Kelis accuses Nas of domestic violence: 'I had bruises all over my body'

The R&B singer, married to the rapper from 2005 to 2009, describes their relationship as ‘really toxic … at seven months’ pregnant I was terrified’

The R&B singer Kelis has accused her former husband, the rapper Nas, of domestic abuse. The pair met in 2002 and married in 2005. As well as recording music together, they had a child, Knight, who was born three months after they divorced in April 2009.

In a video interview with Hollywood Unlocked, Kelis said “there was a lot of mental and physical abuse” in the relationship, adding: “I had bruises all over my body … it was really toxic … at seven months’ pregnant I was terrified. I was like, I cannot bring a person into this. I can’t control this. I’ve got to get out.”

She characterised the relationship as being “really dark … It wasn’t good, ever, but it progressively got worse. We had really intense highs and really intense lows, it was never normal … We were drinking too much, smoking too much, spending too much … We lived hard and because of that, when that comes down, it goes really low.

“We would fight. I never just sat there … Did he hit me? M-hmm [nods]. Did I hit him back? M-hmm [nods]. He would black out – he would drink way too much … a lot of stuff, he may not remember. We would have, literally, the worst night ever, and we would wake up the next day, and it’s like it never happened.”

Nas, one of the most respected MCs in hip-hop, particularly for his 1994 debut album Illmatic, has not yet responded to the accusations. The Guardian has contacted his representatives for comment, but has had no response yet.

Kelis video interview for Hollywood Unlocked

“I was naive, I was madly in love, and so I took a lot that I shouldn’t have taken,” Kelis added. She also said Nas’s infidelity was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in regard to their marriage; Nas admitted having an affair in a VH1 interview in 2012.

She said that she was shocked by seeing the photos of a bruised and battered Rihanna, following an attack in 2009 from her then partner, the R&B singer Chris Brown. “I remember so clearly the pictures coming out, I had bruises all over my body at that time … but I wasn’t ready to walk. I just wasn’t. So I didn’t say it … I felt like: this is my partner, I chose this, we’re going to make it work.

“Seeing her, the way she looked, and then looking at myself, I was appalled, I was embarrassed … For me it was kinda like: you’re going to just let this go? You’re not going to say anything? … Taking that was not my character.”

Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Kelis has recorded six albums, and has had six Top 5 singles in the UK, including Milkshake, which reached No 3 in the US. She has featured on UK Top 10 hits by Calvin Harris, Busta Rhymes and Enrique Iglesias, and retrained as a chef, bringing out a cookbook, My Life on a Plate, in 2015. She remarried in 2014, and had a second son in 2015.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

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