Jennifer Hough, the woman who accused Nicki Minaj's husband of rape, spoke out in her first televised interview about a lawsuit she filed against the couple accusing them of harassment and intimidation.
Hough said she has lived in fear over the last year and alleged that Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, used their associates to try and force Hough to recant her statement about the September 1994 rape.
Petty accepted a plea deal in the case and was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in New York. He served nearly four years in state prison before he was released.
Hough said Wednesday on the daytime talk show "The Real" that she was speaking out because she was "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," she said. "And I don't want to be afraid anymore, so the only way not to be afraid is to continue to speak up."
Hough said in the lawsuit that the couple began contacting her and members of her family following Petty's arrest for failing to register as a sex offender in California after he moved to the state from New York. Petty pleaded guilty in that case earlier this month and will be sentenced in January.
The couple's associates offered Hough and her family money, contacted Hough's daughter, and tried to sway Hough into signing a prepared document that said the rape never happened, according to the lawsuit.
Hough said on "The Real" that Minaj personally called her in March 2020 and offered to fly her family to Los Angeles if Hough recanted her statement.
"I turned it down and I told her woman to woman, this really happened," she said. "And I hadn't spoken to her since."
Hough alleged in the suit that because she repeatedly turned down the offers, she began to receive threats, a claim she repeated during Wednesday's interview.
"The last incident was when one of their associates put $20,000 on my lap and I still kept saying no. The last message I received was that I should have taken the money because they're gonna use that money to put on my head," she said.
Tyrone Blackburn, Hough's attorney, said on "The Real" that his client was harassed for a period of seven months last year. According to Hough, she had to change her phone number and relocate multiple times.
She said she moved away from her children because she didn't want them to be affected by the threats.
"I've just been kind of in fear for the last year," Hough said in the interview.
Representatives for Minaj did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday. An attorney for Petty declined to comment on the interview. Minaj previously commented about her husband's past, writing in an Instagram post that he and the victim were "in a relationship" - a claim Hough denies in the lawsuit. The rapper also told fans on her Queen Radio show that her husband was wrongfully accused of rape.
Hough also tearfully recounted the Sept. 16, 1994, assault during Wednesday's interview. Hough, who was 16 at the time, said she ran into Petty, also 16, while waiting for a bus to take her to school.
"He asked me where I was going. I said I was going to school. I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to school, too. I might have said something like, 'yeah, right.' And I turned away from him," she said. "Before you know it, he was grabbing ahold of my jacket. I felt something in my back, so I just assumed it was ... I assumed it was a gun and I started walking."
"And I'm pleading with him the whole way. I'm trying to understand what does he want," she continued.
Hough said Petty walked her to a house, pushed the front door open and took her to an upstairs bedroom. She said she "pleaded with him" and kept asking him what he wanted.
"And then he said I knew what he wanted. He pushed me down on the bed. We wrestled for my clothes. ... I don't know why it didn't dawn on me to really fight. I just held on to my pants, and he'd hold my arms down. He squeezed the sides of my stomach so hard and so I let go," she recalled. "And as soon as I let go, he'd grab my pants. It was like a tug-of-war. And after a while I just got tired."
After the assault, Petty stood in the mirror, beat his chest and said "I'm the man, I'm the man," according to Hough.
She was able to escape from the house and run to her high school where she told a security guard. The police were contacted and Petty was arrested. Hough said she was intimidated and harassed because she got the police involved. Fearing retaliation, Hough's family made her go to the courthouse on the day of Petty's hearing so she could drop the charges.
The request was denied and shortly afterward Hough said she moved out of New York.
Hough's interview led to some strong reactions on social media.
Hough said she filed the lawsuit to let Minaj and Petty know that "they were wrong."
"You can't do this to people. You shouldn't do this to people," she said. "What they did to me and my family wasn't OK. It wasn't right. And it doesn't matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter what your status is, you can't intimidate people to make things go better for you."