R Kelly is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer who once had a net worth of approximately $100 million. Tragically, he is also a sex offender convicted of multiple sex offenses and racketeering. Once adored by fans all over the world, R Kelly has fallen hard from fame and fortune and ruined many lives in the process. 

In this guide, we will take a closer look at R Kelly's net worth, music career, and how he lost it all. 

R Kelly’s Net Worth-$2 million
Age: 56
Date of Birth:January 8, 1967
Birthplace:Chicago, IL
Height:6 ft (1.854 m)
Source of Wealth:Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, and Actor 
Best-Known For: His R&B music career and being a convicted sex offender

What is R. Kelly's net worth?

Although R Kelly’s net worth was once $100 million, he lost his fortune, and the convicted sex offender’s current net worth is -$2 million.

Who is R. Kelly?

Before being convicted as a sex offender, R. Kelly was an incredibly popular and successful American R&B singer in the 1990s. He also got into songwriting and record production. Born Robert Sylvester Kelly on January 8, 1967, on the South Side of Chicago, he eventually dropped out of high school and became a subway musician, busking for money.

Kelly’s big break came in 1989 when he won the $100,000 grand prize as part of the singing group MGM on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by singer Natalie Cole. Thanks to his performance on Big Break, Kelly gained national recognition, and Jive Records signed him in 1991. He fired the other MGM members and released his debut album, Born into the 90s, with the R&B group Public Announcement in 1992. 

Going Solo

After a tour with Public Announcement for the album, R. Kelly went solo. He released his first solo album, 12 Play, in November 1993, giving Kelly his first number-one hit: "Bump and Grind." The song spent a record-breaking 12 weeks in the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart. By 1994, 12 Play had other hit songs and became certified gold, eventually going six times platinum. 

R. Kelly went on to have a highly successful career with many highlights, from playing at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics to collaborations with top artists like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Mary J. Blige.

However, Kelly’s shameful behavior and criminal history caught up with him, and he was arrested in January 2003 for 12 counts of possession of child pornography. And that was just the beginning of a series of arrests and legal problems related to him being convicted as a sex offender. In June 2022, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for federal racketeering and sex trafficking and remains incarcerated today.

What are the sources of R. Kelly's wealth?

Prior to his legal troubles, R. Kelly had built an incredible net worth of approximately $100 million, which he lost after paying millions to settle the lawsuit filed against him by dozens of women and paying out other fines and fees related to his legal woes. Let’s dig into the sources that contributed to R. Kelly’s one-time wealth. 

1. Music career

During his R&B recording career, R. Kelly sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him the most commercially successful male R&B artist of the 1990s. He had a total of 18 studio albums, with his final release, 12 Nights of Christmas, happening in 2016. 

In the middle of his career peak in the 1990s, Kelly was lauded as the king of R&B. His first solo album, 12 Play (1993), sold 7.2 million copies and made over $8 million. In 1996, he released the superhit “I Believe I Can Fly,” which was featured in the film Space Jam. His most commercially successful album, R. (1998), sold over 12.4 million copies, earning Kelly $14 million. 

As a result of his career, Kelly won numerous awards, including:

  • 3 Grammy Awards
  • 12 Billboard Music Awards
  • 19 BMI Awards
  • 1 BET Award

2. Endorsements

Although R. Kelly no longer has any endorsement deals, in his prime, he was linked with several brands, including Beats Studios and Alexander Wang, a fashion accessories brand. He was also the face of the 2002 Sounds & Rhythm of Sport Global ad campaign by Reebok.

3. Property

As of 2023, R. Kelly has no real estate properties or earnings in his name. However, before his legal troubles, he owned several posh residences, including:

  • 8,400 square foot mansion in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood that he sold for $2.25 million in 2002
  • 4-acre lakefront property in the Chicago suburb, Olympia Fields, where he built a 14,000 square foot mansion he called "The Chocolate Factory"; although appraised at $5.2 million in 2009, the property went into foreclosure, and the bank offloaded the property for $587,500.  

4. Concerts, Tours, and Merchandising

Between 1993 and 2016, R. Kelly went on 14 tours–all with merchandise available for fans to purchase. Although the dollar amount he made for merchandise sales is unknown, it definitely contributed to his net worth before he lost it all. 

