Ashanti and Nelly confirm they're engaged and having a baby


Nelly, 49, and Ashanti, 43, dated on and off for about 11 years before breaking up in 2013. Photo: TNS

It's true! Ashanti is expecting her first child with longtime love Nelly.

The Baby singer and the Hot In Herre rapper confirmed months of pregnancy rumors Wednesday after much speculation about their growing family. They also confirmed that they're engaged.

"This new year of my life is such a blessing full of love, hope, and anticipation," Ashanti told Essence. "Motherhood is something that I have looked forward to, and sharing this with my family, fiance, and loyal fans, who have been so supportive of my career, is an amazing experience."

The R&B star also announced the news in surprise ad for Proov, a diagnostics company she co-owns with Nelly that offers medical-grade at-home tests for couples trying to conceive. The ad, which the singer posted on Instagram in a collaboration with her fiancé and Essence, features the Always On Time singer getting ready for a show and, when asked how much more time she needs, she quips "about nine months."

Representatives for the couple did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times' requests for additional comment.

While this baby will be Ashanti's first child, it will be Nelly's fifth. The St. Louis rapper shares daughter Chanelle, 30, and son Cornell, 25, with his ex Channetta Valentine. He also adopted the two children of his late sister Jackie Donahue after she died of leukemia in 2005.

Nelly, 49, and Ashanti, 43, dated on and off for about 11 years before breaking up in 2013. After sparking romance rumours through much of last year, Nelly directly addressed speculation about the couple's rekindled relationship in a September interview with Rasheeda of Love And Hip Hop on her Boss Moves TV show.

"Sometimes being separate you understand one another more," he said, confirming the relationship.

Ashanti — who said in 2022 that she was ready to "slow down" and have kids — acknowledged their reunion on Instagram stories during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards that month. There, she showed off a clutch on the pink carpet that was emblazoned with a photo of her and the hip-hop star.

"So... in this pic, we exchanged numbers at the VMAs in 2003... 20 years ago lol..." she wrote, sharing a close-up of their faces on her accessory.

The couple sparked pregnancy rumours back in December when they attended an event together in the Ride Wit Me rapper's native St. Louis. At the function, Ashanti and Nelly both playfully caressed the Rock Wit U (Awww Baby) singer's stomach, as seen in a TMZ video. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune New Service

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