For the first time since her 2010 divorce, Kelis has publicly accused her ex-husband Nas of abuse.
In a bombshell new interview with website Hollywood Unlocked, the Milkshake singer alleged that she was abused by rapper Nas during their nearly five-year marriage.
“It was really dark. There was a lot of drinking. There was a lot of mental and physical abuse,” the mother-of-two said in the interview published Thursday.
“I probably would have stayed longer had I not been pregnant because I really did love him and because we were married. We weren’t dating, we were married. Like, this was my person.”
Kelis, who had a string of hits including the 2003 single Milkshake, is now a chef and has remarried.
She explained why it took so long to break her silence about the alleged abuse.
“I’ve waited nine years to say anything. I have never talked about this man, ever. The amount of airing out that I could do, and I’ve chosen not to,” Kelis said. “Our kids will find out. They’re finding out now. I’ve never painted myself as a saint. Did he hit me? Mmhm. Did I hit him back? Mmhm.”
Kelis went on to allege that alcohol and drug abuse took a toll on the marriage.
“We had really intense highs and really intense lows. It was never normal. An intense high would be when money was rolling in,” she said. “But I was 22 when I met him. We were drinking a lot, getting high a lot. So when that comes down, it was bad.”
The star, whose birth name is Kelis Rogers, ended her relationship with Nas in 2009, the same year Rihanna and Chris Brown‘s physical altercation occurred. Kelis told Hollywood Unlocked that she decided to leave her marriage after seeing a photo of Rihanna’s bruised face.
“I remember so clearly when the [Rihanna] pictures came out,” Kelis recalled. “Because I [also] had bruises all over my body at that time. I wasn’t ready to walk [away]. I just wasn’t. 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.’”
Kelis and Nas have battled over custody of their son Knight Jones for years. In her interview, Kelis accused her ex-husband of being an absentee parent.
“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.”
The singer married real estate agent Mike Mora in 2014 and they are parents to son Sheperd, 2.
You can watch Kelis’ interview below.