In a statement to PEOPLE, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg denied these claims

By Robyn Merrett
January 30, 2020 08:15 PM
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R. Kelly‘s former girlfriend Azriel Clary is claiming the singer verbally and physically abused her while they were together.

During a recent interview with The Sun, Clary, 22, said she was abused and brainwashed by Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly. R. Kelly’s lawyer denies the claims Clary made in her interview with The Sun.

Azriel first met Kelly, 53, when she was just 17 and soon went on to become one of his five live-in girlfriends, she told The Sun.

She explained to the outlet that Kelly gave her the title of being his “number one girl” and promised to marry her one day.

However, she told The Sun their romance took a dark turn when he began forcing her to have group sex with him and other men as well as other women up to five times a day.

If she or other women didn’t do as they were told, Clary claimed that Kelly would beat them or get the women to beat each other up.

Clary went on to allege that Kelly would also get jealous if she was in contact with anyone other than him.

“I was talking to my friends from high school and he didn’t like that I was still talking to them. He thought that I was keeping things from him. I was just in communication with two of my girlfriends and he made me text them a very long lie, basically saying why I no longer wanted to be friends with them. And then he beat me, he abused me verbally and then he beat physically,” Clary told The Sun. “Then he beat me with a shoe — a size 12, Nike Air Force One shoe.”

Azriel Clary
Azriel Clary
| Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock

“He beat me all over, it felt like hours and I was covered in welts all the way from my neck down,” Clary alleged.

After the beating, Clary told The Sun that Kelly later apologized “and sobbed and cried.”

Still, the abuse didn’t stop, Clary said. “Sexual abuse did happen regularly.”

Clary alleged that he continued to have control on her and Kelly’s other girlfriend Joycelyn Savage even after he went to jail in July.

“MCC [The Metropolitan Correctional Center] is on the left side of the street [of the apartment] and there’s a train that runs straight in front of the MCC in Chicago,” Clary told The Sun.

“So, every day he would make us go up there and stand up there and wave to him at four o’clock through the window of the jail,” Clary alleged to The Sun.

Despite the traumatic occurrences, Clary remained supportive of Kelly in public — something she said she now regrets.

Clary told The Sun she lied during her and Savage’s March 2019 interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning.

“I was very naïve and very brainwashed and manipulated by him,” Clary told The Sun. “I’m grown enough to admit that yes, I was brainwashed. Yes, this man did have me wrapped around his finger. If he would have told me to jump, I would have said, ‘How high?'”

Azriel Clary
Jocelyn Savage and Azriel Clary
| Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty

“It was all because I just genuinely just loved him and I love hard,” Clary told The Sun.

While Clary managed to leave the relationship, she explained it won’t be easy for other women to.

“Robert has his live-in girlfriends, he has girlfriends in every city. He has flings in every city. For the most part he blackmails everyone. He makes everyone do very degrading stuff, whether on film or writing it down, he makes them sign it,” Clary alleged to The Sun.

“I think a lot of women are ashamed or embarrassed to come out because of stuff like that because it’ll be incriminating them — there’s so much stuff,” she told the news outlet.

Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg denied these claims in a statement, telling PEOPLE, “We are shocked to learn that Ms. Clary is making these allegations. They are false. What she now says is directly contrary to truth, and the facts that have been brought forward by Ms. Clary in the past.

“It is also directly contrary to what we expect to be the proof. As with other ‘accusers’, the lack of proof and their past actions impeach them,” Greenberg adds. “In sum, Ms. Clary had a long-term consensual relationship with Mr. Kelly. It continued after he was arrested, when she was free to do as she wished.”

“It is clear that she now seeks to personally capitalize from their relationship, and the only way to do so is to parrot the false narrative, egged on by her father,” Greenberg continues. “The allegations are not true. Still, Mr. Kelly bears only good will towards Ms. Clary.”

After several years of not seeing her loved ones, Clary was reunited with her family earlier this month.

The reunion came after Clary was involved with an alleged fight with Savage inside of Kelly’s Trump Tower condo in Chicago.

After the fight, Azriel’s mom Alice confirmed to PEOPLE that her daughter was back in contact with her family.

On Jan. 13, Azriel shared a series of sweet photos of herself posing along with her family on Instagram.

“Let the healing process begin,” Azriel began her emotional caption. “Love y’all and thank y’all ❤️I even thank everyone who follows me.. because you all believed in me when I could not believe for myself. ??? #movingontobetterdays.”

“P.S – everyone will be posting [their] own fave photos so make sure y’all follow the family! #ontherunwithazriel,” she concluded.

Azriel’s mother revealed to PEOPLE that she couldn’t be happier to reunite with her daughter.

“The battle is won because she’s still here, she’s still alive, she’s still breathing and though she lost a few years of her life, she’s still here to tell her story,” Alice said. “Because I chose not to keep her secluded in her life, she’s here now and we’re able to say the victory is won because she finally came to her senses.”

Kelly is currently being held without bail in federal prison in Chicago after being arrested on several sex crime charges, including child pornography, racketeering and obstruction of justice in both Illinois and New York, PEOPLE previously reported. He pleaded not guilty to all of those charges.

Most recently, the singer pleaded not guilty to a racketeering charge brought forward by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn last month.

Kelly, who was also interviewed by King in March, broke down in tears, denying every allegation against him.