Donnell Russell Charged for Threatening to 'Shoot Up' Theater

Donnell Russell is accused of threatening a theater in New York in December 2018

TheWrap takes a look back at R&B singer R. Kelly’s long history of scandal, many involving accusations of sexual relationships with underage women. 


  • 1994: R. Kelly marries underage Aaliyah

    Kelly met singer Aaliyah Haughton in 1991 when she was 12. When she was 15, they got married using a marriage license that falsely claimed she was 18. The marriage was later annulled in Detroit before her untimely death in 2001 at age 22.


  • 1996: Lawsuit filed against Kelly for sex with minors

    According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Tiffany Hawkins filed a lawsuit against Kelly in 1996, saying that he began having sex with her when she was 15 and that the relationship lasted until she was 18. The suit was settled later, with Hawkins getting $250,000 in damages. 

    Chicago Sun TImes

  • 1996: Four men file a lawsuit against Kelly after a fight

    Kelly was involved in a fight outside of a Louisiana health club in which one victim ended up receiving 110 stitches to his face, according to MTV News. Kelly reached a settlement in 1997 and was sentenced to one-year probation on a battery charge. 


  • 2001: Another lawsuit

    In 2001, another woman named Tracy Sampson also filed a lawsuit, saying he had sex with her when she was 17. The lawsuit was settled out of court, according to MTV News. 



  • 2002: First sex tape leaks

    In February 2002, just after Kelly performed at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Salk Lake City, the Chicago Sun-Times obtained a copy of a video that apparently depicted Kelly having sex with a girl believed to be underage and urinating on her; the newspaper sent it to police. He was indicted in June on 21 counts of child pornography and sex with a minor but would not stand trial until 2008.

  • 2002: And still more images with underage girls

    Also that June, police in Polk County, Florida, discovered 12 more R-rated images of the girl from the sex tape on Kelly’s digital camera either naked or having sex with the singer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The case was later dropped because of a legal challenge regarding the search warrants to obtain the images, according to MTV News. 




  • 2002: More lawsuits 

    In 2002, Patrice Jones filed another lawsuit against Kelly, saying that he impregnated her and then forced her to get an abortion, according to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis. The suit was settled out of court. 



  • 2005: Kelly’s wife said he hit her when she wanted a divorce

    Kelly’s wife, Andrea Lee, claimed that he hit her when she wanted to get divorced. No charges were ever filed and she later defended the singer in a   2007 interview with Essence, adding it was “ludicrous” to even ask her about the sex tapes. They divorced in 2009. 


  • 2008: Kelly stands trial for sex tape

    At Kelly’s trial for the sex tape, his brother testified that the singer was indeed depicted depicted in the video. A friend of the girl in the tape also testified that she had a three-way with Kelly and the underage girl, according to the New York Times. But the girl on the tape refused to testify; he was acquitted on all counts. 

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • 2011: Kelly’s foreclosed home is purchased 

    J.P. Morgan Chase Bank foreclosed on Kelly’s 20,000-square-foot mansion outside Chicago, claiming he owed $2.9 million on the house, according to NBC Chicago. The house was later sold at auction for $950,000. 


  • 2017: BuzzFeed exposé claims Kelly holds young women against their will

    In a BuzzFeed News story, individuals claim Kelly is holding six adult women against their will in homes in Chicago and outside Atlanta that parents of one of the women describe as a “cult.” Jim DeRogatis’ story claims the singer dictates “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.” Kelly has not responded to the new accusations. 


  • The “Trapped in the Closet” singer has been caught up in controversy for years

    TheWrap takes a look back at R&B singer R. Kelly’s long history of scandal, many involving accusations of sexual relationships with underage women. 

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