Last Updated: March 21, 2024
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
-$2 Million
Jan 8, 1967 (57 years old)
6 ft (1.854 m)
Singer, Record producer, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Music Video Director, Actor, Musician, Music executive, Multi-instrumentalist, Rapper
United States of America
💰 Compare R. Kelly's Net Worth

What is R. Kelly's net worth?

R. Kelly is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. R Kelly's net worth is negative $2 million. At his peak R. Kelly's net worth was easily in the tens of millions, perhaps as high as $100 million. That fortune is gone. In April 2020, Kelly revealed to a judge  – in making a case for being released from prison – that he owes nearly $1.9 million to the IRS alone, in addition to other creditors. For a more detailed breakdown of R. Kelly's current financial problems and peak success, please scroll down a few paragraphs.

R. Kelly was extremely popular and successful in the 1990s. If he sang it, the song was a hit. From his solo debut in 1993 until around 2001, he released a string of hits that earned him the nicknames the "King of R&B" and "the Pied Piper of R&B."  Some of his biggest hits include "Bump n' Grind," "I Believe I Can Fly," "Gotham City," "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time," "I'm a Flirt," and "Trapped in the Closet." To date, he's sold nearly 40 million albums in the United States and another 54 million worldwide. He's released more than a dozen studio albums as a solo artist. Nearly all of his albums have charted in the Top 10, and five have reached #1.

During his career, R. Kelly received 24 Grammy nominations for his own performances or work he has produced for other artists, and he's won three of the awards.

Unfortunately R. Kelly is equally as famous for his controversial personal life as he is for his musical achievements. A number of charges ultimately led to him being convicted of sex trafficking, child pornography, and racketeering. Just one of his convictions resulted in a 31-year prison sentence. As of 2023, R. Kelly is incarcerated at the FCI Butner Medium I prison complex.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Robert Sylvester Kelly was born on the south side of Chicago on January 8, 1967. He dropped out of high school to perform as a subway musician. He earned a big break when he won a $100,000 prize on the television talent show Big Break. Kelly signed with Jive Records in 1991 and released the album "Born into the 90s" with his group Public Announcement in 1993.


In November 1993, R. Kelly released his solo debut "12 Play." Thanks to largely to the single "Bump n' Grind," the album was eventually certified six times platinum.

At the same time, Kelly began a career producing records for other artists.

In 1992, music producer Barry Hankerson introduced R. Kelly to his niece, a 12-year-old girl who had begun to show enormous vocal talents. That niece was named Aaliyah. R. Kelly produced and wrote Aaliyah's entire debut album, which went double platinum and produced a number of hit singles.

R. Kelly wrote the following hit songs for other artists:

R. Kelly Owes Back Taxes

R. Kelly (MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1995, his album "R. Kelly" sold four million copies. Soon after, his single "I Believe I Can Fly" topped the charts and won three Grammy Awards. Kelly released a series of multi-platinum albums in the 2000s, as well as the multi-part hip-hop opera Trapped in the Closet, which he released to radio stations in short portions. The final portion of was officially released to the public in the spring of 2010.

R Kelly has released 14 studio albums, five compilation albums, and three collaboration albums. In addition to his three Grammys, Kelly has won dozens of awards, including several AMAs, a BET award, and many Billboard awards. His most recent albums, "Black Panties" and "The Buffet" were released in 2013 and 2015, respectively. He has also participated in 12 official tours around the world spanning from 1994 to 2013.

R. Kelly Net Worth

(Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)

Personal Life

In 1994, Kelly secretly married Aaliyah. She was 15 years old at the time. The two reportedly began having a sexual relationship when she was 13 or 14 years old. At the time, R. Kelly would have been around 26 years old. The marriage was annulled in 1995.

He went on to marry dancer Andrea Lee in 1996 and the couple had three children before divorcing in 2009.

A Lost Fortune

Had R. Kelly never experienced any legal problems, his net worth could have easily topped $50-100 million. Over the years, Kelly has reportedly paid tens of millions of dollars to allegedly settle dozens of lawsuits made by women who claimed they were abused by the singer. Kelly reportedly lost a large portion of his net worth after divorcing Andrea Lee, his wife from from 1996-2009, the most lucrative years of his career.

