R. Kelly is public enemy number 1 for several people, and rightfully so. The R&B legend has been accused of some incredibly bad things and has been facing charges over the last couple of years to bring him to justice. Of all the things he has been accused of, one particular charge is unique, even for Kelly. The Chicago singer is being accused of “Alienation of Affection.” The controversial charge is making headlines, with many questioning what it means and if it is even legitimate.
The news broke yesterday that R. Kelly would have to sit for a videotaped disposition from his cell. He will be questioned on his affair with a North Carolina woman that reportedly broke up her marriage with a local sheriff named Kenny Bryant. Bryant has reportedly been trying to get his case heard for over three years and has finally succeeded due to the embroiled singer being behind bars. Bryant is even being granted a visit to see the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer while imprisoned.
What is “Alienation of Affection” anyway? It is a really old and controversial charge stemming from the days when women were not even considered active members of society. “Under the tenets of ancient English common law, when wives were legally considered the property of their husbands, a jilted husband could sue any man who deliberately broke up his marriage and stole away his wife.”
Times have certainly changed, and many states have done away with this law except for six of them: Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah. According to official definitions the defendant in an alienation of affections suit is usually the cheating spouse’s lover. In some cases family members, counselors, and therapists or friends who have suggested the spouse seek divorce have also been sued for “alienation of affections.”
To sue for alienation of affection you do not need to provide proof of extramarital sex. It can literally be anyone who causes a spouse to consider divorce or leaving their marriage. So to successfully sue, the marriage must entail love between the spouses in some degree where the spousal love was alienated. It elaborates that “the defendant’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection.” You simply have to prove the existence of a third party causing issues in your marriage. The only type of arrangement that can not be argued is if the couple decided on an “open marriage.”
The woman in question, Asia Childress, is being accused of carrying out a year-long affair with R. Kelly while still married to Bryant. The affair started well before the pair web in 2012. Bryant says that he was aware of their relationship but that Childress told him they had ended their affair. Kelly and Childress rekindled their love during her marriage with Bryant. Childress and Bryant met and married in Mississippi, but she convinced him to move to Georgia for “her career.” In reality, she was looking to be closer to Kelly. According to Bryant, he did everything he could to hold his marriage together, but he was no match for the Pied piper.
Out of the six states that still recognize ‘alienation of affection,’ North Carolina houses one of the most famous cases. Back in 2019, in one of the largest cases, a North Carolina man was awarded $750M after suing his wife’s lover. For the last few years, R. Kelly has been facing many legal battles which leaves his current net worth into question. With that being said, we’re uncertain if this case will come anywhere near that number or even exceed it.