R. Kelly's Ex Wife Drea Not Participating in the Lifetime Docuseries Follow-Up Surviving R. Kelly Part II
The four-hour series Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning will air in three parts on Jan. 2, 3 and 4
Lifetime announced on Wednesday that it would be airing the Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning in early 2020, but the follow-up to the network’s bombshell docuseries will not feature the embattled singer’s former wife, Drea Kelly.
The new special, airing in three parts on Jan. 2, 3 and 4, will examine the impact of the original series, which was first broadcast in January 2019. In addition, it will also provide an update on the lengthy list of R. Kelly‘s legal battles, which have spread across multiple states.
However, soon after news of the sequel became public, Drea — who leveled numerous allegations of abuse against her ex husband in the initial season — revealed that she will not be appearing in the program.
“It was brought to Drea Kelly’s attention that [Surviving R. Kelly Part II] promotions, along with the introduction and various segments of the series portrays the likeness of Ms. Kelly despite her adamant requests and refusal to participate in said production,” her representative said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Ms. Kelly fears that it may mislead audiences to believe she was a full participant in the follow-up series. The history and actions that took place before, during and after the filming of the first documentary led Ms. Kelly to decline participating on numerous occasions, including as recent as June of this year.”
The statement goes on to outline Drea’s reasons for her refusal to participate, including accusations that the production company reached out to her “children, immediate family members & associates, despite her request not to do so,” lacked “emotional support and conflict resolution assistance” for some of the on-film survivors, failed to provide proper aftercare and support for the survivors, and inadequate “security throughout the scope of the documentary’s screening and promotional tours.” (An early New York screening of Surviving R. Kelly last December was evacuated after shooting threats.)
Later on Wednesday afternoon , Lisa Van Allen, who also voiced accusations against Kelly in Surviving R. Kelly, shared a statement on Instagram denying her involvement in the second season despite claims that producers had used “used old footage of me” in new promotional materials.
Representatives for Lifetime have declined PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Surviving R. Kelly featured wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family members, former friends and colleagues and most notably, the women who claimed that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and young girls. (Kelly’s camp have repeatedly denied these claims.)
At the time of last year’s premiere, Drea — who also spoke out against Kelly in June 2018 — detailed the alleged abuse she suffered at his hand in an interview with PEOPLE.
“He was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he really was,” said Drea, now 45, who first met Kelly at age 19. “I started as a dancer. He was my boss. We weren’t allowed to talk to the other dancers or other artists on tour. We had to walk in a straight line, be in your room at a certain time. I’m like, ‘Okay, he runs a tight ship.’ Never looked at it as controlling.”
After falling in love she said he proposed and secretly arranged their wedding, which none of their friends or family attended. Then says Drea, came the abuse. “It started with yelling and being slapped and grabbed. He chips away at your self-esteem, your ability to even think. You’re just thinking, ‘What do I do to not piss him off?'”
During their marriage, Drea said she and her children also had to deal with the effects of Kelly’s scandals. In 2002, R. Kelly was indicted after a video surfaced showing a man engaged in lurid sex acts with a woman who some witnesses testified was 14 at the time of the recording. Both R. Kelly and the 14-year-old denied it was them and R. Kelly was never charged with assault. In 2008, R. Kelly was found not guilty after being indicted with 21 counts of child pornography.
The accusations took a toll on their whole family. “My children have had to deal with kids telling them, ‘Your daddy is the guy who peed on people,'” she told PEOPLE, “and it’s ongoing.”
Recalling her breaking point, Drea said, “At the time I didn’t know there was such a thing as spousal rape. He’d tried to lock me in the bathroom. I remember being ready to jump off the balcony of our hotel suite and commit suicide. Thank God I didn’t. After that I said, ‘I’m done.’ In 2004 I called my dad, packed my bags and left with our kids in the night.”
She finalized her divorce from Kelly in 2009 and obtained custody of their children. In his song “I admit” released this past summer, Kelly denies mounting accusations and sings “Ain’t seen my kids in years.”
The follow up docuseries will feature several woman who came forward in the original, including Jerhonda Pace and Kitti Jones, as well as figures like investigative journalist Jim DeRogatis, State’s Attorney for Cook County Kimberly Foxx, #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke, and Michael Avenatti — a lawyer who represents a number of Kelly’s accusers.