R. Kelly avoided returning to prison during a Cook County, Ill., hearing on Wednesday (May 8) by paying back $62,000 to his ex-wife, Andrea Lee, in court-mandated child support, according to TMZ. The payment covers the embattled R&B singer's tab for March, April, and May.
Kelly's legal team pleaded with the judge during the hearing to lower the $20,000 monthly payments, claiming the Chicago native could no longer afford to foot that lucrative of a bill. The TMZ report states that Kells will have to fork over an additional $32,000 in outstanding interest, educational fees for his 21-year-old daughter and lawyer costs.
The "Ignition" singer is also being forced to place the balance for his June, July and August payments in an escrow account ahead of schedule. Wednesday's hearing was the first to be held publicly since the Cook County court system sealed all the records in the legal battle between Kelly and Andrea Lee in 2013.
"He is not a deadbeat dad,” Kelly's attorney, Lisa Damico, told the court, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. “All he wants to do is to do right by his kids." In another courtroom at the Daley Center, judge Moira Johnson ruled that a lawsuit against R. Kelly could proceed.
A woman, identified in legal docs as "H.W.," claims that the 52-year-old entertainer sexually abused her when she was just 16 back in 1998. She is also one of the four women involved in the criminal case that has Kelly facing 10 felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse.
Billboard has reached out to R. Kelly's lawyers for comment.