R. Kelly reportedly got engaged to one of his alleged victims before his sentencing

A frowning man in an orange prison jumpsuit.
R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago in 2019.
(Antonio Perez / Associated Press)
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R. Kelly was convicted of multiple sex-trafficking crimes in September and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison last month. But before he was sentenced, one of his alleged victims claimed the two are actually engaged, and that he’s anything but an abuser.

Joycelyn Savage was one of the R&B artist’s girlfriends who have stuck by him throughout his legal proceedings. In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly on June 13, Savage pleaded for leniency toward Kelly, while also revealing the two were set to be married.

“My name is Joycelyn Savage, and I’m Robert Kelly’s fiancé[e],” she wrote to Judge Ann Donnelly in court documents viewed by The Times. “I’m writing this letter in support of Robert in advance of his sentencing, so I can explain to the court that I’m not the victim that the government has portrayed me to be.”


Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday following his 2021 conviction on racketeering and sex-trafficking charges.

June 29, 2022

Savage didn’t say when the two had gotten engaged and didn’t share any other details.

“My relationship with Robert is amazing,” Savage wrote. “He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We have a very special connection and are deeply in love. I still support Robert to this day because I love him and will always be here to support him. Robert is not the monster that the government has described him to be. The Robert I know is very sweet, gentle, and kind. At the end of the day, he has always made sure that I’m taken care of, and any other women he was with as well.

“Robert and I are deeply in love and it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I’m a victim,” she continued. “I’m a grown woman, and can speak for myself which is why I wanted to provide this letter to the court.”

‘I have been enduring this for almost two decades,’ one R. Kelly survivor told The Times. ‘I am very happy with the sentence.’

June 29, 2022

Savage previously has stood up for Kelly, including in a high-profile CBS interview with Gayle King in 2019 alongside Azriel Clary, another of Kelly’s live-in girlfriends at the time. Both young women defended their relationship with the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer and disputed their families’ allegations that they were being held against their will.

About two weeks after Savage submitted her letter to the judge, Kelly, 55, was sentenced to three decades in prison. Donnelly didn’t seemed to be swayed by Savage’s words, going beyond the prosecution’s request that Kelly spend “in excess of 25 years” behind bars.

“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control,” the judge told the disgraced singer at his sentencing, while also ordering him to pay a $100,000 fine.

Prosecutors say R. Kelly is no longer on suicide watch following the jailed R&B singer’s sentencing in a federal sex abuse case.

July 5, 2022

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, again came face to face with his accusers during the sentencing hearing in Brooklyn as several of the women recounted the pain he inflicted on them, telling him that they are “no longer the preyed-on individuals we once were,” the Associated Press reported.


“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel. Do you remember that?” one woman asked the fallen R&B star in Brooklyn court as he awaited sentencing.

Times staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.