R. KELLY TIMELINE: Life, lurid rumors, lawsuits, criminal charges

R. Kelly has long faced allegations of lurid sexual behavior and abuse, some of which have been made public through documentaries or court documents.

The R&B singer is once again heading to court, this time for a federal trial in Downtown Brooklyn, New York, stemming from years of sexual abuse allegations. He denies the allegations against him.

Here is a timeline of Kelly's life, from his early days in Chicago through his rise and fall as an R&B artist:

Jan. 8, 1967

Robert Sylvester Kelly is born in Chicago to Joann Kelly, a school teacher. R. Kelly is the third of four children and lives with his family in Chicago's housing projects. Little is known about his father.


At age 8, Kelly begins singing in church. 


At age 12, Kelly said, he "experienced a lot of things at a very young age that I don't know if I was supposed to," including witnessing older youth rape one of his girlfriends.


At age 16, his mother moves the family from the projects and enrolls her son at the prestigious Kenwood Academy, a Chicago public school. 


R. Kelly faces numerous accusations and charges in several states. (Photos from Getty Images/Redferns/Chicago)


At age 17, his music teacher places him in a local talent show to perform a version of "Ribbon in the Sky," a Stevie Wonder song. "That night it was like Spider-Man being bit. I discovered the power you get from being onstage," he told Newsweek in 1995. In the years that follow, he performs in Chicago's subway stations full time with his Casio keyboard, often pretending he was blind to avoid arrest.


R. Kelly's R&B group MGM wins the $100,000 grand prize on the syndicated television talent show, "Big Break," hosted by Natalie Cole. Because of money disagreements, that is the last time the group performed. Music executive Wayne Williams of Jive Records discovers Kelly singing at a barbecue that summer.

January 1992

R. Kelly & Public Announcement debuts "Born Into The '90s." Released a year later, the album goes platinum.

November 1993

His album "12 Play" is released and eventually sells more than 5 million copies. Hit singles include "Sex Me" and "Bump N' Grind," which became the longest-running No. 1 R&B song in more than 30 years.

Aug. 31, 1994

At age 27, R. Kelly marries 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. Haughton. The couple weds in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah's age.

September 1994

Aaliyah's debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number," which Kelly produced, is certified platinum. (Aaliyah died in a plane crash seven years later, at age 22.)

RELATED: Remembering Aaliyah on the 20th anniversary of her death

November 1996

R. Kelly releases his third album, "R. Kelly." A month later, he incorporates Rockland Records. His song "I Believe I Can Fly," from the "Space Jam" soundtrack, peaks at No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. The same year, he marries 22-year-old Andrea Lee, a dancer from his touring troupe. The couple goes on to have three children: Joanne, Jaya and Robert Jr.

Feb. 18, 1997

Tiffany Hawkins files a complaint against Kelly alleging intentional sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor.

January 1998

Hawkins' lawsuit is reportedly settled for $250,000.

February 1998

Kelly wins three Grammys for "I Believe I Can Fly."

November 1998

His album "R." hit stores. It has since sold 6 million copies.

November 2000

His album "TP-2.com" debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.

August 2001

Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in "a position of authority" over her. The case was reportedly settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Feb. 8, 2002

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it received a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The paper reported Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents denies she was having sex with Kelly.

The same day the news breaks, Kelly performs at the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

June 5, 2002

Kelly is indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges stemming from the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.

January 2003

Kelly is arrested at a Florida hotel on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl. Charges are later dropped after the judge ruled police didn't have a warrant to search Kelly's house.

Feb. 18, 2003

Kelly's album "Chocolate Factory" is released, selling 538,000 copies in its first week.

July 2005

Kelly's seventh solo album, "TP.3 Reloaded," hits No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart.

September 2005

Andrea Kelly asks for an order of protection from her husband, accusing the singer of hitting her when she said she wanted a divorce.

February 2006

R. Kelly's brother, Carey Kelly, says his brother offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person on the sex video.

May 29, 2007

Kelly releases his album "Double Up," which peaks at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart.

May 9, 2008

Kelly's child pornography trial begins.

June 13, 2008

Kelly is acquitted on all counts after less than a full day of deliberations.

Jan 8, 2009

Kelly and his former wife, Andrea, confirm they divorced after 11 years of marriage.

July 12, 2011

Crain's Chicago Business reports that a $2.9 million foreclosure is filed by JPMorgan Chase bank against Kelly's suburban Chicago mansion. A spokesman claims the singer is not having financial trouble.

