Real Housewives of Atlanta star and newly minted author, Porsha Williams, has shared candid details with PEOPLE about her experience with disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly.
“I realized it was my opportunity to help anyone who’s been hurt by him,” she shared with the publication for this week’s issue. “There had been so many other instances where I had been abused by men that my mentality [at that time] was of an abused person and that it was okay for me to be treated like that.”
The two met via a friend of Kelly’s in 2007, before she was involved with the popular reality show, and then aged 25 and considering a career in music. She was flown to Chicago to meet Kelly under the auspices of potentially working with him. Williams says she expected to be driven to a recording studio when she arrived but was taken to Kelly’s home instead.
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In her book, The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew Into My Power and Purpose, which hits bookshelves on Nov. 30, she says that she encountered several young women who also were staying at his home. She writes that she decided not to see him again after she woke up one day and heard a woman being beaten in another room.
For years afterward, she kept what she experienced as a secret, even from those she was closest to.
“It’s not something you want to tell your mom, because my mom is a very strong woman and she did her very best in raising me,” says Williams. “And I think for any woman or man who’s been in an abusive situation, you don’t want to tell your parents because you don’t want them to think that they had let you down in any way. I don’t want her to think that she had done anything wrong. And so I took it upon myself.”
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“But I was glad when I did, she was glad that I told her and we talked about it,” Williams adds. “She told me some of her experiences. And we just talked about how this should be told so other women don’t have to go through it.”
Kelly has since been found guilty on nine counts including racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, sex trafficking, and a violation of the Mann Act.
He remains in custody pending sentencing, which is set for May 4, 2022.