Music manager Mathew Knowles, father to pop singers Beyonce and Solange Knowles, said he and his then wife Tina Lawson kept a close watch over the group Destiny's Child when they met with R. Kelly in 1998.
R. Kelly is making headlines thanks to Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly, a six-hour docu-series that aired last week. The documentary analyzed sexual abuse allegations against the 52-year-old singer/songwriter by multiple women.
Beyonce's former group Destiny's Child met with Kelly to discuss a potential collaboration when the girls - Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and then-members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett - were 15 or 16 years old (Beyonce was rumored to be 18 at the time).
Many in the music industry were aware of rumors of Kelly's unsavory reputation and his alleged predilection for underage girls.
"I was there, and my former wife Tina was there," Knowles told Metro.co.uk. "When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes."
R. Kelly, real name Robert S. Kelly, reportedly married the late singer Aaliyah when she was only 16. Kelly worked with her on "Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number".
He also worked with other artists, Kelly Price, Sparkle, and Ciara. But despite reported pressure from the singer's management at Sony, Knowles said he passed on a collaboration for his up-and-coming group.
"The thing with R. Kelly was, he liked to record late at night, around midnight," the 67-year-old continued. "And what was different with his studio was that one room had a recording suite, and next door was a club, with 40 or 50 people dancing."
"I personally rejected the song, because I didn't think it was a good song," he said of the track for the group's debut album. "Not just because of (his) reputation - this was around 1998, we had just begun to hear some of those things."
According to editors at Metro.co.uk, a source confirmed Knowles' account, adding that R. Kelly "made several requests" to work with Destiny's Child.
"Mathew and Tina rejected all of them because they didn't want him anywhere near the band which is why they are one of the few acts to debut in the 90s without an R. Kelly song in its official discography," the source added.
Beyonce's dad confirmed "it was both" a combination of R. Kelly's reputation and the business differences that put him off.
WENN.com confirms the group did record an R. Kelly song, "Stimulate Me", for the soundtrack of 1999 movie Life, but the "I Wish" singer was not present in the studio when it was recorded, and the song never appeared on any Destiny's Child albums.
Beyonce has also never personally worked with R. Kelly in her solo career.
Photo by Marcus Hoffman/WENN.com