R. Kelly's current child support agreement dictates that he pay his ex wife Andrea $20,000 per month to go towards their three children
According to TMZ and the Chicago Sun-Times, Kelly, 52, made the payment during a court hearing at Daley Center in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday. The singer’s current child support agreement dictates that he pay Andrea — his wife of 13 years, with whom he shares 21-year-old daughter Joann (who goes by Buku Abi) and sons Jay and Robert, Jr. — $20,000 per month. This latest payout covers the months of March, April and May.
During the court appearance, Kelly was reportedly informed that he also owes a further $32,000 in interest on the child support. In addition, Andrea has also requested extra child support to cover Buku Abi’s secondary education expenses.
Kelly’s publicist Darrell Johnson told TMZ that future child support payments for June, July and August have been placed in an escrow account, and that the singer “now looks forward to clearing his name in and being cleared of all charges in the near future.”
This is reportedly the first public child-support hearing since 2013. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Andrea’s lawyer, Alison Motta, told the assembled reporters that they pushed to make the case public in hopes that it would pressure Kelly to pay up.
“All I can say is this is a victory for my children,” Drea Kelly told reporters after Wednesday’s court hearing. “I will fight for my children till the end.”
However, Kelly’s lawyer, Lisa Damico, publicly rejected criticisms of her client’s parenting. “He is not a deadbeat dad,” Damico said, according to the Sun-Times. “All he wants to do is to do right by his kids.”
Neither Motta nor Damico returned PEOPLE’s requests for additional comment.
This is not the first time that Kelly has fallen behind in his payments. On March 6, the embattled R&B artist was arrested on suspicion of failure to pay $161,663 in back child support at a court hearing. He was released from custody three days later on March 9, after the payment was made anonymously on his behalf. In a copy of Kelly’s bond slip given to PEOPLE at the time, the provider information is left blank.
“I don’t think he ever should have gone into custody for it,” Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg told PEOPLE at the time. “He’s not some deadbeat dad. He fell a little bit behind. That occurred in a matter of months.”
At a follow-up hearing in the aftermath of his release, Kelly asked the judge to lower the monthly child support rate, claiming that he could not afford it. At present, the rate remains the same.
Kelly, who has repeatedly denied all claims against him, briefly addressed reporters outside of the jail in March, saying, “I promise you, we’re going to straighten all this stuff out,” according to CNN.
In January, ahead of the premiere of the bombshell docuseries Surviving R. Kelly — which alleged that Kelly had sexually abused women and young girls — Andrea told PEOPLE that the singer no longer had any contact with their three children — and had stopped supporting them financially.
“Whether the allegations are true or not, at the end of the day, you’re still somebody’s father and you still have three people that you need to answer to, whether you like or not, because they’re directly affected by your actions,” Andrea said, claiming that the singer stopped paying child support after she came forward with her allegations of abuse in June 2018.
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“He stopped paying child support when I came forward with my story, so he’s still economically abusing me. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, okay, you want to tell your story? Fine. I’m cutting off child support,'” she said.
Andrea went on to share that what her ex didn’t seem to understand was “when I suffer, your children suffer.”
“All men need to understand that. Abusing a woman financially, at the end of the day — there’s no landlord that’s gonna say, ‘Well, you know what Ms. Kelly? We’re gonna put you out but the kids can stay. There’s no electric company that says, ‘We’re just gonna turn the electricity off in your room, but we’ll leave the electricity on for the rest of the house,'” she added. “So, by trying to punish me, your children suffer.”
Also on Wednesday, a Cook County Judge Moira Johnson ruled that an unrelated sexual abuse lawsuit against Kelly will proceed. A default judgment against Kelly had initially been entered after he failed to respond to the suit — but now his lawyers claim that he didn’t respond because he’s illiterate and was therefore unable to read the documents when he was served with them.