'Surviving R. Kelly' Premiere: How to Watch Lifetime Docuseries, Aaliyah Relationship and Everything to Know About Episode 1

A docuseries exposing musical legend R. Kelly's years of alleged sexual misconduct is set to premiere on Lifetime on Thursday. Surviving R. Kelly, Lifetime's three-part docuseries, features interviews with various women formerly associated with the R&B singer, including his ex-wife Andrea Kelly, during which they share their harrowing tales of alleged sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Kelly.

The docuseries, which will include commentary from Kelly's friends and family members as well as his music industry colleagues and cultural critics, will run on Lifetime at 9 p.m. ET, starting on Thursday, and will continue to air each night until Saturday. While it's unclear if the network will live stream the show on the Lifetime website, full episodes will likely be available online shortly after the series airs.

The first episode of the series will uncover Kelly's—born Robert Kelly—early origins in Chicago and his rise to musical fame. As his story unfolds, the voices of Kelly's accusers, media critics and journalists who have followed his history of alleged sexual abuse of young girls and women will shed light on his behavior as it continued and advanced as he gained more and more success.

The first episode will also uncover his history with late R&B singer Aaliyah Haughton, with whom he had a romantic relationship and married when she was just 15 years old in 1994. Jovante Cunningham, Kelly's former backup singer, recalled witnessing a number of Kelly's alleged sexual affairs with underage girls during the 1990s, including one night he allegedly had sex with Haughton on a tour bus.

"We were out on the road with Aaliyah," Cunningham said in a series clip. "On a tour bus, there really aren't many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don't want anybody to see you sleeping."

"So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody's communicating, laughing, when the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah," Cunningham continued.

Haughton, who met Kelly through her uncle and Kelly's manager Barry Hankerson when she was 12, would have been 15 at the time of their alleged sexual encounter. Kelly was 27.

"Things that an adult should not be doing with a child," Cunningham added. "I can't stress to you how people are still suffering behind things that went on 20 years ago."

Kelly soon came under fire for his relationship with Haughton when it was widely reported the pair had married in 1994. A marriage license made public listed Haughton as being 18 instead of 15. Their marriage was annulled the same year.

Haughton, who went on to become an R&B superstar, died in a plane crash in 2001.

Haughton's mother, Diane, denied Cunningham's claims in a statement released after the clip's airing on Wednesday.

"The woman and so-called backup singer in the forthcoming Surviving… documentary that describes seeing, meeting or ever breathing the same air as my daughter, Aaliyah, is lying and a liar," the statement read. "My husband and I were always on tour with her and at interviews and every place she went throughout her entire career. Whoever this woman is, I have never seen her before anywhere on planet earth, until now."

"These lies and fabrications cannot be tolerated and allowed to be spewed from the forked tongues of saboteurs of Aaliyah's legacy," Diane Haughton added.

While Kelly's career continued to flourish, so did accusations against him of sexual misconduct, including the infamous 2002 sex tape, in which Kelly was seen urinating on a girl believed to be 14 years old. Kelly stood trial on 14 charges of child pornography related to the videotape, but after just one month of hearings and one-day of deliberation, a jury deemed Kelly not guilty.

Kelly's behavior was once again under the microscope after a Buzzfeed article claimed the singer held six women captive at his homes in Chicago and Atlanta in 2017. The report cited Kelly for operating a sex cult, in which the women were being kept against their free will.

'Surviving R. Kelly' Premiere: How to Watch Lifetime Docuseries, Aaliyah Relationship and Everything to Know About Episode 1 | Culture