Trigger Warning: The following article includes descriptions of sexual assault, and harassment.
Jennifer Hough, the woman who’s currently suing Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, for harassment and intimidation is finally speaking out about the lawsuit and subsequent distress she’s faced at the hands of the couple.
In her first-ever on-camera interview, Hough, along with her lawyer Tyrone Blackburn sat down with the ladies of The Real, specifically Garcelle Beauvais and Adrienne Houghton to address the lawsuit she filed back in August.
For context and as previously reported by The Root, that suit alleges that Minaj and Petty “attempted to convince Hough, who accused Petty of sexual assault in the 1990s, to recant her account by harassing and intimidating her.” Hough is currently seeking “unspecified damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
After being arrested back in March, Petty pleaded guilty earlier this month to knowingly failing to register as a sex offender after the couple moved to California in July 2019 prior to marrying in October of that year. Failing to register is considered a federal crime under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Per our reporting, the attempted bribes and harassment of Hough began after Petty’s March arrest.
During Wednesday’s interview on The Real, Hough began by recounting the horrific day in 1994 where she alleged Kenneth Petty raped her when they were both 16 and why, after so many years, she’s finally decided to speak up.
“After being silent for so long, why are you here speaking up today?,” Beauvais asked. To which Hough responded: “I’m tired of being afraid, I feel like the actions that were taken in regards to this whole situation have put me in a different type of fear at my age now. And it was wrong and I don’t want to be afraid anymore. So the only way not to be afraid is to continue to speak up.”
Hough then went on to describe the day of her alleged assault, explaining how she had seen Petty at the bus stop on Sept. 16, 1994 and had small conversation with him as she waited for the bus. Before she knew it, she said Petty grabbed her jacket and she felt something hard on her back that she assumed was a gun. While pleading with him the whole way, Hough says Petty led her to a house and up the stairs where they struggled for a while before he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
“After he got off on top of me, he stood in the mirror and beat his chest and said ‘I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man,’” Hough recalled.
After a failed attempt at lighting a roll of tissue on fire and hitting Petty with a bleach-shaped bottle, Hough was able to escape and run to school where the police were subsequently called and Petty was arrested. Hough later went to the hospital. Prior to that day and despite accusations from Minaj, Hough asserted that she and Petty had no relationship other than being passing acquaintances.
Addressing previous reports that she once tried to recant her accusations against Petty, Hough told Beauvais she only did so at the behest of a family member who was fearful of harassment by “the house,” presumably belonging to Petty and his family. On whether or not Hough believed justice was served following Petty’s prison sentence, Hough tearfully explained:
“I don’t think I thought about justice, per se, because I was still blaming myself. I thought it was something that I did or didn’t do. I don’t think I thought about if I got justice. I just knew he did what he did and went to jail. I had to leave my family, I had to leave my home and I had to move away. So, yeah, I haven’t really given [it] much thought.”
She later added, “[I’ve been] hiding within myself, living and surviving through insecurities, using them to protect myself...Thinking that if I don’t look a certain way I won’t attract a certain type of attention. I’ve been like that my whole life.”
The conversation then turned to the current lawsuit, where cohost Adrienne Houghton asked Hough’s lawyer to explain the ins and outs:
“Let’s just be clear: We would not be if but for the actions of Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty. The lawsuit deals with two things: first it deals with the crimes of 1994 when Kenneth Petty raped Jennifer and it also deals with the actions of 2020 when Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty decided to send their associates to Jennifer and harass her for a several months span to get her to recant her story from 1994 in order to get him off of the sex offender registry. So the lawsuit deals with harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
Hough then went on to explain how an associate of Minaj and Petty’s was sent to the state she was living in at the time and allegedly tried to bribe her, her family members, and her own daughter. She also revealed a conversation she had with the “Anaconda” rapper in which she alleged Minaj called her because she “got word” Hough was going to “help them” in the situation. Minaj allegedly offered to fly Hough and her daughter out to Los Angeles but when Hough refused, they never spoke again. Hough also says she received threats and threatening phone calls and text messages from the couple’s associate and has had to relocate several times.
“This associate that she is referring to is the same guy who recently posted an Instagram video threatening to kill or to do bodily harm to Jennifer. This post came literally six days after Kenneth Petty accepted a plea deal here in California for failing to register as a sex offender,” added Blackburn. “This is the same guy who showed up at Jennifer’s house with the $20,000 and put it in her lap with a pre-written recantment statement that he tried to force her to sign on behalf of Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty. This is the same associate that sent Jennifer a text message from Kenneth Petty with Nicki Minaj’s phone number informing her that this is the number that you’ll receive a call from and that number was the one that called her.”
Because of his March arrest, Petty now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, with a potential minimum sentence of five years of supervised release and a $100 court assessment fee, according to Newsweek. Petty’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2022.
To watch the full interview with Jennifer Hough, head on over to The Real Daytime’s official YouTube page.
If you or someone you know have experienced sexual assault or abuse, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE (4673) or RAINN.org offers 24-hour, confidential support.