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R. Kelly says surviving childhood abuse hasn't affected his own behavior

R. Kelly on how surviving abuse impacted him
R. Kelly says surviving childhood abuse has not affected his behavior 08:01

In his first interview since he was jailed last month, R. Kelly told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King that the charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse are all lies. The singer spoke with King for nearly 80 minutes on Tuesday and strongly denied having sex with underage girls or doing anything illegal.

In the interview, King asked Kelly about his rough childhood and his own story of surviving years of sexual abuse. He also discussed how the allegations against him could affect his personal life and career. Allegations against Kelly sparked the hashtag #MuteRKelly and led streaming music sites like Pandora and Spotify to pull his music from playlists and any promotion on the site. 

"Do you still expect people to buy your music? How do you think your music should sit with people?" King asked.

"Absolutely. I think they should. Although a lot of 'em may not. But, like I said, I'm really not really fightin' for my career here. I'm fightin' for my rights and I'm fightin' to have a relationship with my kids most of all, more than anything. I want a relationship with my kids 'cause I've missed a lot of years of their life. They love me. I love them," he said.

He believes they still want a relationship with him despite the charges he's facing and the intense scrutiny he's under.

"I bet ya they do. I bet my breath on it, you know? But they're pressured. And I get it. They're pressured. So I get it. But I believe that's gonna change in due time," he said.

Kelly has three children. After Lifetime aired the docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly," which featured interviews with seven accusers and former members of his inner circle, his daughter took to Instagram to say she is distancing herself from Kelly.

"You have daughters. If your daughters called you and said that somebody is doing to them what the allegations are about you, would you be OK with that?" King asked.

"Then I would have to arrest myself after I did what I had to do," he replied.

R. Kelly says parents of women he lives with handed their daughters over to him 04:33

Kelly has spoken candidly about being a sexual abuse survivor himself. He says he was molested starting at the age of 7.

"It hasn't affected me at all. I mean, it has affected me in — a way though. Yeah. It affected me in this way — anything I've been through, that — or any struggles I've had in my past has affected my music."

But Kelly denied that it has had any effect on his behavior. 

"Absolutely not. Because I'm gonna tell you somethin'. You know, I know people say, 'Oh, well, he was abused. Well, that's why he doin' that.' No, no, no, no, no. Because if – 'cause I'm not stupid," he said.

King told Kelly that experts in child sexual abuse say most people who are abusers have been abused, but not all people that have been abused go out and abuse others.

"But they didn't say 'all,' did they?" he said. "Here I stand … I'm in the 'not all.' I'm in the 'not all,' OK? But they also didn't say when you're R. Kelly, OK, and you're famous, and your name is ringin' 25 million times a day all over the world, OK, of people tryin' to get money from you, OK, and they're using' your past, they're using the past allegations, the past case that he beat to link it on to that, OK? They're using that."

Kelly said he is "absolutely" thinking about going to therapy, something King encouraged him to consider.

"'Cause I do think it could be helpful for you. You have a lot to process. You know, it seems like, you know, some could say you might seem out of touch to a lot of people," King said. She continued, "I mean your perception of the charges against you. I know it's your side and it's your story. But you have a different perception than most of the world has about you."

Still, Kelly denied that those perceptions carry any truth.

"People have perceptions," he said. "I have truth."

"Do you think you're invincible?" King asked.

"Oh, absolutely not," Kelly replied. "I just think I'm human."

Kelly has faced intense scrutiny for more than a decade, which was reignited in January after the six-part Lifetime docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly." It featured interviews with seven accusers and former members of his inner circle. They all said Kelly preys on vulnerable women and young girls.

"Have you done anything that you regret, have you done anything wrong?" King asked.

"Lots of things wrong when it comes to women that I apologized, but I apologized in those relationships at the time that I was in the relationships, OK?" Kelly said.

"Have you broken any laws when it comes to women?" King asked.

"Absolutely not," Kelly responded.

One of the first accusers and witness in his original trial Sparkle (Stephanie Edwards) provided CBS News with the following statement through her publicist, Michelle Watts, "My client Sparkle has been on a mission to protect our young girls and hold this predator accountable for his actions. While her fight is not over, she does believe we're now moving in the right direction."

Tune in to "CBS This Morning" on Thursday, March 7, for more of our interview with R. Kelly and to hear from Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, who live with the R&B star and deny they are being held against their will.

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