Gayle King on That Gone-Viral R. Kelly Interview: 'I Never Intended to Become a Meme'
After her explosive interview with R. Kelly and her interview with his two live-in girlfriends, Gayle King spoke to "Extra" about the news-making sit-downs.
Just before she appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday night, King told us she was still reeling from what went down when she quizzed R. Kelly on multiple accusations of abuse. "When we sat down with R. Kelly, I never expected that," she said, "never, and you just, he wanted to tell his story, he wanted his voice to be heard — and he certainly did that. I had no idea it would turn into this."
King kept her cool during the interview, even when Kelly became agitated. An image of him standing up and gesturing angrily while professing his innocence — as Gayle sits stoically in her chair — has gone viral. "I never intended to become a meme," King said, telling "Extra" that while he was there to tell his story, "You also had to challenge some of the things he was saying."
"I just think it's a sad story for everyone involved," King said. "I talked to the young women who were his girlfriends, I talked to him, and it's sad, it's very sad to me. I think everybody, everybody involved, needs help."
King's time with the R&B icon went long, but she noted that the full piece is not as combative as the highlights. "The interview was 80 minutes... most of the conversation was coherent. We actually had a very nice conversation... What will resonate with people is how he took a turn and just become emotional, very angry and volatile."
What was King's takeaway from Kelly's responses? "I also think he has some explaining to do. He doesn't seem to acknowledge or believe or have any contrition for it. I don't think you can ignore some of the hard evidence that was presented, and he says that everybody is lying. Is everybody lying? Everybody except for you?"
Last month, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago's Cook County. He pleaded not guilty.
Along with the charges, Kelly faces allegations he runs a sex cult, which he has vehemently denied.
On the same day that Kelly's interview aired, he was arrested for failing to pay child support to ex-wife Andrea Kelly. Cook County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Sophia Ansari told AP that Kelly will remain locked up until he pays over $160,000 in back child support.