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R. Kelly says ex-wife has made it impossible for him to pay child support

In his first interview since being charged with having sex with underage girls, R. Kelly is saying the accusations are lies. | CBS News

R. Kelly believes that his ex-wife is largely responsible for his inability to pay $161,000 in child support — a delinquent sum that landed him back in the Cook County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

In newly broadcast footage of his interview with Gayle King of “CBS This Morning,” Kelly said that his ex-wife had dragged his name through the mud to the point that he couldn’t work.

“How can I pay child support — How? — if my ex-wife is destroying my name and I can’t work?” Kelly said through tears. “How can I work? How can I get paid? How can I take care of my kids? How? Use your common sense.”

Kelly’s comments were broadcast less than a day after he was at the Daley Center for a closed-door hearing on the delinquent child support he owes his ex-wife.

At the conclusion of the 90-minute hearing, Kelly was taken back into custody and sent to the Cook County Jail. According to the sheriff’s office, Kelly will remain in custody at the Cook County Jail until he pays the $161,663 he owes to his ex-wife. His next court hearing in the case is March 13 at the Daley Center.

In the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, said that she called the National Domestic Violence Hotline when the two were married.

“I went to the National Domestic Violence Awareness Hotline, and there are 17 questions,” Andrea Kelly said. “There was only two things on that list that Robert hadn’t done to me. And that’s when it became real to me, like ‘Drea, you’re being abused.’”

Another clip of King’s interview with Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage was also aired Thursday morning. Clary and Savage are Kelly’s girlfriends who live with him in Trump Tower. Their parents have said they’ve been “brainwashed” by Kelly.

Clary and Savage, though, maintain that their parents are lying as a means to extort money from Kelly — a charge their parents vehemently deny.

Clary claimed her parents encouraged her to take sexually suggestive photos and videos with Kelly as an insurance policy.

“They said because if they ever have to blackmail him, what they’re trying to do now, they can use it against him, which is exactly what they’re doing,” Clary said, adding that her father is “a manipulative liar.”

“Our parents are basically out here just to get money,” Savage said.

In a statement issued Wednesday, attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Clary’s parents, said:

“We have never received a penny from R. Kelly. We have never asked R. Kelly for money. And we never ‘sold’ our daughter to him or anyone else. R. Kelly is a desperate liar and serial abuser of young girls who should die in prison. All of the victims and parents cannot be lying.”

The attorney for Savage’s parents, Gerald Griggs, said at a Wednesday press conference in Atlanta that the family has also never received money from Kelly, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“At no point have the Savages requested or received money from [Kelly],” Griggs said. “They don’t want any money. He has settled at least six cases with non-disclosure arrangements. Why was he making those payout if there was nothing nefarious happening?”

R. Kelly’s jail booking photo over failing to pay child support. | Cook County Sheriff’s Office

As Kelly was being held in the Cook County Jail Thursday morning — his second stay in the sprawling Little Village complex in less than a month — his publicist, Darrell Johnson, was meeting with Kelly’s attorney at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the Loop.

While Johnson said Wednesday that Kelly might be held in jail until next week, he told reporters Thursday that the R&B superstar would likely be released by Friday at the latest. Kelly’s team, he said, was working hard to get the $161,633 needed to secure his release.

“Right now his team is working on getting him out today,” Johnson said. “They’re working really hard to get it. I think by the end of the day it’ll happen. No later than tomorrow.”

Echoing his client, Johnson said that Kelly’s inability to book performances was crippling his finances.

“R. Kelly has had a lot of issues with finances, and so right now, with things going on in his life, child support, [he] can’t get booked,” Johnson said. “He can’t go out and tour and do anything. And just bad management throughout the years, it has hurt him. He’s strapped for cash.”

MORE ABOUT R. KELLY

The R. Kelly investigation
R. Kelly back in jail for failing to pay $160K in child support
In emotional interview, R. Kelly says ‘I have been buried alive, but I’m alive’