cool and collected

Gayle King reveals what was going through her head when R. Kelly flipped out on her

You’ve likely heard by now that mired R&B pop singer and accused rapist R. Kelly sat down with Gayle King for an interview this week and things didn’t go so well. In fact, they went pretty terribly.

Kelly invited King to his Chicago Trump Tower apartment to discuss the 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against him. Only a few minutes in, he flew into a rage.

Speaking to Stephen Colbert last night, King said she knew she needed to stay calm if she wanted to interview to continue.

Related: R. Kelly goes off on Gayle King in unhinged rant that can’t be unseen

“I could see him getting more heated,” she recalled. “He was upset with me about some of the questions. That’s OK. He was a little irritated. That’s OK.”

“When I see Robert getting really upset and he stands out of his seat, my initial reaction is, ‘Oh God, please don’t leave. Please don’t leave. Please don’t leave because I really thought we’ve seen him storm out of interviews before, so I thought he was going to do that and I was thinking, ‘I’m not done with my questions. What can I do to save this interview?’”

Obviously, that’s not what happened. Instead of leaving, R. Kelly whipped into a frenzied rant, stomping his feet while shouting and crying and pointing angrily into the camera before eventually his publicist had to get involved.

Recalled King: “I thought if I just sit there quietly looking at him, he would know I’m not going anywhere and I’ll just wait for you to finish whatever this is and then you’ll sit back down in the seat and he did that.”

“I thought if we had both gotten emotional and amped up like that, what good would come of that?”

Ultimately, King explained, it was simply saying his name that ended up being the most soothing.

Related: R. Kelly slams Lady Gaga as “not professional” and unintelligent as public meltdown continues

Asked if she was ever concerned for her safety, King replied: “I never thought that he was going to hurt me or hit me. I never, ever thought that. What I was worried about is that he was flailing and hitting his fists so violently, I was worried that he would accidentally hit me.”

King says, while the interview made headlines this week, Kelly’s extreme unhinged reaction was definitely not the response she was hoping for.

“It became very troubling to me to see him really just fall apart,” she said. “I thought we were witnessing the self destruction of a man having a breakdown and that’s never a good thing to see—never.”