Sinbad Ended His Friendship With R. Kelly When Kelly Married Aaliyah

The outrage over R. Kelly marrying a teenage Aaliyah was reignited after the airing of the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. Former friends, employees, and colleagues of the disgraced singer told intimate details of Kelly’s relationship with Aaliyah and how the relationship came to an end after it became public knowledge that they married. One former friend of Kelly’s who ended his friendship with the singer after his marriage to Aaliyah is Sinbad. 

R. Kelly and Aaliyah
R. Kelly and Aaliyah via Twitter

A recap of R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s brief marriage

Aaliyah was introduced as Kelly’s protegee. He wrote and produced her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. Rumors of the two dating were always present, as Kelly was always by Aaliyah’s side and even appeared in the distance on the cover of her debut album. 

Aaliyah debut album cover
Aaliyah debut album cover via Twitter

During a BET interview in 1994, they were asked about the status of their relationship. Aaliyah denied there was anything romantic between them, saying that Kelly was her “best friend” and that the two were “very close.”

But when MTV News published a story about Kelly and Aaliyah marrying, the rumors were put to rest. According to the official marriage license, Aaliyah and Kelly married at an Illinois courthouse on August 31, 1994. At the time of their marriage, Aaliyah was 15 and Kelly was 27, though the licensed listed Aaliyah as 18.

Related: Why Aaliyah Fans Are Furious With Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Docuseries

It was later revealed during Surviving R. Kelly that Kelly’s road manager purchased fake identification for Aaliyah. He also revealed that Kelly told him he had to marry Aaliyah because she became pregnant. 

When Aaliyah’s parents discovered their daughter and Kelly married, they cut off all ties with him. The marriage was annulled in February 1995.

According to Surviving R. Kelly, Aaliyah’s family signed a non-disclosure agreement, vowing to never speak of nor admit to the relationship. They were also allegedly paid $100,000 by Kelly. To date, they deny that Aaliyah and Kelly were ever married.

Sinbad was friends with R. Kelly but cut ties with the singer when he discovered Kelly married Aaliyah

Sinbad and R. Kelly met before Kelly became famous. He told Luenell during an interview with Vlad TV that at the time of becoming friends with him, Kelly was a street performer. Sinbad admitted that Kelly always was sexually charged in his music and his performances, but claimed that it was what made him a star. 

R. Kelly and Aaliyah
R. Kelly and Aaliyah via Twitter

When asked if he ever saw Kelly with young women, Sinbad said that Kelly kept many women around him but he did not know what their ages were. It wasn’t until he discovered that Kelly married Aaliyah that he distanced himself from Kelly.

“When the Aaliyah stuff went down, that’s when I was like no. I’m not gonna mention his name but one of my people worked for him, and I said, ‘Bro until you cut ties [with Kelly] – because you can’t tell me you don’t know what’s going up. You can’t tell me you don’t know, you can’t man,’” Sinbad explained.

R. Kelly and Aaliyah
R. Kelly and Aaliyah via Twitter

Sinbad said that Kelly was interested in working with his daughter at one point, but the comedian refused, telling his friend who worked with Kelly, “Imma kill you first and then Imma go and get him [Kelly].”

He also said that he believed some of the parents of Kelly’s alleged victims are responsible for their daughter’s being abused by Kelly, explaining that some of the parents were so blinded by the promise of fame for their children that they put them in danger.