Gayle King made history today with her powerful interview with R. Kelly on CBS This Morning. Before clips began appearing online on Wednesday, photos from the emotional conversation, which addressed mounting accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct against Kelly, showed King calm, composed, and determined as the singer quite literally flew off the handle — and out of his seat. The video only corroborates the praise being given to King for being direct and fearless in the face of intimidation, and she spoke to O, The Oprah Magazine about what was going through her mind when Kelly got heated.
“Stop it. You all quit playing! Quit playing!" Kelly says during the viral moment. "I didn't do this stuff! This is not me! I'm fighting for my fucking life! Y'all killing me with this shit! I gave you 30 years of my fucking career!"
“Stop it. You all quit playing! Quit playing! I didn't do this stuff! This is not me! I'm fighting for my f***ing life! Y'all killing me with this sh*t!" @RKelly told @GayleKing, standing up. "I gave you 30 years of my f***ing career!"https://t.co/u4AENVJQsc pic.twitter.com/jLF7l8etYh— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 6, 2019
However, in conversation with Oprah, King says she was never scared, not even when Kelly got physical in her face.
"I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me," she revealed. "After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave."
King took pains to remain calm and collected because she did not want to do anything that would jeopardize the interview.
"If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say 'This is over,'" she continued. "So I didn't interrupt his anger and let him have that."
Plus, she never thought she was in any actual, purposeful danger.
"I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing," she admitted. "But I knew that I wasn't in any real danger. I just kept thinking 'Okay, Robert, go ahead' and that's what I said."
What we saw today was only half the interview — the two spoke for a total of 80 minutes. Still ahead, King interviews Kelly's current girlfriends, Joycelyn and Azriel, and talks to the singer about his money issues.
Part two of King's interview with Kelly will air on CBS This Morning on March 7.