She was young, unsupervised and overwhelmed by the rush of having it all. Music video roles. Concert tours. A vacation home in Florida. The passenger seat on a ride to fame.
Lisa Van Allen lived for the moment, engaging in random sex at the whim of the man she adored, R&B sensation R. Kelly. It didn't matter that he was married or that she was 17 when they met and he was older than 30.
Wildly in love, Van Allen says she simply lost control.
The now 27-year-old became a star witness in Kelly's child pornography trial revealing sex secrets that some women would rather forget. Her testimony exposed her transgressions.
Kelly, who faced 14 counts of child pornography and 15 years in jail, was acquitted Friday of all charges.
Van Allen was the only prosecution witness to claim first-hand knowledge of a sexual relationship between Kelly, 41, and the underage girl he was accused of videotaping. The alleged victim didn't testify.
Van Allen testified she was asked to engage in videotaped threesomes with the singer and the underaged girl. Van Allen identified the teen on the tape at the trial.
The defense characterized her as a liar and a gold-digger looking for a payday.
"It was very hard for me to do it," said Van Allen from the living room of the Alpharetta home she shares with her fiancé, Yul Brown. "But I wanted to bring closure to that chapter in my life. I told the truth. I have no regrets."
It took a jury seven hours to exonerate Kelly. The chart-topping artist known for revolutionizing R & B thanked Jesus and his lawyers for the favorable verdict.
Van Allen, who is almost five-months pregnant with her second child, must now live with what became public at trial. The high profile case, which took six years, was covered by national media and was the fodder of gossip on radio stations and Internet chat rooms.
"It bothered me when anyone would say anything that is untrue about me," Van Allen said. At the trial, Van Allen testified that Kelly told her the girl was 16. Prosecutors believe she may have been as young as 13 at the time Kelly was accused of having sex with the girl.
They cannot pinpoint her age because they're not exactly sure when any of the videos were made.
Defense attorneys accused Van Allen of trying to extort $300,000 from Kelly in exchange for her silence. Van Allen denied that in court. She did, however, testify that she stole a $20,000 diamond Rolex watch from Kelly when he visited her in Atlanta and on another occasion took an old sex tape of herself from Kelly's duffel bag.
She testified she took the tape while she was still involved with Kelly because she was ashamed of it. She said the tape was of her, Kelly and the underagegirl at the center of the trial having group sex.
She said Kelly asked her to try threesomes because he wanted their sex life to be adventurous. Wearing a strapless maternity dress, Van Allen began to sob as she recalled the experience.
"I cried about it all the time," she said. Van Allen testified that on one videotape of a menage a trois of with Van Allen, the underage girl and Kelly, Van Allen was scolded by the singer for ruining the tape with her tears.
"He said he couldn't watch it with me crying," she said. It was not the same tape that Kelly was indicted for in 2002.
Van Allen told the court that in 2007, Kelly told his representatives to give her $20,000 for returning a sex tape she had of Kelly, herself and the alleged victim.
She said she never asked for the $20,000 – it was given to her for the tape. The defense said it was payment for the tape and alleged that Van Allen was an opportunist who wanted more money from Kelly.
"Lisa Van Allen is an admitted thief and liar who wouldn't know the truth if she tripped over it," said Derrel McDavid, Kelly's business manager, in a statement he released through the singer's spokesman Allan Mayer. "If there was any crime committed here, it was her attempt to extort money from R. Kelly."
Van Allen grew up in Hartford, Conn., and was a foster child until she was adopted at age 5. She moved to Atlanta at 16 with her mother, attended Morrow High School and took a job at Southlake Mall selling jeans.
In 1997, when Van Allen was 17, an associate who wanted to be a singer invited her to go to an R. Kelly video shoot to be an extra for "Home Alone." Van Allen said Kelly spotted her in the crowd and invited her back to his on-set trailer where they talked and had sex for the first time.
"I couldn't believe out of all of the grown women there, R. Kelly wanted me, little me," she said. "I was flattered."
Van Allen said they exchanged phone numbers. She later flew to Chicago to visit him. She said they eventually fell in love and she quit her job at the mall to move to Chicago in 1998. She said she traveled with him to nightclubs and concerts where she was plucked from the audience to feign sex with Kelly on a bed. She also appeared in his video, "I Wish," braiding his hair.
But it was the trip to his vacation home in Florida that made her think about her life. She said she grew tired of living in his world and wanted a stable relationship and family of her own.
"I grew up," she said. "I got tired of being his little toy."
Van Allen went back to live with her mother temporarily and then returned to Atlanta where she later started a new relationship and had a child.
That relationship didn't work out either.
In 2006, Van Allen met Brown at a sports bar in Riverdale. They were engaged six months later and decided to start a family. The couple said they postponed their June wedding so she could testify.
Van Allen said he was aware of her past when he proposed.
"I never felt like I had to forgive her for anything," Brown said. "I have done threesomes in my life. We have all been 17. If I had to forgive her for what she did, she would have to forgive me."
Brown, at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, is an ex con who served time in a federal prison for a car-theft ring.
On April 20, 2001, Brown was sentenced to 37 months in prison on a forged and counterfeit security charge.
Last February there were more charges. Brown was arrested with marijuana, prescription drugs not in their proper container and a loaded AK-47. He faced a total of 21 years, but on April 2 was sentenced in Fulton County court to one year probation.
Defense attorneys in the R. Kelly case suggested Brown was given a deal in exchange for Van Allen's cooperation with Cook County prosecutors.
Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Robert Wolf appeared as a prosecution witness to rebut the defense saying he recommended jail time in the case, but a judge gave Brown probation.
Van Allen said she is now focusing on her future. The baby is on the way. Her wedding plans with Brown. They have not scheduled a new date. If her children ever hear about what happened during her relationship with Kelly, Van Allen says she is prepared to tell them that she made mistakes a long time ago.
"You don't want anyone to misjudge you, to think that you are someone that you are not because of what you have done in your past," Van Allen said. "We have all made mistakes when we are young. You have to grow up and learn from your mistakes, which is what I've done."
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