R. Kelly's former protegee is quietly praying prosecutors won't call her to give evidence in his criminal sex abuse case because her previous testimony tore her family apart.
Singer Sparkle, real name Stephanie Edwards, took the witness stand during Kelly's child pornography trial in the early 2000s, when she testified about a sex tape purportedly featuring the R&B veteran and her then-underage niece.
That case ended in Kelly's acquittal in 2008, but he is now facing multiple counts of sexual misconduct, relating to alleged incidents with four victims, three of whom were minors.
He has again denied the accusations, but the case looks to be heading to trial, and when it does, Sparkle hopes she won't be needed to give evidence about a new explicit video, which is said to feature the musician with an underage girl - who she believes is also her niece.
"I hope they don't need me," she told The New York Times, although she concedes, "But I have to. I have to see this through."
Sparkle claims taking a public stand against Kelly, who produced her self-titled debut album back in 1998, has driven a wedge between her and members of her family, with one sister even demanding she leave them alone after speaking out again in the recent Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, which revisited longrunning sexual misconduct accusations.
However, not all of her relatives have turned their backs on Sparkle - her brother, Bennie Edwards, told the Times, "Sparkle, she loves her family, they need to know that. I love them as well, but the truth - the truth is the truth at the end of the day, and that's all it is."
Her longtime boyfriend and manager, Bruce Wayne, has also given the singer his full support.
"She held a mirror up to society," he said. "This is bigger than R. Kelly, and she's been so far ahead of everybody."
Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.