This Is How Gayle King Kept Her Cool During Her R. Kelly Interview
Kelly cried, screamed, and jumped out of his seat.
Anyone who watched Gayle King's interview with R. Kelly on CBS This Morning probably wants to give the host a slow clap and a long hug. She endured Kelly's shouting, his looming figure, and some very ridiculous statements. Through it all, King stayed cool and never lost her composure. In a new interview with O The Oprah Magazine, she explained exactly how she managed to keep up her steely demeanor.
Kelly is facing up to 70 years in prison for 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse. Following his arrest in Chicago last month, he used the interview as a way to tell his side of the story. But it was clear that King was getting close to Kelly's soft spots, because the singer became extremely emotional. King explained that during the whole interview, she never felt like she was in danger, but powered through the process because she knew she could get what she wanted from him.
"I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me. After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave," she explained. "So what I was really thinking to myself was: I'm not done with this interview, so I'm going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say 'This is over.' So, I didn't interrupt his anger and let him have that."
King went on to explain that his team actually reached out to her for the interview. It's the first time that Kelly's offered up a one-on-one interview since Lifetime aired the damning documentary Surviving R. Kelly. He claims that the only thing that he's guilty of is "having a big heart" and King says that she believes he's sincere, although he has acknowledged that he's made mistakes. Kelly's team only had two stipulations, King said.
"There were only two caveats: I couldn't ask about Aaliyah—which I was fine with, because this interview should be more about the documentary and the recent accusations," she described. "And of course, I couldn't ask about the newest charges, because it's an active court case."
Viewers saw just how physical Kelly got, but King says that she didn't think that he'd actually hit her. Not on purpose, that is. She just did her best to let Kelly say what he had to.
"I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing," she said. "But I knew that I wasn't in any real danger. I just kept thinking 'Okay, Robert, go ahead' and that's what I said."
The second part of King's interview, which features sit-downs with Kelly's "girlfriends," Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Kelly, airs tomorrow.