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R. Kelly’s Net Worth: Is He Really Broke?

Last updated on August 12, 2020 by

R. Kelly’s net worth: $100,000

In his career, R. Kelly has sold over 75 million records and is considered one of the bestselling musicians of all time. If it weren’t for his lawsuits and expensive divorce, he would be worth over $100 million. However, his net worth today is estimated at $100,000 or less.

Born Robert Sylvester Kelly, R. Kelly is known for his work as a singer, songwriter and record producer.

R. Kelly has sold over 75 million records and is considered one of the bestselling musicians of all time. He was once described as the perfect mix of Prince, Irving Berlin and Marvin Gaye – and for years he continued to be popular despite troubles with the law and numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

For the past decade, however, all his legal troubles have been catching up with him and his fame and fortune.

A Successful Career

R. Kelly got his start as a performing subway musician before forming the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men) with three of his friends. Together, they appeared in the TV show Big Break to sing their own song ”Giving All My Love” – and walked away with the $100,000 grand prize. This got the group a contract with MGM to release a single, but they parted ways soon after.

Just a year later, Kelly signed up with Jive Records with a different group, then eventually released a solo album in late 1993. The album would go on to become certified six times platinum and launch his career.

Over the next decade, he recorded duets with some of the biggest stars in the music industry, including Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. In 1997, he won three Grammy awards for his song “I Believe I Can Fly.” He also earned millions in sales, recording contracts and royalties.

Legal and Money Troubles

In July 2019, R. Kelly was arrested on a 13-count indictment for federal racketeering and sex crimes charges. This wasn’t the first time Kelly had been charged with sex abuse. After being released on bail pending trail, he was again arrested in December 2019 for failure to pay $161,663 in back child support.

It was then that information started to come out about Kelly being broke. After being arrested for owing child support, he was unable to come up with the $100,000 bail set by the court.

In April 2020, Kelly’s lawyers presented a petition requesting his release from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago. Their argument was that the high number of COVID-19 cases in the Chicago prison system were worrisome and that Kelly should be released until his trial date. To explain he’s not a flight risk, his lawyers cited his lack of access to money and an almost $1.9 million debt with the IRS (and a lien filed by the IRS against him) as proof that he doesn’t have the means to evade the justice system.

Current Net Worth

So is R. Kelly really broke? The answer isn’t a very clear yes or no. Experts estimate that Kelly would be worth over $100 million today if not for his legal troubles and an expensive 2009 divorce. Over the years, he has also reportedly paid to settle many sexual misconduct lawsuits to the tune of millions of dollars.

In 2019, Kelly’s landlord won a $173,000 judgment against him for back rent, which was deducted from Kelly’s bank account automatically. This resulted in his account being left in the red. Kelly lost his Chicago home to foreclosure in 2013 after three years of not paying his mortgage and had been renting different properties since then.

In January 2019, Lifetime released a docuseries titled “Surviving R. Kelly,” which traced Kelly’s alleged history of sexual and physical misconduct and abuse. As a result, he was dropped by RCA Records. This directly impacted his earnings and affected his net worth.

However, Kelly is still receiving royalties from past albums plus performing rights. In the first quarter of 2020, he received close to $200,000 in royalty proceeds, though much of it has probably gone to pay his managers and towards his IRS debt.

At this point, it’s estimated that Kelly’s net worth is around $100,000.