 2019 arriving at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago.

Singer R. Kelly arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building last month. Some of the records from the singer’s divorce from ex-wife Andrea Kelly were unsealed Monday for the first time since 2013.

Associated Press

R. Kelly and his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, have seldom agreed on how or what the R&B star ought to pay on his divorce settlement, records released Monday show.

Kelly and his wife have sparred over cash and custody of their three children on a regular basis since their divorce was finalized in 2009, with the courtroom battles largely shielded from public view since records were sealed in 2013. A judge last week ordered that Kelly’s files be made public “just like anyone else” after media organizations petitioned the court following Kelly’s three-day stint in the Cook County Jail in March for non-payment of some $160,000 in child support.

But Kelly’s trip to jail, which came less than a month after he spent three nights behind bars as he scraped together bond money after he was charged with criminal sexual abuse of three women, was not the first time he has fallen behind in payments.

Case records show that the singer was ordered to pay his ex-wife more than $30,000 a month as part of the divorce settlement — with $10,000 per month designated as a “maintenance” payment for Andrea Kelly that would remain in effect until January 2019. The maintenance payment was removed in 2013, after Andrea Kelly remarried. In November of that year, R. Kelly paid $113,000 to settle a back child support amount.

In August 2013 — 4½ years after the divorce judgment was entered — the singer’s lawyers asked a judge to reduce those payments, citing recording industry trends.

“Robert has seen a steady decline in his popularity, album sales, number of scheduled performances, and ultimately, as a consequence of the foregoing, his income,” they wrote.

In a January 2014 motion, Andrea Kelly’s lawyers accused her ex-husband of hiding his money, and filings detail numerous subpoenas for royalty payments and tax records requested as Andrea Kelly sought to suss out her ex-husband’s net worth.

“Robert has gone to great extents to shelter his income and assets and, upon information and belief, to place certain income and assets in the names of others,” they wrote.

Four months later, R. Kelly’s attorneys said the singer “has a tax liability of over $7 million.” By August 2013, they said, the singer had paid his wife $1.48 million.

More than 100 separate filings were released Monday, with dozens more remaining under seal while lawyers redact the names of children and other sensitive information. At the hearing last week, Kelly’s lawyers said he had paid his child support through July.

Also last week, the singer was hit with federal child pornography, obstruction of justice and racketeering charges by the U.S. attorney’s offices in the Northern District of Illinois and Eastern District of New York. He’s scheduled to appear in court in Chicago on Tuesday.

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