Ashanti & Nelly’s Relationship Timeline: From the Beginning to Expecting Their 1st Baby Together

The famous on-again, off-again couple have had fans questioning their status for years. Find out all about Ashanti and Nelly's enigmatic love story, here!

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Ashanti and Nelly
Image Credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

  • Ashanti & Nelly are hip hop royalty
  • Ashanti’s biggest solo hit is 2002’s ‘Foolish,’ while Nelly has 2002’s “Hot in Herre’
  • The pair’s on-again, off-again romance has spanned 2 decades

Ashanti and Nelly have been through quite a few ups and downs over the years. However, they’re ready to take the next step in their romance and are going to be parents! Us Weekly reported in December 2023 that they are expecting their first child together.

Earlier this year, they put on an eyebrow-raising performance recently and fans took their on-stage grinding as more proof of a rekindled romance! During Nelly’s headline set at his “Hot In Herree” music festival in June, 2023. Ashanti came out and danced up on the rapper while performing their huge collab hit “Body On Me.” The sizzling chemistry between the pair, who broke up in 2013 after 10 years together, was more than enough to hint that Ashanti and Nelly are back on. To echo the sentiment, an insider told Entertainment Tonight that they are “happy” reunited, with a second source adding, “Nelly and Ashanti are really enjoying their time together.”

Ashanti and Nelly are the epitome of on-again/off-again couples. (Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock)

As fans know, the pair were the epitome of a power couple in the 2000s. They began dating in 2003, released a few hit songs together, flirted with an engagement and were reportedly together on and off for a decade. However, the fairytale ended in 2013, and things appeared a bit rocky between the exes.

With their recent risque concert, it appeared time heals all wounds. Let’s take a deeper dive to find out more about their love story, below.


Ashanti and Nelly began their romance after first meeting at a Grammy’s press conference in 2003 at the height of their careers. Ashanti was riding high on the waves of success, thanks to her breakout solo single, “Foolish.” The track dominated the charts, spending an impressive 10 weeks at the coveted No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. She kept the momentum going with noteworthy collaborations such as “What’s Luv?” with Fat Joe and “Always on Time” with Ja Rule. Meanwhile, Nelly was making his own mark in the rap scene with his debut single, “Country Grammar” and the album of the same name, which went on to sell over 10 million copies.

Ashanti recalled her initial experience with Nelly on a 2011 episode of Behind the Music. “The first time I met Nelly he asked me for my autograph, but I think he was being sarcastic and I remember writing it down on the program,” Ashanti said. “For the record, it took him a long time to get my number.”

The Romance

The adorable couple were quite coy about their relationship and instead of announcing it, they decided to make music together! Both of their hit collabs “Body On Me” and “Switch” talked about the ins and outs of a romance, making fans go even more wild about the couple’s possible love connection.

Nelly and Ashanti share a laugh during a night out. (Sara Jaye/Shutterstock)

Soon there was no denying the connection, and Ashanti and Nelly were out and about looking like a certified couple, hitting up red carpets and music awards shows. Still, they played it coy and more confusion was ahead for fans. In 2005, Ashanti confirmed to People that she “went out” with Nelly, but said they were “not boyfriend and girlfriend”. And then three years later, she teased to the outlet that an engagement was “definitely in the future.” Make it make sense.

Two years after Ashanti’s engagement tease, Nelly didn’t help clear anything up when he told Rap-Up TV why he wasn’t going to propose anytime soon. “I don’t know, right now we’re just friends,” he replied when asked about tying the knot. “I’m married to my work. I’m married to getting things into a certain situation. She’s married to getting things into a certain situation right now.” He added, “We enjoy each other’s company. We love it.”

The Split

Perhaps the wedding hesitation was a sign of things to come between the couple. In a surprising turn of events in 2013, Nelly and Ashanti quietly ended their relationship after an impressive decade together. Their split, shrouded in secrecy, left the world with little knowledge of the reasons behind their decision to part ways.

A year after their breakup, Ashanti shed some light on the situation during a candid interview on HOT 97. In an effort to dispel the speculation surrounding their split, she assured fans that there was no animosity or “beef” between her and Nelly.

Two years later, Ashanti opened up more about the split. While appearing on The Meredith Vieira Show in 2015, Ashanti said trust issues may have played a part in the demise. “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities it allows them to act out of character,” she said. “I’ve been betrayed.”

Ashanti and Nelly are young in love. (Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock)

Rumors Of A Reunion

Last December, a video surfaced of Ashanti and Nelly performing together at a concert. In it, the pair were seen getting quite cozy on stage while singing their 2008 hit collab “Body on Me.” During a stop on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Ashanti was grilled about her status with Nelly. “What I will say is, we’re in a better place,” she said. “Because before it was like [*punching*]. We have some conversations [now]. So it was cool.”

Where Do They Stand Now?

Two months later, fans couldn’t help themselves speculate a bit more when Ashanti was snapped rocking a Cuban link chain around her neck, much like the one Nelly wears, including at the 2023 Grammy Awards. The photo clearly added to the “will they or wont they” vibe that is keeping their stans on edge. In an interview with ET at the 2023 Grammys, Nelly also hinted at the power of time in mending relationships. “Time does wonders for a lot of different things,” he cryptically revealed, leaving fans to wonder if it was a subtle nod to his own rekindled connection with Ashanti.

Despite their past, the couple are ready to step up as a united front now that they’re going to be parents.