When R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly was desperate for answers in 2009, after what she said was years of abuse from the rapper, she turned to the internet for help.
Andrea, 44, spoke out Wednesday for the first time about the alleged abuse she endured during her 13-year-long marriage to R. Kelly (née Robert Sylvester Kelly), 51.
Their relationship was tumultuous, with Andrea filing an emergency protective order in 2005 while claiming physical abuse, which she withdrew a week later. She filed for divorce in 2006, but ended up staying with him. Andrea said in an interview on the daytime talk show Sister Circle that her faith not only helped her persevere, but also pushed her to make a change on the day she contemplated suicide.
But, Andrea said, God moved her to her laptop, where she Googled “domestic violence” and found a support site.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m not that girl. I’m not the teeth missing, broken bone girl,’” Andrea said on the show. “But God said, ‘Keep scrolling,’ so I kept scrolling… kept scrolling. And at the end of the domestic violence awareness website, there was a questionnaire.”
The questionnaire included 17 questions to determine if your partner is abusive, and Andrea alleged, “Robert had done 15 to me.”
Domestic abuse questionnaires typically include queries about whether a person feels anxious around their partner, feels coerced into sex, is restricted from talking to other people, feels like they are in danger of harm and more. One example of such a questionnaire can be found here. People who think they may be at risk should also reach out for help using the number below.
Reps for R. Kelly have denied the multiple accusations against the rapper, including those from Andrea, telling PEOPLE in a statement that he “has close friendships with a number of women who are strong, independent, happy, well cared for and free to come and go as they please.”
“We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame,” a rep said. “All of the women targeted by the current media onslaught are legal adults of sound mind and body, with their own free will. Law enforcement officials in Atlanta and Chicago previously have made ‘wellness’ visits to check on the women in question and have found everything to be safe and sound.”
If you or someone you know think they are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now for anonymous, confidential help, available 24/7.