When Destiny’s Child worked with R. Kelly in the ’90s, Matthew Knowles and his ex-wife, Tina, made sure to keep an eye on the then-teenagers at all times.
Knowles, who acted as his daughter Beyoncé’s manager until 2011, revealed during a new interview with Metro that when Destiny’s Child were working on their debut album, 1999’s The Writing on the Walls, they were set to record a song with Kelly — although Knowles ultimately turned it down.
“I personally rejected the song, because I didn’t think it was a good song,” Knowles told the outlet, adding that the singer’s reputation also played a factor.
“This was around 1998, we had just begun to hear some of those things,” he added.
In 2002, Kelly, now 52, was indicted after a video surfaced allegedly showing a man engaged in sex acts with a woman who some witnesses testified was 14 at the time of the recording.
Both Kelly and the woman denied that the video was of them, and Kelly was never charged with assault. In 2008, Kelly was found not guilty on 21 counts of child pornography.
Knowles went on to detail the lengths he and his ex-wife went to in order to make sure the group — which consisted of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson at the time — stayed safe.
“I was there, and my former wife Tina was there. The thing with R. Kelly was, he liked to record late at night, around midnight. And what was different with his studio was that one room had a recording suite, and next door was a club, with 40 or 50 people dancing,” he explained, adding that the girls were “15, 16” at the time.
“When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes,” he added.
A collaboration between the group and Kelly did go on to appear on the soundtrack for the 1999 Eddie Murphy film “Life,” although a source told the outlet that Kelly, who wrote the song, was never physically present with the group in the studio.
The revelation came just days after Lifetime’s docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” finished airing. The six-part series featured wide-ranging interviews with Kelly’s family, former friends and colleagues, but most notably, women who claim that for decades the hit-making singer and producer used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and young girls.
Representatives for Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, responded “no comment” to People’s request for a response to the allegations made in the docuseries.
Amid the public outcry over Kelly, numerous stars have moved to denounce the singer, including Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, John Legend and Lady Gaga.
“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga, 32, who collaborated with Kelly in 2013 on the duet “Do What U Want (With My Body),” said on Wednesday night.
Gaga, who was sexually assaulted at age 19, went on to explain that the controversial song came during a challenging time in her life.
“As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and video at a dark time in my life, my intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life,” she explained of her collaboration with Kelly. “I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault.”
Gaga also vowed to have the track removed from iTunes and all streaming services.