“I didn’t file for divorce because he cheated. He had been cheating for two years, and I knew it. It was because on top of all the other stuff -- then you’re gonna cheat?”
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Kelis said she decided to file for divorce in 2009, when she was seven months pregnant with her son Knight. She said she couldn't bring a baby into her toxic relationship.
“It was dark. It was really dark. There was a lot of drinking. There was a lot of, just, mental and physical abuse,” she said. “I probably would’ve stayed longer if I had not been pregnant.”
“Did he hit me? Mhm. Did I hit him back? Mhm,” she said when asked more about it. “It was because he would black out. He would drink too much, he drank way too much, he will never admit it… There are times that we would party and I would drink with him, but then he would keep drinking. And so a lot of the stuff, he may not remember.”
Kelis said she kept the abuse private because she worried how it would affect her public image.
“I remember so clearly when the pictures came out with that whole thing that happened with (Rihanna) and Chris Brown and ... I had bruises all over my body at that time.
“I wasn’t ready to walk (away),” she said. Adding that she stayed with Nas for years after that incident.
Of her decision to ultimately say something about the abuse, Kelis said, “Seeing (Rihanna) the way she looked and then looking at myself… I felt embarrassed.”
She added that she takes ownership for her own wrongs in the relationship.
“I wasn’t perfect,” she said. “I never painted myself as an angel.”
Kelis also discussed her custody battle with Nas. She alluded that the emcee was in and out of their 8-year-old son’s life.
“A parent isn’t about showing up when you feel like it. You can’t not show up for months and then show up and try to make up your own (visitation) schedule,” she said.
Kelis said her life now is good. She's since moved on and is married to real estate agent Mike Mora. They have a 2-year-old son named Shepherd.
The full interview of Kelis with Hollywood Unlocked can be watched on YouTube.