Of all the allegations disgraced Chicago singer R. Kelly is facing, these latest might be among the worst. One of his ex-girlfriends, Dominique Gardner, spoke with The New Yorker about her disturbing experiences with him over nine years. Gardner previously appeared in two episodes of Surviving R. Kelly, in which she was convinced to leave Kelly's alleged "cult" by her mother. In the newly released interview she refuses to use the word "cult" to describe his series of girlfriends, but she does detail the abuse she faced.
"He tried to break me," she explained. "I couldn’t be broken. He wanted that control over me, and I wouldn’t give him that power. So, he figured, like, If I don’t give her food, she’ll come around. Nope. I’d rather die than come around and give you my soul." Sources close to the situation have said that Kelly enforces "rules" on the women he lives with, but Gardner didn't agree with that description.
Despite this, she said that she and other women around him would have to get permission to eat or go to the bathroom, while he also made sure they all wore baggy clothing to stop other men from looking at them. "I couldn’t even have a drink without his permission," she explained. "I’m a grown-ass woman, and I’ve gotta ask you if I want a drink? Everything you do, you have to ask him. That’s not living, that’s not normal. I’ve got to ask to use the fucking bathroom? Are you serious? I’m about to pee on myself if I can’t get in contact with you. What the fuck is this?"
She continued by stating that whenever she would disobey him, "consequences" would including beatings, slappings, spankings, and being struck with an extension cord. She recalled an incident in which she threw a carrot at Kelly, and he responded by pulling her hair out. "I had, like, patches torn from my hair," she said.
The abuse she faced went on for almost nine years, and she explained why she stuck around despite his reprehensible behavior. "Every time I looked in his eyes, I knew he was sorry," she said. "Like, when he hit us, hit me, he was, like, he apologized. Like, he said, ‘I done did some things, and I apologize for it.’ I’m, like, you did, you did! But enough was enough. Yes, you did say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ O.K. But, then again, you do it again when shit don’t go your way."
Check out her full interview about her experiences with Kelly here.