‘Surviving R. Kelly Part II’: What Did R. Kelly’s Brothers Say About the Abuse He Experienced?

Lifetime’s docuseries Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, which details allegations of child sexual abuse by R&B singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, premiered on Jan. 2. R. Kelly is currently awaiting his Apr. 2020 trial on related charges, but vehemently denies all allegations against him. 

The continuation of the bombshell docuseries features insider accounts from R. Kelly’s supporters and accusers alike, as well as his family members, former staff members, and journalists who have worked on the story for years.

Night 1 of Surviving R. Kelly Part II chronicled R. Kelly’s infamous marriage to the then fifteen-year-old late singer Aaliyah, as well as allegations of threats and violence from R. Kelly’s supporters and team members by his accusers. 

The season premiere of the three-night docuseries opened with heartbreaking interviews of R. Kelly’s two brothers, Bruce Kelly (currently incarcerated) and Carey Kelly. Both brothers claimed that R. Kelly’s earlier stories about being molested himself as a child were true and offered harrowing details about his and their own alleged abuse.

R. Kelly
R. Kelly | E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool/Getty Images

The brothers described a difficult upbringing that included abuse by a male neighbor

Bruce and Carey said on Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning that R. Kelly was once a victim before he became a perpetrator. Both men said R. Kelly used to visit their 60-something neighbor, Mr. Henry, as a child. They claimed he exposed himself to them and “tried things” with R. Kelly at a young age. 

“We fought for our life to get out that house,” said Carey of the harrowing experience. “We could hear him say, ‘Don’t tell nobody.’” 

While Carey and Bruce speculated that the experience may have played a role in R. Kelly’s alleged future behavior, many sexual assault experts and psychologists assert that the vast majority of sexual abuse survivors do not ever become perpetrators. However, in a small minority of cases, there can be a link. 

The Kellys’ mother was reportedly paid off in exchange for her silence

According to the Kellys, their mother called the police after they told her about Mr. Henry.

Carey claimed the police arrived and “looked away” as other men in the neighborhood beat Mr. Henry for his actions. However, R. Kelly’s mother eventually refused to appear in court to testify against her son’s purported abuser. Her sons claimed she was offered $5,000 in exchange for her silence on the matter.

They also described alleged abuse by a female family member

Sadly, the Kellys’ neighbor was not the only adult who allegedly victimized them sexually as children. In his song “I Admit,” R. Kelly famously claimed in one lyric that “a family member touched” him regularly “from a child until the age of 14.” 

Carey and Bruce validated their brother’s claim on Surviving R. Kelly Part II. Carey, in particular, remembered being “pushed down on the bed” and having his pants removed by the alleged abuser.

In the docuseries, the Kelly brothers referred to the abuser as a “female family member” and censored her name. However, according to a previous interview with Carey on Unwine With Tasha K, the alleged perpetrator was their older sister, Theresa Kelly, now 57.