In 2012, it was revealed that Kelly owed $4.8 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS. The amounts owed by year were reported as:

  • $1,472,366.77 for 2005
  • $710,520.51 for 2006
  • $376,180.11 for 2007
  • $1,122,694.90 for 2008
  • $173,815.18 for 2009
  • $992,495.24 for 2010

For a grand total of $4,848,072.71

In July 2018, R. Kelly released a 19 minute song on Spotify where he addressed many of his allegations. On this song, Kelly claimed to be broke and needs to tour "just to pay rent." He also admits to owing the IRS $20 million at one time and being forced to borrow several million dollars from his label to pay bills. His financial struggles are compounded by the fact that he can't tour in many countries overseas because of his controversies and his U.S. tours are frequently blocked by protests. Furthermore, Spotify and other streaming services have stopped serving his songs in their public playlists. On Spotify, individuals can still stream his songs from their own account, but his songs will not be recommended in public playlists like Discover Weekly or other Spotify-curated playlists and radio channels.

In January 2019, Chicago building inspectors were granted the right to search R. Kelly's recording studio after receiving reports that the structure had undergone multiple renovations without permits. R. Kelly does not own the studio, he has rented it since 2017. The 8,000-square-foot building was actually listed for sale at the time of the inspection for $4 million. At the same time, the building owner had filed a lawsuit against R. Kelly seeking unpaid rent. According to the lawsuit, Kelly's rent was $23,000 per month and he hadn't paid in seven months. He owed the landlord $167,000 at the time of the filing.

On January 14, R. Kelly's record label RCA/Sony revealed that they were putting all of his future music releases on hold, effectively freezing Kelly out of earning more money. At the time, he owed RCA/Sony two more albums on his most recent record contract. RCA/Sony also refused to provide money for new music videos. After the 2019 documentary "Surviving R. Kelly" reexamined his sexual misconduct with minors, RCA Records terminated his contract.

In late February 2019, R. Kelly was arrested on a series of new charges. His bail was set at $1 million, which could have been satisfied with a $100,000 payment. Unfortunately, Kelly was so cash-poor that it took several days for him to come up with the money. In fact, it was reported that the $100,000 actually came from a woman named Valencia Love, whose precise relationship to R. Kelly is unclear. While Kelly was in jail, his ex-wife Andrea filed a suit seeking $160,000 worth of unpaid child support.

In 2023, it was reported that Federal prosecutors were looking to garnish R. Kelly's music royalties to pay two of his victims. The record label could be on the hook for as much as $500,000.

Real Estate

In 1994 R. Kelly paid $1.107 million for an 8,400 square-foot mansion in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood that dates back to the early 1900s. He sold this mansion in 2002 for $2.25 million.

In 1997, R. Kelly purchased an undeveloped 4-acre lakefront property in the Chicago suburbs of Olympia Fields. He proceeded to build a 14,000-square-foot mansion, which he dubbed "the Chocolate Factory."  The 6-br, 8-ba bathroom mansion features an indoor pool, home theater, and basketball court. In 2009, the property was appraised at $5.2 million. In 2007, local neighbors sued Kelly for keeping his enormous tour bus parked illegally on the street, for building a guard house without a permit, and for breeding dogs on the property.

During his time owning the mansion, Kelly carried a nearly $3 million mortgage owed to JP Morgan Chase bank. In July 2011, the bank began foreclosure proceedings on the home after Kelly had reportedly not made a payment on his mortgage in roughly a year. A foreclosure auction was held in March 2013, with JP Morgan bidding $950,000 on the home on which they already held the mortgage. In November 2013, the bank finally offloaded the property for $587,500. The buyer in 2013 was fellow singer Rudolph Isley. Rudolph died in October 2023. His widow put the property, now dubbed "The Isley Estate," on the market in January 2024 for $3.49 million. Here is a video tour of R. Kelly's former Chicago "Chocolate Factory," which is now known as "The Isley Estate":

All of R. Kelly's other mansions and condos, including a home in Atlanta and a condo in Chicago's Trump International, were rented. In 2018, he was evicted from two Atlanta area homes after failing to pay more than $30,000 in back rent and fees.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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