What is R. Kelly’s net worth? How much money does he make?
The R&B star has been found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking and has lost his fortune after owing millions in unpaid taxes to the IRS.
Disgraced singer R. Kelly has had a stark fall from grace in reason years and is currently facing the prospect of a decade in prison after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking.
The 54-year-old’s New York trial concluded in September after years of postponements and other issues, but he still faces charges in Chicago on federal child pornography and obstruction counts.
In April 2020 he told a judge that he owes close to $1.9 million to the IRS alone, and appealed to be released on bail to tend to his financial affairs. Then in August of this year his legal team asked for free transcripts of jury selection hearings on the basis that Kelly was not able to afford them.
His attorney, Calvin Scholar, wrote: "As the defense set forth during the conference, Mr. Kelly is financially unable to obtain the transcripts and the transcripts are necessary for his defense.”
Kelly’s exact net worth is not known but Celebrity Net Worth puts his value at negative $2 million, meaning that he is in substantial debt. The report estimates that he had previously had a net worth in the tens of millions, potentially as high as $100 million, but is now in the red.
How did R. Kelly lose his money?
The R&B star first came to prominence after winning a $100,000 prize on TV talent show ‘Big Break’ and subsequently signing with Jive Records in 1991. His debut solo album, 12 Play, was realised in 1993 with the lead single ‘Bump n’ Grind’ and the record would eventually be certified six times platinum.
He continued to accrue money throughout the 1990s and 2000s, releasing 14 studio albums, five compilation albums and three collaboration albums and winning a host of awards. He has done 12 global tours and numerous lucrative TV appearances.
However his divorce from Andrea Lee in 2009 saw him lose a large proportion of that wealth and his stature in the music industry was fading. Reports claim that he owed $5 million in unpaid taxes by 2012 and the following year he lost his Chicago home having failed to pay the mortgage.
The full extent of his financial troubles were made public in 2018 when he released a 19-minute song addressing the allegations against him and his mounting debt. He claimed to be struggling to pay his rent and that he had, at one point, owed $20 million to the IRS.
Since the allegations, and subsequent convictions, emerged Spotify and other streaming services stopped including his music in their public playlists, reducing his earnings. More significantly, his fall from grace has made the prospect of lucrative tours impossible and he became unable to pay off his mounting debts.