It has been nine years since singer Kelis filed for divorce from hip hop artist Nas after five years of marriage.
Now, Kelis is finally opening up — and revealing allegations that Nas abused her when they were together. It's heartbreaking.
You can listen to this shocking interview below.
First, Kelis discusses a much more comfortable subject, and blames their breakup on Nas cheating on her.
"That was the straw that broke the camel’s back."
But she says that it was just part of the equation.
"I didn’t file for divorce because he cheated."
And that it was something of which she was aware for a long time.
"He had been cheating for two years, and I knew that."
This is when she first hints more directly at the abuse allegations.
"It was because, on top of all the other stuff, and then you’re gonna cheat? It was too much."
The interviewer then asks if Kelis' vague references are to Nas possibly having hit her during their marriage.
"I’ve waited nine years to say anything. I’ve never talked about this man. Ever … Did he hit me? Mmhmm. Did I hit him back? Mmhmm."
While many abusive relationships are one way, some do fight back. Kelis makes it clear that she only ever fought back, and never initiated the alleged violence.
"I’m not afraid to throw a punch, but I wouldn’t have started it. I’ll participate in ending it, but I wouldn’t have started it."
This is an upsetting subject, and one can certainly understand why it took her nine years to speak of it.
But now that she's opened that door, she has more to say.
Apparently, it was photos of Rihanna's bruised and battered face from 2009 that really resonated her during the tail end of her marriage to Nas.
"I remember so clearly, when the pictures came out with that whole thing that happened with her and Chris Brown, and the only way I can describe it was like Double Dutch."
She was wondering if it was her time to come forward and speak to the public about her husband.
"‘Do I jump in? Do I say it?’ Cause I had bruises all over my body at that time."
That is heartbreaking.
"I remember being in Atlanta, sitting in the kitchen, and I was like, ‘Do I?’"
But, like countless people who are enduring abuse from their partners, she was too afraid to take that step.
"And I wasn’t ready to walk. I just wasn’t. And so I didn’t say it."
Kelis speaks more about Rihanna.
"Seeing her, the way she looked, and then looking at myself, I was embarrassed."
And she says that Nas wondered if she was going to come forward.
"He knew it. He looked at me like, ‘Are you gonna do it?’"
Though Kelis says that the abuse was one factor among many and that the cheating was the last straw … the timing looks interesting.
Kelis filed for divorce in April of 2009.
That was just two months after those horrifying photos of Rihanna surfaced.
It sounds clear that Rihanna's story and the parallels to the nightmare that Kelis was living were weighing on her mind.
Kelis describes Nas' temperament.
"He was angry, and he was dark, and he’s always been that way."
She has reason to believe that.
Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas' first child, wrote in her 2007 memoir, titled It's No Secret, that Nas had been physically abusive towards her.
There are some men who only become abusive at certain stages in their lives — when their career suddenly goes wrong, or when they develop a new substance abuse problem.
But in most cases, abusers have a history of different victims.
It sounds like Nas falls into that category.
It will be interesting to hear how Nas chooses to respond to these newly revealed allegations.
Kelis has apparently taken steps to be overly kind to Nas since their divorce. She even mentions in the interview that she's invited him over for Thanksgiving.
Some would say that her empathy is misplaced and would be better spent on someone who deserves it.
But it's Kelis' life and her story. Her response to her personal trauma is her own.
Listen to her interview here: