Gayle King was never "scared" during her interview with R. Kelly and was more concerned he would walk out than he'd lash out at her.
The 64-year-old reporter won praise for staying calm and composed as the 52-year-old singer - who was recently charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse - grew agitated and, at one point, leapt out of his chair and stood over her as he ranted, as she questioned him about the allegations against him but she admitted she was more worried he'd cut short their sit-down chat than he would lash out at her.
She told The Oprah Magazine: "I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me.
"After, Oprah [Winfrey] 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.
"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."
However, Gayle admitted she could have been struck by "accident" because her guest had been overcome with anger.
She said: "I just knew that I was never in danger. 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."
In the CBS News interview, Kelly became emotional when he accused his critics of "trying to kill" him, and insisted allegations against him are "not true".
He said: "Quit playing, I didn't do this stuff.
"This is not me. I'm fighting for my f*****g life! Y'all killing me with this s**t! I've given you 30 years of my f****g career! 30 years of my career! Y'all trying to kill me! You're killing me man!
"This is not about music! I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can't do it! Y'all just don't want to believe the truth. Y'all don't want to believe it. This is not true! It doesn't even make sense! Why would I hold all these women! Their mothers and fathers told me, 'We're going to destroy your career.'"