Disgraced singer R. Kelly has been handed his final sentence. The star will be locked up for the foreseeable future, with all the women affected by his actions finally being able to sigh some relief. One key person at the center of it all is ex-wife Drea Kelly. She recently opened up about the trial and the toll it took on her.
Drea started off with Robert, like several other women did, as a fan. She would eventually work for him as a backing dancer in the early ’90s. The pair would fall in love and marry by 1996. In total, they share three children; Joanne, Jaah, and Robert Jr. By 2005, Drea was already fighting to get out of the marriage and filed for divorce after being granted a restraining order. In January 2009, she and Robert were officially separated.
When the Mute R. Kelly movement began and more women began coming forward, Drea decided to come forward as well with her own testimony. She revealed that she, too, had been a victim of Robert and had suffered for many years. The featured heavily in the Surviving R. Kelly film and has become a motivational speaker and strong advocate for women being abused. Despite, everything she’s been through with R. Kelly, Drea Kelly has chosen to keep the singer’s last name. According to Drea, she earned that last name through sweat and tears.
Drea has opened up about the trial leaving her sad and numb and questioning her own journey. However, she found strength in helping uplift other women whose voices were not as strong as hers. “I feel like your voice is your power, and I’m here to be the voice for the voiceless, the power for the powerless, to stand in solidarity with women, that they can see if Drea Kelly can do it and face the entire world; definitely I can do it in my own little neighborhood on my own little block.”
Some fans of Kelly have pushed back against Drea’s accounts and believe she was complicit in helping Kelly court women. Under some of her posts, people have called her a pedophile and accused her of only coming forward after money from Robert stopped coming in. Drea has yet to release a statement on R. Kelly’s latest sentence.