Kelis left Nas when she was 7 months pregnant because he was physically abusive


I remember for a brief moment, people thought Kelis and Nas were going to be the other superstar couple alongside Beyonce and Jay-Z. That’s how they were framed, and it didn’t hurt that their romance happened along the same timeline as Bey and Jay’s romance. Kelis and Nas got engaged in 2004, and married in 2005. She was seven months pregnant when she filed for divorce in April 2009, and I remember that there were a lot of accusations thrown back and forth at the time that she was cheating and he was cheating and it was all pretty messy, but then it went quiet for years, minus some legal dramas over custody of their son. Their four-year marriage was turbulent, we knew that. But we didn’t know that Nas physically and emotionally abused her during the marriage. We didn’t know that until now, because Kelis has finally had enough of hiding her ex’s dirty secrets. She gave an exclusive interview to Hollywood Unlocked – you can see the video here. Some quotes from Kelis:

Why she filed for divorce when she was seven months pregnant: “There was a lot of mental and physical abuse.”

She’s stayed quiet for nine years: “His memory is definitely faulty. I’ve waited 9 years to say anything. I have never talked about this man. The amount of airing out that I could do and don’t do is what our kids will find out.” Kelis stated.

Nas was a drinker: “We had really intense highs and really intense lows. It was never normal. An intense high would be when money was rolling in. 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… An intense low….we had a lot. It was really dark. A lot of drinking. A lot of mental and physical abuse and it got to the point where if I wasn’t pregnant, I might have stayed with him…I was pregnant and it was a mess and I felt like I wasn’t going to bring a child into this.”

The abuse: “Did he hit me?…..Mmm hmmm. Did I hit him back?…..Mmm hmmm.”

Seeing the photos of Rihanna’s face after Chris Brown brutalized her in 2009: “When the Rihanna and Chris Brown pictures came out I thought about coming out because I also had bruises all over my body. But I didn’t say anything because I’m private. But seeing her the way she looked and then looking at myself… I felt embarrassed.”

Her custody battle over their son: She touched on Nas’ co-parenting skills and how he “shows up when there’s a photo opp..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.”

[From Hollywood Unlocked]

I watched some of the video and it was painful to watch because – I feel – Kelis still hasn’t really processed everything from her abusive marriage, even nine years later. Like, at times it feels like she thinks she still has to justify both why she stayed and why she left. She kept repeating “I’m not weak” like she has to explain why she was getting abused. But that’s what makes it real – she speaks like an abused woman who got the f–k out and tried not to think about it too much afterwards. I hope she’s safe and healthy and happy today.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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26 Responses to “Kelis left Nas when she was 7 months pregnant because he was physically abusive”

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  1. deets says:

    That’s a lot of strength to share that in public, with the audience Kelis knows she’s going to reach.
    She describes a common thing too, a woman who hits back. This can make it harder to leave, because the instigator often says after self defense that the victim is the abuser. Of course, not true, but it can make people doubt themselves.
    I hope this helps her in the way she needs.

    • PPP says:

      Yep. I think you’re entitled to hit someone back, honestly. Not just for self defense, but as a matter of animal-level self-respect. It’s such an instinct, as well. I don’t understand why you’re just supposed to take it and let yourself get beat on in order to be a legitimate victim.

      • deets says:

        Very much so. and the scary part is, if you just take it, there’s still no guarantee it will stop.

    • Asiyah says:

      “She describes a common thing too, a woman who hits back. This can make it harder to leave, because the instigator often says after self defense that the victim is the abuser.”

      Yup. Been there. If you hit me or I feel threatened, I WILL hit back. He would later bring up the fact that I sent him to the hospital twice (something HE chose to do. I, on the other hand, did not) so he was justified in hitting me, making me feel guilty. I didn’t want to sound like an abuser and let him know that I hit him because he was pinning me down because that’s no excuse, but yeah, me fighting back became his go to tactic and his “reason” for why HE wasn’t abusive. You’re really in a catch-22 as a woman.