March 21, 2012

Kelly announced he is reviving his video series, "Trapped in the Closet." The project begins as five videos for his dramatic cliffhanger songs in 2007, and eventually grows to several dozen musical chapters dealing with a web of sexual deceit. Kelly teams with IFC to premiere the old and new series, and performs the rap opera at events such as a sing-along at Bonnaroo. There was talk of a Broadway show.

June 15, 2012

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Kelly owes the IRS more than $4.8 million in back taxes.

June 27, 2012

Kelly publishes his autobiography, "Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me," focusing on his creative and family life rather than his legal troubles.

Sept. 29, 2012

Kelly is nominated for two Soul Train Awards, making him the most nominated act ever at the awards show.

March 18, 2013

Kelly's mansion, once valued at more than $5 million, sells for $950,000 in a foreclosure auction.

July 17, 2017

BuzzFeed reports on parents' claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive "cult." One woman says she was with Kelly willingly. Following the BuzzFeed report, activists launched the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.

Feb. 13, 2018

Kelly is evicted from two Atlanta-area homes over more than $31,000 owed in unpaid rent.

April 30, 2018

The Time's Up campaign, devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, joins the #MuteRKelly social media campaign and pushes for further investigation into Kelly's behavior, which had come under closer scrutiny over the previous year as women came forward accusing him of sexual coercion and physical abuse. Kelly's camp responds: "We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture."

May 2018

Spotify cuts R. Kelly's music from its playlists, citing its policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Shortly after, Apple and Pandora also stop promoting his music. Kelly's team pushes back, noting other artists on Spotify had been accused or convicted of crimes.

May 21, 2018

Faith Rodgers, 20, files a lawsuit accusing R. Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly inflicting her with herpes during a yearlong relationship.

Jan. 3, 2019

Lifetime airs the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which revisited old allegations against him and brought new ones into the spotlight. The series followed the BBC's "R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes," released the previous year, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will.

Jan. 9, 2019

Lady Gaga apologizes for her 2013 duet with Kelly, saying she intended to remove the song, "Do What U Want (With My Body)," from streaming services. 

Jan. 14, 2019

Faith Rogers says Kelly had written a letter the previous October to one of her lawyers, threatening to reveal embarrassing details of her sexual history if she didn't drop her May 2018 lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse. 

Jan. 21, 2019

Multiple media outlets report Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, part ways. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion remove their duets with Kelly from streaming services, and French rock band Phoenix apologizes for collaborating with Kelly in 2013. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct.

Feb. 6, 2019

Kelly announces by tweet a new tour outside the U.S., saying he'd be going to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The tweet was later deleted following backlash from Twitter users who urged fans not to buy concert tickets.

Feb. 14, 2019

Attorney Michael Avenatti says he gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and that it is not the same evidence used in Kelly's 2008 trial.

Feb. 22, 2019

Kelly is arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

Feb. 25, 2019

Kelly's attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer's behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts bail and is released from jail in Chicago.

March 6, 2019

CBS airs interview in which Kelly vehemently denied the sexual abuse charges against him. Later, authorities in Cook County take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he couldn't pay $161,000 in back child support he owed his children's mother.

May 30, 2019

Kelly is charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago. They involve one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.

July 11, 2019

Kelly is indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York included charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.

July 16, 2019

A federal judge orders Kelly held in jail without bond after a prosecutor warned he would pose an extreme danger to young girls if set free.

Aug. 2, 2019

Kelly pleads not guilty to federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing women and girls who attended his concerts, as his lawyers continue to label the alleged victims disgruntled "groupies."

Aug. 5, 2019

Kelly is charged in Minnesota with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.

Oct. 2, 2019

Kelly is denied bail in his New York City sex abuse case after a judge agreed with prosecutors that freeing him from jail would create a risk of him fleeing or tampering with witnesses.

Dec. 5, 2019

Kelly is charged by federal prosecutors with paying a bribe in exchange for a "fraudulent identification document" for an unidentified female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah. He later pleads not guilty.

March 5, 2020

Kelly pleads not guilty in Chicago to an updated federal indictment that included child pornography charges and allegations involving a new accuser, while prosecutors say more charges alleging yet another victim were upcoming.

Aug. 12, 2020

Federal prosecutors announce charges against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.

Aug. 14, 2020

Kelly's manager is arrested in California on charges that he threatened a shooting at a Manhattan theater two years ago, forcing an evacuation and the cancellation of the screening of a documentary addressing allegations that the singer had sexually abused women and girls.

July 24, 2021

Federal prosecutors in Kelly's sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an underage boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming trial to hear those claims.

Aug. 18, 2021

Opening statements begin in Kelly's long-anticipated federal trial in New York arising from years of allegations that he sexually abused women and girls while pursuing fame and fortune.