Nearly a decade after filing for divorce from Nas, Kelis breaks her silence on what she says was a mentally and physically abusive marriage. Speaking with Hollywood Unlocked, the singer detailed a relationship filled with chaos, alcohol, and darkness.
“It was dark. There was a lot of drinking. There was a lot of mental and physical abuse,” she said. “God is so good because I probably would have stayed longer had I not been pregnant. I really did love him. We were married. We weren’t dating. This was my person…I did [feel like he was my soulmate] at the time.”
Despite their love, Kelis says fights would ensue. “We would fight. I never just sat there. We would definitely fight,” she said. “I’m 5’10”. I don’t back down and I’m extremely confrontational so I take my part in it. I wasn’t perfect. I never painted myself as an angel. I can be a bitch. I can fight. I know how to throw a punch, but I wouldn’t have started it. I’ll participate in ending it, but I wouldn’t have started it.”
Alcohol also fueled some of this chaos, according to Kelis. “He would black out,” she said. “He would drink too much…and he would never admit it. There are times when we would party and I would drink with him but then he would keep drinking. A lot of the stuff, he may not remember. There were times when we would have the worst night ever and we would wake up the next day, it was like it never happened.”
She says Nas was also upset with her over celebrity interactions. “He would be mad about who I was going to talk to,” she added. “He would be mad if we were at an afterparty for the Grammys or MTV or whatever, if JAY[-Z] said hi. I was like, ‘I can’t keep up with all these things. These are not my battles.’ I don’t even care about these people. If someone says hi, I’m like, ‘What up!’ I don’t give a damn. I don’t like any of them anyway, really, not even personally, I just don’t care. But he cared so much that it caused a lot of conflict.”
She says Nas was also unfaithful throughout their relationship. “I didn’t file for divorce because he cheated. He’d been cheating for 2 years and I knew that,” she added. “On top of all the other stuff, then you’re gonna cheat? This is too much. It was really toxic and I was pregnant. At 7 months pregnant, I was terrified. I was like, ‘I cannot bring a person into this. This is a mess. I can’t control this. I gotta get out.'”
Seeing photos of Rihanna following Chris Brown’s Feb. 2009 assault also triggered the singer. “I remember so clearly when the [Rihanna] pictures came out when that whole thing happened with her and Chris Brown,” she added. “It was like double dutch. I felt like, ‘Do I jump? Do I say it?’ I had bruises all over my body at that time. But I wasn’t ready to walk. I just wasn’t. So I didn’t say it. I’m not weak but I’m really private. I don’t like people knowing my business. I felt like, ‘This is my partner. I chose this. We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna make it work.'”
Following six years of marriage, Kelis filed for divorce in April of ’09. They have been embroiled in a “hostile” custody and child support battle over their 8-year-old son, Knight. But Kelis says she’s moved forward from the hardship that relationship caused. “I’ve moved on,” she explained. “I’m married. I have another baby. My life is good.”