      • JENNIFER says:

        Oh yeah, of COURSE it’s natural and should be understandable to hit back, but there are lots of people that will say “well you were abusive too” and dismiss it all because they don’t understand that the abuser is the one that drives and fuels the violence. A lot of people only dole out sympathy for the perfect victim, and the perfect victim apparently is supposed to sit there and take it, or manage to escape in the moment HA!

      • Asiyah says:

        @ Jennifer
        Exactly. I even remained friends with him post-breakup because he would always throw it in my face that he let a lot of things slide with me and put up with a lot of my crap, including me hitting him. That kept the friendship going which turned out to be even worse than the romantic relationship. I’m no perfect victim and I own up to my end of the toxicity for sure but in the end him hitting me or being physically aggressive isn’t my fault and that’s what we need to understand as people who have been abused.

      • deets says:

        You described it exactly, Asiyah. It’s just another mind f*ck for them to paint themselves as the victim. A move that is so typical from them.
        Plus, a punch from a guy vs a punch from another girl? Let’s not pretend they are even close to equal. My girlfriend had bruises from her ex military partner. He tried to tell people she did it herself, and that she was the abuser. It amazed me how many people believed him, how many women.

        And pinning someone down, that makes me anxious just typing it. You had every right to react. f*ck him for playing like it’s otherwise and putting you in that situation. I remember some of what you’ve shared, and you know I see you and your strength. It takes a lot to share this, but you do a valuable service to every woman out there facing the same thing when you did. ❤️❤️❤️

      • Asiyah says:

        @deets now I feel like crying! (for good reasons)

        thank you xoxo

  2. SM says:

    Ugh. Another pig. Good for Kelis for getting out and not bringing a child into this mess. Going by what she says both her and her childredn would be better of without him in their lives.

  3. Babs says:

    Wow. There were rumors back in the days but it didn’t stick so I forgot about it. I hope she found her peace, it must have been so hard to leave while pregnant and living with this until today. I love Kelis. I used to love Nas too, sigh

  4. Lala says:

    This was another story my guy told me years ago from being in the music business….not only regarding the abusive relationships that she had with Nas AND Pharrell…but also how SO MANY MEN in the music business used her magnificent talent and treated her like an dried up, old towel…

  5. Reef says:

    I just want to give her a hug. I just want her to know that there are folks out there that love her and believe her. God, her repeating I’m not weak is heartbreaking.
    Her story is pretty consistent with what Carmen said about him years ago. I’m really looking forward for #MeToo to hit hiphop. Because there are a lot of abusers out here hiding in plain sight that need to go. It’s so bad that the newer stutter rappers are openly abusive but still become successful.

  6. Betsy says:

    It breaks my heart that any abused person feels for even a moment that they are weak. You aren’t weak, Kelis.

    • Really says:


    • deets says:

      It’s heartbraking. She was betrayed by the person who should have valued her the most, and she feels that others think she deserved it. Probably because of comments like the top one on Shumer’s post.
      She did not deserve it. Never. Not one bit. And she lived through something insanely difficult. I’d say that makes her a survivor, a tough bitch, and a badass. Not weak.

  7. Lucy says:

    This right here is a sign of the times. A woman who suffered all types of abuse from her partner for years was finally able to speak out on it. Good for her, may this allow her to finally find her peace.

  8. Honey says:

    I like them both and wish the best for the both of them. I am also glad that Kelis took some inspiration from Rhianna and perhaps how Rhianna handled the situation.

    Even though both were abused and in abusive and combative situations they have both fought (it sounds like) to hold on to and retain their dignity and integrity. Both found their inner heroes. Go girls!!!

  9. Nicegirl says:

    So real

  10. Ang says:

    I also hit him back. I was never a violent person, but became one because of a man. Or child, I should say. We were so young too and it changed my life forever. People always ask why I never pressed charges and the answer was always because because I hit him back.

    • deets says:

      Ang, you didn’t deserve to be hit. Even if you walloped him back. I hope you know that, now.

  11. ... nik. says:

    The nerve of this baby-face… Do you Kelis, you are Fab.