R. Kelly’s ex-wife talks about backlash from appearing on docu-series, ‘Surviving R. Kelly’

Andrea Lee Kelly says that she wanted to 'empower' women with her story

Singer's former wife, Andrea Lee told 'Extra' that she had an epiphany on the day she left R. Kelly and their 13-year marriage.

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Andrea Lee said she had an epiphany the day she left R. Kelly and their 13-year marriage.

“The day I escaped from him, it was a realization that these gates on our property were not to keep people out… but to keep me in,” Lee told Extra’s Jenn Lahmers in an interview to raise awareness of domestic violence.

READ MORE: R. Kelly refuses to share jail cell: ‘I have too much going on’

Drea, as she’s known, alleges that Kelly physically, sexually and emotionally abused her. She first discussed the abuse in the docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which aired early this year. She now says that she received loads of criticism from people questioning why it took her so long to come forward.

“It was really hard… the victim shaming, the victim-blaming, the backlash I was not prepared for,” Drea told Extra. “I thought, ‘Here I am coming forward, this is about women… women’s empowerment, we’re in this together, and I just want to give validity to these women’s stories and hopefully, if they don’t believe them, at least they’ll (believe) the ex-wife. It was the complete opposite.”

READ MORE: April trial date set in R. Kelly’s federal case in Chicago

Drea and Kelly divorced in 2009. She said many people believe she is lying to try and claim Kelly’s money, but she said that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“There’s no price tag on any woman’s soul… You can’t put a price on a life… At the end of the day, women are fighting for their lives… That’s why I often say you may love R. Kelly, but you might not like Robert,” she told Extra.

Kelly, who is currently in a Chicago jail, was recently indicted on 13 new federal sex abuse charges, which include conspiracy to receive child pornography, receiving child pornography, producing child pornography, enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Kelly is also facing an indictment in New York on charges of racketeering for allegedly operating a criminal enterprise, and recruiting women and girls to engage in criminal sexual activity.

READ MORE: Prosecutors in R. Kelly case use marriage to Aaliyah to prove singer needs to remain behind bars

In a statement, Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said the charges are duplicative of earlier charges for which he was acquitted. “The conduct alleged appears to be largely the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”

Greenberg added that Kelly looks forward to “the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue to make wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.”

Drea has repeatedly gone after Kelly for outstanding child support. A judge recently ordered back child support payments to be deducted from Kelly’s music royalties.

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