R. Kelly says she’s his girlfriend, but Joycelyn Savage’s parents allege she is a brainwashed victim being held against her will. So, who is the 23-year-old who is denying that she is part of a sex cult?
On March 6 CBS This Morning teased an interview with Joycelyn Savage, 23, and Azriel Clary, 21, who say they are R. Kelly’s girlfriends who are willingly living with the 52-year-old singer. In the clip shared on the show’s Twitter account, Azriel cries as Joycelyn rubs her back. She says, “I’m crying because you guys don’t know the truth. You guys believe in some…façade that our parents are saying. This is all…lies for money. If you can’t see that you’re ignorant and you’re stupid.”
But, while she remained silent in that brief clip, Joycelyn has been very vocal in defense of her controversial relationship with the R&B singer. In a video shared by publicist Dontaye Carter on Twitter shortly after R. Kelly spoke to CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, she told her worried family, “I have told you guys a million, million times, that I’m OK where I am and I’m happy, so I just really want to let you know that.” But, who is Joycelyn Savage and how and when did she meet R. Kelly? Here are five facts about the singer’s girlfriend:
1. Joycelyn met R. Kelly when she was a 19-year-old aspiring singer. Her parents Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage recounted how that relationship began telling Megyn Kelly on Today in May 2018, “Originally one of my clients came into my boutique J. Savage collections in Atlanta, Georgia and she had a contact that she was very close to [R. Kelly’s road manager Kevin Giles]… that she wanted to introduce us to after hearing about my girl.” Joycelyn went to an R. Kelly concert in 2015 and later he flew her to Palm Springs, California to discuss her possible music career. “When we got to go backstage with R. Kelly, we stayed there over two hours,” Jonjelyn told BuzzFeed in 2017. “One-on-one with just me and my daughter and him. We went back to talk about the music. He listened to her CD. He was going to help her with her CD, and I was really impressed with him at first, because I have always been an R. Kelly fan.” During their Today appearance, the parents told Megyn that, unbeknownst to them, R. Kelly and their daughter were allegedly in contact and she later dropped out of college.
2. She last saw her parents in person on Dec. 1, 2016 during an intervention when they tried to get her to return to college. “It was as if she was brainwashed. [She] looked like a prisoner – it was horrible,” Joycelyn’s mom told BuzzFeed. “I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [he] is the one who cares for her.”
3. Jocelyn has previously denied that she is being kept against her will. Despite her parents’ allegations that R. Kelly has brainwashed her, the aspiring singer told TMZ in July 2017, “I’m 21… I am in a happy place in my life and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that.” She added, “I’m happy where I’m at and everything is OK with me.”
— Dontaye Carter (@DontayeCarter) March 6, 2019
4. Joycelyn’s parents allege that R. Kelly has infected her with STDs. Her dad Timothy told Sister Circle in June 2018, “My daughter is suffering from herpes right now and she was given that disease from [sic] R. Kelly, because I took her to the doctor and found out she had chlamydia.” He added that Joycelyn’s college roommate, a nursing student, was treating Joycelyn for herpes. HollywoodLife has reached out to R. Kelly’s team about these allegations but we have yet to receive a response from either him or Joycelyn.
5. Despite claims that she is being held captive by R. Kelly, Joycelyn has been spotted out and about, shopping and partying with him. In April 2018 she was filmed shopping with the singer at a mall in Chicago in footage that was later shared by TMZ. In October 2017 The Shade Room posted a photo on Instagram of R. Kelly with Joycelyn at the birthday party that Snoop Dogg threw for his wife Shante Broadus.
Kelly has repeatedly denied allegations that he has held – and is holding – women against their will, telling Gayle King on CBS This Morning on March 6, “I don’t need to. Why would I? How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I’ve been through in my way, way past, to hold somebody, let alone 4, 5, 6, 50, you said – how stupid would I be to do that?”