Rodney King to Marry Former Juror From Civil Suit Trial?

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Thing is, I never thought of Rodney King as a celebrity.

Looks like he–and she–are serious. Apparently they had the hots for each other while they were married to other people, and he was going through his 15 minutes of notoriety. The secret affair continued on and off for years, and they eventually divorced their spouses.

King, 44, recently proposed to Cynthia Kelley – juror number five – who pushed to award King a $3.8 million payout in a civil case against the city of Los Angeles.


“Our first date was the next day after the trial when Rodney’s lawyer and Rodney met me in a local pizzeria in Newport Beach,” revealed Kelley.

But the pair separated during King’s stay on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and didn’t reunite until four months ago, when he telephoned to ask if his former flame was still single.

“We hadn’t spoken to each other for many years, and it just so happened that we reconnected,” Kelley told us.

“It was like we were never apart from one another.”

In our exclusive interview from the Los Angeles home that the couple now share, Kelley – who was the only black juror in the case – admitted she kept their relationship secret, until now, to avoid media unwanted attention.

“During deliberations, the other jurors said, ‘Let’s just award him $100,000, you know he’s just gonna blow it anyway’,” Kelley said.

“It was a blessing that I was even there, the other jurors didn’t want to give him anything.”

King, famous for asking, “Can’t we all just get along?”, told the couple is yet to set a date for their nuptials.

Umph. This is what Wikipedia has had to say about King. His father was an alcoholic, his mother, who probably became a Jehovah’s Witness in response, had four other children. Alcoholism, as you know, is a disease that is passed on from generation to generation. King’s aunt drank. Her brother, King’s father, died at the age of 42 from alcohol-related complications. Rodney King is 45 years old.

His famous altercation with the L.A.P.D. occurred because he was celebrating that night that a construction company had decided to rehire him to work on the freeway starting the following Monday.

This is how he came to be on Celebrity Rehab.

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In May 2008 King checked into the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California, which was filmed as part of the second season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which premiered in October 2008. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who runs the facility, showed concern for King’s lifestyle and said that King would die unless his addiction was treated. He also appeared on Sober House, a Celebrity Rehab spin-off focusing on a sober living environment, which aired in early 2009. Both shows filmed King’s quest not only to achieve sobriety, but to reestablish a relationship with his family, which had been severely damaged due to his drinking.

During his time on Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, King worked not only on his addiction, but on the lingering trauma of the beating. He and Dr. Pinsky retraced his path from the night of his beating, eventually reaching the spot where it happened, the site of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles. King was asked to recount some of the details of the event. Among his recall however were several contradictory facts, such as that the officers shouted to him from their car during the chase that they intended to beat and kill him as soon as he stopped; that when he did stop, he immediately lay on the ground and surrendered, begging the approaching officers “You don’t have to do this!” as he lay there motionless; that the shots with the Taser were all while he was already prone and compliant; and that the officers repeatedly taunted him during the beating, such as saying they were going to kill him and he should run away. However there is no evidence supporting any of these later claims. There is no mention of such events from his companions Allen and Helms (who were arrested without any sort of force from the same officers) nor any testimony provided by him in court consistent with this.

I don’t think that King was making this up, no matter what the testimony says. I think these additions are what he also remembers. He was probably told to keep to a certain story and not to embellish it overmuch. However, that was 18 years ago, and there’s been a lot of drink washing and sloshing around in his brain.

This was not the first time that King has tried to rehabilitate himself. He continued to be picked up for driving while drunk even after the trial, in 1993, 1995, and in 2003, when he broke his pelvis during a police chase doing 100 mph on the freeway. He has been involved a few domestic disputes in which police were called to his home. In 2007, however, King was felled by birdshot pellets from a shotgun blast while riding his bike around 11 p.m. near the border of the cities of Rialto and San Bernardino. He claimed that thieves were trying to grab his bike. The cops described the area where King was found as “dicey.”

Uhuh. Looks like he was looking for dope; probably the PCP that he’s been known to use. Some speculate that this attack was also part of a domestic dispute, as King refused to say more about what exactly happened. King lives in Rialto, CA, which is about 53 miles east of L.A. After that, he took advantage of the invitation that Dr. Drew offered, in 2008, to get clean and sober.

The reason why I mention all this is that I hope the former juror, Cynthia Kelley, knows exactly what she’s getting into. Being the wife is not the same as being the secret love. She will be his third wife. Among the first and the second wives and the girlfriends, he’s been charged with domestic violence in 1987, 1995, 1999, and 2003. He’s the father of three daughters, and among them, his women, and his natal family, there have been periods of estrangement, recriminations, and anger. I would not be surprised that during the affair, that he attacked Kelley as well.

King received less than half of $3.8 million after legal fees. Los Angeles officials, he said, had expected that he would get up to $25 million; they were astounded (and relieved) that he received so little. (Actually, as Cynthia Kelley related, the jurors probably decided that figure for him.) He invested some of his money in a small hip-hop studio, which may or may not be in business. When he appeared with Dr. Drew, he had been a tow truck operator, so he is still basically a working class kind of guy. Appearing on and off Celebrity Rehab and making other media appearances (he boxed a former cop in Pennsylvania last year, and won in three rounds) may help with his rehabilitation and give him something else to do.

Man, I am not against the brother or his marriage or how he has joined the F level celebrity circuit; I am against his drinking. Alcoholics, like drug addicts, tend to reform and relapse until they get it, and don’t relapse again. I think the reason why we haven’t heard of the Southern California cops messing physically with him any more is that he is Rodney King. Sometimes a wife (or husband) does not make things better, but makes things far worse. So far, since Dr. Drew’s ministrations, he has been clean for at least a year and a half. From the LAist, in 2009:

These days King stays busy, something he considers an asset to his sobriety. He’s writing a book, telling the story he knows best: his own. He also may open a sober living recovery home, and perhaps form a foundation for homeless teens. If you’re ever fishing at Big Bear, you may see the 6’3” King spearing carp. “Fishing — that’s my thing,” he said. “They have some huge, nice carp up there.”

Whether it’s speaking for those battling multiple sclerosis, or alcoholism, King wants to be of service. “Our time here on Earth is so short,” he said. “Whatever we become in the next life is from what we did here on Earth.” He said a great way to make an impact is through simple acts of kindness. “It’s no more than shaking a hand, saying hi to a person you probably would’ve never spoke to.”

“I’m happy to have made it through it, shoot, I’m going to tell you,” King said with a laugh and big smile. “It take a minute to lose it all — life goes so fast. Maybe I’ll sing about it one day.”

He’s reputed to have a good singing voice.

Speaking of King liking to fish: I remember someone writing about King not long after the trial and the riots. I think that his family sent him or that he went “home,” meaning a Southern town or city, possibly the place where his mother and father began and where there are still relatives. Black people know what the term means. And the writer revealed from a relative that King had developed a certain talent as a boy and excelled at as a young man. He knew how to catch fish with his hands.

He may not be as fast as he used to be, which is probably why he spears carp. Whether he was taught or came upon this talent by himself is unknown. But it seems to me that Rodney King is less a street individual than a country boy.

I think about that special talent at times when I think about Rodney King, who is not just a statistic, a victim, a celebrity or a problem. And I wish him continued happiness, sobriety, health and peace.

~ by blksista on September 8, 2010.

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