Alice and Angelo Clary initially believed the relationship between their daughter and R. Kelly was all about the music. But as more allegations of sexual abuse are leveled against the embattled R&B star, the Clarys said they just wanted to see their daughter safely leave him.
In an interview that aired on Wednesday’s episode of “CBS This Morning,” the parents of Azriel Clary told Gayle King that, days after they met Kelly, they learned that their then-underage daughter had gone to his hotel room without their permission. Clary told them she had gone for an audition.
After the dust settled, they allowed Azriel to travel and meet with Kelly because they believed the singer was helping their daughter’s music career.
“We met different people in [Kelly’s] camp that – especially a lot of females he has working for him – that [said], ‘Oh, she’s in good hands, everything is about her music. Everything is good,’ ” said Alice Clary. “So we entrusted our daughter with them because there’s a bunch of them that said that.”
Azriel, 21, is one of Kelly’s live-in girlfriends who, along with Joycelyn Savage, 23, has denied that they are being held by the R&B singer against their will. She first met Kelly when she was 17.
The parents said they came to develop a professional relationship with Kelly. Then in 2015, three months before Azriel turned 18, they signed a letter consenting for their daughter go on tour with Kelly full time.
They said they believed Azriel would stay with a female chaperone who was supposed to be affiliated with the music label but later learned the woman worked for Kelly, not Sony.
The Clarys, who have not been able to contact Azriel in years, are among the parents who have spoken out to accuse Kelly of manipulating and abusing underage girls. They believe that by publicly trashing their parents, the girls are proving their “loyalty” to Kelly and say their daughter has threatened suicide over leaving.
According to Alice, it was Azriel who persuaded her parents to let the then-teenager fly out to different concerts to join Kelly and observe the behind-the-scenes aspects of the tour. The mother said they let Azriel go by herself because they trusted her.
Angelo Clary told King he took “full responsibility as a parent” for not noticing what was happening.
“I feel like I failed my daughter because I should have saw different signs,” said Angelo Clary. “I should have [seen] the change in my baby girl. Instead of the love that we instilled in her, that she was showing us and putting on a charade.”
The father added: “We can take responsibility. But to the world, how much responsibility did R. Kelly take?”
Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents the Clarys, also spoke with King and said that “in retrospect, many of these parents were too trusting.”
The indictment arrived after the six-part documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” invited a new wave of public scrutiny of sexual misconduct allegations that have followed the R&B star for decades.
Kelly’s current girlfriends also met with King for an interview televised last week to defend Kelly. They insist there is nothing inappropriate about their relationship and have accused their parents of lying for money.
Alice and Angelo Clary have previously denied ever trying to blackmail Kelly.
King said Wednesday that a reunion between the girls and their estranged parents was supposed to happen sometime this week.