Azriel Clary, an R. Kelly survivor who defended him during a 2019 interview with Gayle KingGayle KingR. Kelly accuser tells Gayle King their interview was a wake-up call Nate Burleson makes leap from football to news with 'CBS Mornings' Witness says R. Kelly kept watch over girlfriends during Gayle King interview MORE, told the "CBS Mornings" co-host on Thursday that seeing how she conducted herself made Clary "wake up" to the treatment she was experiencing.
"For five years, since I was 17, I didn't have any relationships with any other women except for the women that [Kelly] had been intimate with. And so when I did that interview with you, I instantly regretted immediately how I reacted," said Clary, 23.
"I don't know, something about just watching you be very casual and calm and collected and it just reminded me of me. I was, like, 'Wait a minute. I used to be that poised. I used to be that calm. You know, what happened to that girl? Where did she go?'" Clary told King, calling the encounter a "blessing."
On Monday, Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking; he faces potentially decades in prison.
Clary confirmed that in the 2019 interview, the R&B singer had coached her and the other woman who defended him, Joycelyn Savage, and fed them answers. Clary at the time had broken down in tears and blasted the sexual abuse allegations that her parents had made against Kelly as "lies for money."
When testifying against Kelly last month, Clary disclosed that "everything" she said in the interview was "not honest," CBS reported.
Last month, one of the witnesses in Kelly's trial, only identified as Jane Doe, said Kelly kept watch over his "girlfriends" when they spoke to CBS News.
"He was letting us know he was in the room with us," Doe said.
According to Clary, seeing King in the interview made her "wake up in a sense" and forced her to ask herself, "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?"
Clary left the apartment she shared with Kelly seven months after the CBS News interview.
While speaking with King in 2019, Kelly famously exploded in a rage, pounding his chest and stalking around the room while King remained calm.
When asked how Kelly felt about the interview, Clary said that he believed he had portrayed "a great reflection of himself."