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Azriel Clary says R. Kelly coached her on what to say during 2019 Gayle King interview

Azriel Clary admitted that she and Joycelyn Savage lied to protect the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer.

Azriel Clary AFP via Getty Images

Azriel Clary, one of the R. Kelly victims who testified against him in court, is now opening up about the 2019 interview where she and another victim defended the singer. During a new interview with Gayle King, Clary admitted that she and Joycelyn Savage lied to protect the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer. She said he coached them on what to say and told them to act “angry.”

“He did his interview first,” she said about Kelly. “Like, he came in and he told us to be angry and be upset and she’s gonna try to do this, And so we were — we came in angry.”

Clary, who was 21 years old at the time of the previous interview, said she was “scared” to let the world see her as an angry woman. “I was scared because I was, like, ‘I don’t want the world to see me this way,’ you know? I don’t — I’m loving, I’m caring, I’m compassionate. And no one got to see that side of me,” she said.

On Monday (Sept. 27), Kelly was convicted of one count of racketeering, with 14 underlying acts that included sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and sex trafficking charges. He was also convicted of eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law. Clary testified that the 12 Play singer began sexually abusing her when she was only 17 years old.

Looking back, Clary said she believes the 2019 interview was a “blessing” and caused something in her to shift.

“It kind of made me kind of wake up in a sense, and realize, ‘Why am I acting like this? Why am I putting myself through all of this misery? Why am I exploiting myself for a man who has me in this position in the first place, you know?’ And I really had to come to terms and, you know, realize that it wasn’t love,” she said. “Love doesn’t hurt, you know?”

Check out Clary’s new interview with King below.

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