JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi sheriff’s deputy is suing singer R. Kelly, alleging that Kelly had a years-long affair with his wife that broke up his marriage.
Deputy Kenneth Bryant, who married Asia Childress in Mississippi in 2012, filed suit last week in a county Circuit Court in Jackson, the state capital. He’s seeking unspecified damages. Bryant’s lawsuit includes images of texts he says Childress and Kelly exchanged.
Representatives of the R&B crooner, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. Kelly hasn’t yet responded to the suit.
Anna Powers, a lawyer for Bryant, said Kelly was served with the suit Saturday when he performed in Jackson. Powers said Bryant knew Childress had previously had a relationship with Kelly before he married her.
“That was water under the bridge, over and done,” Powers said. “Our client loved his wife, wanted to work out his relationship.”
But, the lawsuit says, Childress reconnected with Kelly after attending one of his concerts in October 2012, leading to multiple liaisons over more than four years.
At one point in their marriage, according to Bryant, Childress persuaded him to move to the Atlanta area, claiming it would improve her career. Bryant said he sacrificed a good job, but that his wife really wanted to be closer to Kelly to pursue the affair. Kelly, 50, once lived in Atlanta part time.
“Each time R. Kelly would have a concert in a nearby state, Childress would disappear to unite with her lover,” the lawsuit states. “Time after time, R. Kelly cuckolded Bryant, with blatant disregard for Bryant’s and Childress’ vows.”
Powers said Childress has asked for a divorce, but none has been filed. Childress is a licensed public schoolteacher in Mississippi, but it’s unclear where she now lives and she could not be reached for comment.
Mississippi is one of only a handful of states that allow spouses to sue others for breaking up their marriages in what are called alienation-of-affection lawsuits. The others are Hawaii, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
“R. Kelly’s wanton and reckless interference with plaintiff’s marriage relationship, his blatant disregard for family values and his uncondoned and unrelenting adulterous relationship with plaintiff’s wife was accompanied by R. Kelly’s enticement of Childress to ignore her marriage,” the suit states.
Kelly is currently touring to promote his album “The Buffet,” his 16th solo or collaborative release since 1992. His hits include “I Believe I Can Fly,” ”Bump N’ Grind” and “Ignition.” Kelly’s shows and lyrics often focus on sex and infidelity — such as his Trapped in the Closet series, dealing with a web of sexual deceit.
The Grammy winner has in the past denied allegations he had sexual relationships with underage girls, although he has settled a number of lawsuits. In 2008, a Chicago jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges after he was accused of having sex with an underage girl and videotaping it.