Ashanti and Nelly confirm they're engaged – and expecting their first child

By John Mercury April 19, 2024

US music stars Ashanti and Nelly have revealed they are engaged and are expecting their first child together.

The award-winning performers – who first dated over 20 years ago – rekindled their romance last year.

They first met at the Grammy Awards in 2003, and dated for a decade before going their separate ways.

Ashanti and Nelly at the BET Awards in LA in 2011. Pic: AP
The stars pictured in 2011, during their first relationship. Pic: AP

Ashanti shared a video on Instagram, saying she’ll need “about nine months” to prepare for her next big gig.

Nelly also shared the post, which was captioned, “Baby baby baby baby”, on his official Instagram feed.

In the video, Ashanti’s mother, Tina Douglas, asks her how much time Ashanti will need to get ready for the show.

We see the Foolish singer, who is wearing a glittery outfit trimmed with fur, grabbing a pregnancy test and disappearing backstage, before replying: “I’m going to need about nine months.”

The 43-year-old later confirmed she is engaged to the Hot In Herre and Ride Wit Me rapper Nelly, 49, whose real name is Cornell Haynes Jr.

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‘Sharing this with my family, fiance’

“This new year of my life is such a blessing full of love, hope, and anticipation,” Ashanti told Essence magazine.

“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.”

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The baby will be Ashanti’s first child and Nelly’s fifth.

Nelly has a daughter and a son with his former partner, Channetta Valentine, and he adopted the two children of his late sister, Jackie Donahue, after she died of leukaemia in 2005.

The rapper’s family starred in the reality TV show Nellyville in 2014 alongside his then girlfriend Shantel Jackson.


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