In a new interview with Hollywood Unlocked, singer Kelis revealed for the first time publicly, that she was abused by Nas during their five-year marriage. Before alleging that Nas would instigate physical fights with her while blacked out from drinking, Kelis alluded to the abuse by saying the rapper’s infidelity was not why she chose to end the marriage. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she explained. “I didn’t file for divorce because he cheated. He had been cheating for two years, and I knew that. It was because, on top of all the other stuff, and then you’re gonna cheat? It was too much.”
When asked if that meant Nas would hit her, Kelis responded, “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. 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.” She considered going public about the abuse when she saw photos of Rihanna’s bruised face after Chris Brown attacked her; at the time, Kelis says she had visible injuries from Nas as well.
“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. ‘Do I jump in? Do I say it?’ Cause I had bruises all over my body at that time. I remember being in Atlanta, sitting in the kitchen, and I was like, ‘Do I?’ And I wasn’t ready to walk. I just wasn’t. And so I didn’t say it.’”
Kelis recalls that Nas acknowledged his abuse after seeing the Rihanna photos. “Seeing her, the way she looked, and then looking at myself, I was embarrassed,” Kelis explained. “He knew it. He looked at me like, ‘Are you gonna do it?’” Kelis filed for divorce from Nas in April 2009, two months after the Rihanna photos leaked. Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas’s first child, also alleged in her 2007 memoir It’s No Secret that the rapper physically abused her. In her interview, Kelis described Nas as being volatile for the entirety of their marriage: “He was angry, and he was dark, and he’s always been that way.”