Azriel Clary has been estranged from her parents for nearly three years and living with R. Kelly, whom she first met at a concert back in 2015 when she was 17

By Dave Quinn
March 13, 2019 01:54 PM
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The parents of Azriel Clary, one of R. Kelly‘s live-in girlfriends, claim their estranged daughter has made a suicide attempt in the past — and fear she might do it again as part of an alleged “suicide pact” with the R&B singer.

Alice and Angelo Clary sat down with Gayle King for an interview that aired on Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, where they opened up about their ongoing battle to free Azriel from Kelly’s alleged control.

I want to see my daughter leave,” Alice told King, explaining that she had heard rumors about “a suicide pact.’

Azriel had tried to die by suicide in the past, the Clarys said, after a bad breakup before she met Kelly.

“Our daughter had experience with trying to do it,” Angelo said. “See, everybody else can talk it. But it’s nothing like — to see a father coming in the house and seeing your daughter submerged in water. And you have to pick her up and try to get her to the hospital. See, I’ve been through that. So while everybody else may take this lightly… it’s real life for us.”

This isn’t the first time the idea of a “suicide pact” has been brought up in reference to Kelly.

Previously, one of Kelly’s early alleged victims Lizzette Martinez spoke to PEOPLE and claimed Kelly had a suicide pact with the women living “in his house.”

“It was the beginning of the predatory behavior. I met him after he married Aaliyah. I had it bad but what I hear today is that he’s taking this to a whole other level and I’m so worried about the young women in the house,” Martinez said.

“I mean my anxiety is constantly through the roof because I hear the parents, I hear there’s a plan that he’s put it in place that if something goes down they’re all going to take pills and kill… I just can’t.”

On Tuesday, Chicago Police rushed to Kelly‘s Trump Tower condo in fear a pact had been carried out, but it later proved to be a false alarm. When asked to comment, Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg told PEOPLE, “It is offensive that anyone gives this any credibility.”

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R. Kelly
| Credit: Prince Williams/WireImage

Azriel, 21, has been estranged from her parents for nearly three years. The whole time, she’s been living with Kelly, whom she first met at a concert back in 2015 when she was just 17.

During her own interview with King on CBS News last week, Azriel alleged that while she never had sex with Kelly while she was underage, and her parents pushed her to take photos and videos of a sexual nature with him so they could use them as blackmail, should they ever need.

That’s exactly what they’re doing now, according to Azriel. “My dad and my mom started to send threats to both me and him,” she told King. “They said, ‘Oh, I’ll put all your naked pictures all over the world. I’m going to ruin you, I’m going to ruin him if he doesn’t send $20,000 to this bank account by Monday. Oh, I’m gonna put everything out there. And then $10,000 after that.’”

“You guys don’t know the truth,” she said, crying. “You guys are believing some f—ing facade that our parents are saying. This is all f—ing lies for money and if you can’t see that you’re ignorant and stupid.”

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Gayle King with Azriel Clary (left) and Joycelyn Savage, another one of Kelly’s girlfriends.
| Credit: Lazarus Jean-Baptiste/CBS

But the Clarys have denied those claims, and tell a much different story — one they outlined in the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which helped bring national attention to Kelly’s alleged crimes.

They said there, and again to CBS News, that Azriel had snuck off to meet Kelly in a hotel room just days after meeting him. Learning about her whereabouts, the Clarys ran to the hotel and knocked on doors until Azriel eventually surfaced. Kelly later allegedly told them Azriel — who was interested in pursuing a career in music — was there for “an audition” and that he would produce, mentor and launch her career.

The Clarys reluctantly agreed to work with Kelly professionally, though with their supervision, they said. They made trips with their daughter to the studio, where she worked with Kelly. Three months before she turned 18, Kelly requested to bring her on tour.

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R. Kelly
| Credit: Marc Andrew Deley/FilmMagic

Initially, the Clarys said no but Azriel eventually gave them an ultimatum, threatening suicide again.

“I don’t wanna call her bluff on it because I know she just attempted this previously,” Alice said. “I’m thinking in my head, ‘She only got three more months, she’s gonna be 18, so she can do what she want.’ And she really carry out this? And then now I’m living with regret for the rest of my life?”

So the Clarys gave in, on the condition that Azriel would be staying with a female chaperone named Valerie Denise Payton, whom they thought worked for Sony Records (but later learned worked for Kelly). They said they signed a contract Azriel would be in Payton’s care, but never met Payton. Communication with Azriel ended soon thereafter.

Kelly has denied having sex with Clary while she was underage, and has also denied luring his girlfriends into relationships by promising to advance their music careers.

He’s gone on to blame Azriel’s parents for their estrangement. “What kind of father, what kind of mother, would sell their daughter to a man?” he told King in his own headline-making CBS News interview.

Looking back, the Clarys agree it falls on their shoulders. “I take full responsibility as a parent,” Angelo said. “I feel like I failed my daughter because I should have saw different signs. I should have saw the change in my baby girl instead of the love that we instilled in her that she was showing us and putting on this charade.”

“It was not just R. Kelly that was doing this. … It was also our daughter,” Alice said. “Because you have to understand, she was lying and duping us and pulling the wool over our eyes from the beginning.”

Still, Angelo asked King on CBS This Morning: “We can take responsibility, but to the world, how much responsibility has R. Kelly taken?”

Kelly’s alleged behavior came to the media forefront again in July 2017, when BuzzFeed published a bombshell report accusing the star of running a “sex cult” out of his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, and after the release of Surviving R. Kelly in January.

According to those reports, the star allegedly seduced a number of young women with the promise of helping them kickstart a music career, only to “groom” them into being his personal sex objects for whom he allegedly controlled every aspect of their lives.

The R&B singer has repeatedly denied all claims against him, but renewed interest in his cases has lead to more legal trouble. He was arrested and later released from jail on Feb. 25 after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims, the Cook Country Sheriff confirmed to PEOPLE. His attorney Steven Greenberg pleaded not guilty on Kelly’s behalf, reported the Associated Press.

Last week, Kelly was arrested again for failure to pay outstanding child support. Cook County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari confirmed to PEOPLE that Kelly was transferred to the county jail. He was released from jail on March 9 after a payment for the $161,000 in back child support he owed was made anonymously on his behalf.

Kelly is due in court again on Wednesday regarding child support and March 22 on the sexual abuse charges.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.