A publicist for R&B singer R. Kelly says he was taken into custody Wednesday for failing to pay more than $160 thousand in child support. (March 6)

R&B singer R. Kelly was released from a Chicago jail Saturday after someone paid $161,000 in back child support for his ex-wife.

Cook County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sophia Ansari told The Associated Press that she did not know who made the payment.

It came three days after a judge ordered Kelly jailed until he paid the total amount he owed by that date.

His expected release follows a rough week for Kelly. The singer made headlines for his explosive interview with CBS’ Gayle King, his first talk since being charged with 10 counts aggravated criminal sexual abuse. And hours after the interview aired Wednesday, he landed back in jail for the second time in three weeks after failing to pay the overdue child support. 

The full amount was owed to his ex-wife, Andrea “Drea” Kelly, with whom he has a 20-year-old daughter, Joann, and two teenage sons, Robert Jr. and Jay.

Last month, Kelly, 52, spent three nights in jail on the sex-crimes charges after he turned himself in on Feb. 22. He was freed when a 47-year-old suburban Chicago business owner posted his $100,000 bail.

Kelly’s rep Darryll Johnson told reporters when Kelly appeared in court Wednesday, the singer was prepared to pay up to $60,000 up front, then work out a payment plan for the remainder. Instead, the judge told Kelly he’d stay in jail until the entire sum was paid.

“He was expecting that he was going to come and make an arrangement, but they wanted the entire amount. As you know he hadn’t worked in a long time. He can’t book shows, he can’t do anything,” Johnson explained. 

While it’s true that Kelly appears to have been dropped by his label, RCA Records, and some artists have pulled their collaborations with him from their streaming catalogs, his song and album sales more than doubled after Lifetime aired its docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” according to Nielsen. The data analytics company also says his audio and video streams spiked 76 and 85 percent.

Meanwhile, Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for two of Kelly’s sex assault accusers tweeted Saturday that he has uncovered more evidence against the singer. 

“Our investigation has now uncovered significant additional evidence that R Kelly and his handlers transported underage girls across state lines for the purpose of allowing him to sexually assault them,” he tweeted. “We will be turning over the evidence to law enforcement forthwith.”

The singer’s next hearing in his criminal case is set for March 13.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Charisse Jones and Maeve McDermott

More: R. Kelly’s ex-lawyer says he was ‘guilty as hell’ when he defended him years ago

More: Gayle King details ‘very troubling’ R. Kelly interview to Stephen Colbert


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