Lil Rel Howery is now a respected actor in his own right, having appeared in Get Out, Bird Box and Uncle Drew in the past two years alone. While he's now riding high on his Hollywood success, the actor recently revealed that he actually got his start in acting on R. Kelly's musical anthology series, Trapped in the Closet.
While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday (November 6), the comedian opened up about the moment on set when his dislike for the singer, who has been accused of controlling women, was confirmed.
"I did stand-in work for R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet series. I did stand-in for the cop, [played by] Michael K. Williams," he said. "For years, everybody was like, 'Rel, why don't you like R. Kelly like that?'"
Howery went on to give the answer, explaining that things took an awkward turn on set when the singer gave him a menacing look for looking in the direction of another stand-in, who also happened to be one of his female backup dancers.
"It was another stand-in, a young lady that was actually one of his backup dancers for a couple of his tours," he added. "And we were just talking the whole time, getting to know each other, laughing and having a good time. But every time she laughed, I found him just, like, staring at me. So we come back to set the next day right, and she's not talking to us at all."
The actor/comedian said he then decided to ask the woman if he did something wrong to find out why she was not speaking to him, and her response took him by surprise.
"'He doesn't want me talking to y'all no more,'" he said she told him. "And I said, 'Who?' 'Robert.' ... So, she didn't talk to us the rest of the time we were filming it and it was just crazy and I remember him smirking about it."
That was not the last time Howery had an unpleasant exchange with the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer. He said, later in the interview, that they both were present at John Singleton's birthday party and the disgraced singer sent someone over to summon him for an introduction.
"I guess he wanted to meet me, and he sent somebody to me and we were all in this VIP area," he said.
So, how'd he respond to Kelly's invitation?: "'Man, I'm good,'" he recalled saying.
"It wasn't even about the allegations with me," he continued. "He was so extra like that sometimes, and I ain't like that. Everybody knows I'm from the West Side of Chicago, and I own who I am. That's too much, bro. Just come speak to me, fam... To send somebody, that was just so weird to me."
Take a look at the full interview, below:
R. Kelly has been charged with 21 counts of misconduct in the state of Illinois and has been hit with several felony charges following the airing of the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly in January.
(Photos from left: RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images, Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)