5. Record royalties

R. Kelly’s extensive back catalog is reportedly still bringing in considerable income. Even after being incarcerated, he makes approximately $133,333 in monthly royalty earnings that go into a bank account. Still, it's not enough to get R. Kelly out of debt. 

Sony has withheld paying Kelly royalties from his master recordings while the company deals with the judgments related to the civil legal proceedings against him. The record label is holding as much as $3.5 to $4.5 million worth of royalties.  

6. Modeling Contract

Fashion designer Alexander Wang chose R. Kelly to be the star of his Spring/Summer 2017 digital campaign. 


How much is R Kelly's net worth?

R. Kelly’s current net worth is -$2 million.

What is R Kelly's singing career like?

Today, R. Kelly's singing career is nonexistent. He has been dropped from his record label, RCA Records. While he is no longer represented by a label and streaming services like Spotify removed his albums from their playlists, he still earns royalties from his catalog.

What are the allegations against R Kelly?

R. Kelly has a long list of criminal allegations, including:

  • Aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims–three who were between ages 13 and 16
  • Racketeering
  • Child pornography
  • Sex trafficking and prostitution
  • Trapping women in a sex cult

Several victims provided detailed accounts of their abuse allegations against R. Kelly in the Netflix documentary Surviving R. Kelly (2019). 

In 2019, a man discovered a videotape that he believed showed R. Kelly sexually abusing girls. 

On February 23, 2023, former R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 20 years in a Chicago federal court, marking his second sentencing in less than a year. Kelly, who is 56 years old, was found guilty in September on three counts of producing child pornography and three counts of enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Kelly's sentence includes serving 19 years concurrently and one year consecutively to his prior 30-year sentence for a federal racketeering conviction in New York, making his total sentence 31 years. The prosecution had requested a 25-year sentence to be served after his prior sentence, while Kelly's defense claimed that he is already serving a "de facto life sentence," as he could potentially be almost 90 years old upon release.

For nearly three decades, Kelly has faced accusations of sexually abusing underage girls. While Chicago prosecutors recently dropped similar charges against him, he still faces solicitation charges in Minnesota.

What are R Kelly's most popular songs?

Kelly has a long list of hit songs. Some of his most famous songs include:

  • “It Seems Like You’re Ready” (1993)
  • “Your Body’s Callin’” (1993)
  • “Bump n’ Grind” (1993)
  • “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996)
  • “Ignition” (2002)

What awards has R Kelly won?

In total, R. Kelly has won 110 awards from 274 nominations. Some of his award highlights include:

  • Grammy Awards for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “I Believe I Can Fly” (1998)
  • American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist (2000 and 2005)
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET) Award for Best Male R&B Artist (2003)
  • 12 Billboard Music Awards

What are the consequences of the allegations against R Kelly?

On September 27, 2021, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison. A federal jury in Brooklyn convicted him of all nine counts of superseding indictment charging him with racketeering, sexual exploitation of children, forced labor, and human trafficking. 

What financial hardships has R Kelly faced?

As a result of his criminal history, R. Kelly lost his $100 million fortune and currently has a net worth of -$2 million. Over the years, Kelly has lost a lot of money, paying significant sums to settle claims of sexual abuse out of court as far back as 1998. He lost a portion of his earnings when he paid his ex-wife Andrea $1 million following their divorce as well as $20,000 per month in child support. 

By 2012, Kelly owed $5 million in unpaid taxes and lost his home in 2013 because he hadn’t paid the mortgage. He has also been sued and jailed for unpaid child support. During his recent sentencing, Kelly was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine on top of his 30-year conviction. 

What is the most recent news about R Kelly?

In January 2023, Illinois prosecutors dropped pending criminal charges against R. Kelly because he has already been convicted of federal charges that will keep him in prison for decades. 

Has R Kelly been convicted of any crimes?

In 2021, a federal jury convicted Kelly of all nine counts of superseding indictment charging him with racketeering, sexual exploitation of children, forced labor, and human trafficking. He is serving a 30-year sentence at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center


Unlike many tales of fame and fortune, R. Kelly’s does not have a happy ending. The story of how he built his net worth while harming others is shocking and chilling to the core. This is a man who clearly deserves his net worth of -$2 million. 

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