They met when she was just 12 years old.
Within a few years, she became one of the biggest RnB singers of the late 90s.
In the public eye, it seemed singer R Kelly (54) was nothing more than a mentor who boosted Aaliyah’s career.
Behind closed doors, however, his interest in the young star was, allegedly, much more sinister.
Three years later, they were illegally married.
On Tuesday, the disgraced singer appeared in a courtroom in New York City. His sex abuse trial is set to begin in a few days.
He was jailed in Brooklyn in June.
Among other charges laid in different cities, R Kelly is accused of having bribed a state official in Illinois in connection with a marriage certificate listing Aaliyah’s age as 18.
R Kelly and Aaliyah were married when she was just 15 years old and he was 27 years old.
According to New York Daily News, during recent court proceedings, one of the singer’s lawyers was asked under questioning from Judge Ann Donnelly if R Kelly had sexual relations with Aaliyah while she was underage.
“Are you going to deny that there was sexual contact with Jane Doe 1?” the judge asked, using Aaliyah’s pseudonym in the case. “They were married.”
From his seat at the defence table next to Kelly, Farinella let out a deep sigh and responded, “No.”
When later probed about this from the state prosecutor, the lawyer seemed to backtrack and deny that Aaliyah was underage at the time.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in August 2001.
During the same court proceedings; prosecutors and R Kelly’s defence team sparred over additional uncharged crimes that federal prosecutors seek to raise at trial. Among them are allegations that Kelly had sex with underage boys whom he then forced to engage in sex with minor girls, reported New York Daily News.
According to Complex, prosecutors have said “one witness will testify that he believed R Kelly impregnated Jane Doe 1”.
A report by the New York Times revealed that the Jane Doe in question is Aaliyah.
R Kelly’s trial will begin on 18 August 2021.