During the first part of the interview, which aired Wednesday, Kelly, 52, who was recently charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, grew extremely agitated and aggressive when questioned about the nature of his relationships with underage girls and denied all claims against him.
At one point in the segment, Kelly leapt out of his chair in anger and yelled at the camera, while King sat cool, calm and collected.
King’s poised composure promoted viewers, including pal Oprah Winfrey and producer Ava DuVernay, to applaud her ability to not even flinch — especially when Kelly appeared to be towering over her — and also be concerned for the journalist’s welfare.
“I was not scared,” King, 64, told The Oprah Magazine, where she serves as editor-at-large. “I never thought he was going to hit me.”
“After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave,” King explained.
“So what I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that.”
“I just knew that I was never in danger,” Kind told The Oprah Magazine. “I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing. But I knew that I wasn’t in any real danger. I just kept thinking ‘Okay, Robert, go ahead’ and that’s what I said.”
King also sat down with two young women currently living with Kelly, Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage in an interview that will air Thursday on CBS This Morning. Savage’s parents have accused Kelly of kidnapping their daughter, though she says she’s living with the singer of her own free will.
Kelly was released from jail on Feb. 25 after being indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims, Cook Country Sheriff confirmed to PEOPLE.
The R&B singer secured his release by paying 10 percent of his $1 million bail amount.
Kelly’s alleged behavior came to the media forefront again in July 2017, when BuzzFeed published a bombshell report accusing the star of running a “sex cult” out of his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, and after the release of Surviving R. Kelly in January.
According to those reports, the star allegedly seduced a number of young women with the promise of helping them kickstart a music career, only to “groom” them into being his personal sex objects for whom he allegedly controlled every aspect of their lives.
Kelly has repeatedly denied all claims against him. He is due in court again on March 22.
The embattled singer was also arrested on Wednesday following a child support hearing in Chicago.
Cook County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari confirms to PEOPLE that Kelly was transferred to the county jail, where he will remain until he pays $161,000 in back child support that he owes. His next court date is March 13.
Kelly’s publicist Darryll Johnson told the Associated Press the R&B star had been prepared to pay $50,000 to $60,000 at Wednesday’s hearing, but the judge requested the full amount. Johnson said the entire sum wasn’t available due to Kelly being unable to work. PEOPLE was unable to immediately reach Johnson for comment.
CNN also reported that court documents show Kelly owed more than $169,000 in unpaid child support to his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, as of Feb. 6. The court ordered Kelly to make a monthly payment of $20,833 on Jan. 8, 2009, but Kelly did not show up to that hearing, according to CNN.
Additionally, a judge ordered he pay $161,663 by Wednesday in order to avoid being held in contempt of court.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.