Kelis has come forward about the alleged domestic abuse she endured while married to rapper Nas. It's the first she's spoken about it since the couple divorced in 2009. In a wide-ranging video interview, Kelis spoke with Hollywood Unlocked's Jason Lee about her marriage, the abuse, and how Rihanna ultimately inspired her to file divorce proceedings.
"We weren’t dating, we were married. Like, this was my person," she said. The couple was married in 2005 and share a nine-year-old son, Knight. Kelis said their relative youth ("I was 22 when I met him," she says), combined with excessive drinking and spending, led to pronounced dips in the safety of their relationship. The highs were high, the lows were very low.
In this environment, the two constantly fought, she explains. When Lee pressed Kelis about those lows, she said that "It was really dark. A lot of drinking. A lot of mental and physical abuse."
"He hit you?" asked Lee.
"We'd fight," replied Kelis. She explained that if Nas hit her, she would hit him back. "I never just sat there," she said. "But we would definitely fight."
It wasn't until she saw press photos of Rihanna after she endured a horrific beating from then-boyfriend Chris Brown that Kelis decided to leave her marriage. "When the Rihanna and Chris Brown pictures came out I thought about coming out because I also had bruises all over my body," she said. Her pain mirrored Rihanna's pain, and that inspired her to realize that she too was being abused. Kelis was pregnant with their son at the time, and said that she "felt like I wasn’t going to bring a child into this."
Kelis also revealed why she waited so long to come forward: pressure from the public. "Every generation has their couple...when people saw us, it became unreal." But she chose to discuss the abuse because "people need to see that this is real life."
You can watch the video with the full interview below.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
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