HomeCelebrityAshanti and Nelly Reveal Pregnancy and Engagement in Joyous Announcement

Ashanti and Nelly Reveal Pregnancy and Engagement in Joyous Announcement


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It’s a double celebration for reunited celebrity couple Ashanti and Nelly. The Grammy-winning singers have announced they are not only expecting their first child together but also officially engaged to be married.

Ashanti, 43, and Nelly, 49, shared the exciting dual news exclusively with Essence magazine on Wednesday. For the couple, who rekindled their iconic early 2000s romance last year after a decade apart, it marks the start of an extraordinarily blessed new chapter in their lives and careers.

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

The “Foolish” singer couldn’t resist having a bit of fun revealing her pregnancy to fans as well. Ashanti posted a video on Instagram showing her interacting with her mother and manager Tina Douglas as she prepared for a performance. When Douglas asks how much time she’ll need, Ashanti cheekily replies “I’m gonna need about nine months” before the scene cuts to a sponsored ad for home fertility tests.

Nelly, whose given name is Cornell Haynes Jr., echoed his fiancée’s sentiments about their joyous family news in his own statement to CNN.

“As you know, I am so close with my mom and dad, so I am looking forward to being an amazing parent to our child, like they were to me and my sister,” said the “Hot in Herre” rapper. “Ashanti and I are so excited to welcome and love on Baby Haynes.”

For fans of the early 2000s music scene, Ashanti and Nelly’s reunion and subsequent life events represent a full-circle moment two decades in the making. The pair first began dating in 2003 after starring together in Nelly’s lips “Dilemma” music video, which featured undeniable chemistry between the two.

Their high-profile relationship would go on to captivate audiences for the next decade as the young stars navigated their blossoming careers and celebrity against the backdrop of being a powerful couple in the entertainment industry.

However, by 2013 the relationship had fizzled out and the two went their separate ways, with Nelly moving on to relationships with celebrities like Shantel Jackson while Ashanti remained relatively private about her dating life.

That made it all the more surprising last September when Ashanti appeared to hint that she and Nelly had rekindled their romance. Arriving at the MTV Video Music Awards carrying a clutch with a photo of the couple from 2003, she played coy when asked if they were back together, smiling and responding “I mean…yeah.”

A few weeks later, Nelly confirmed their reunion was indeed official while appearing on Rasheeda’s reality show.

“We cool again,” the rapper said last October. “I think it surprised both of us. It wasn’t anything that was planned.”

In the time since going public again as a couple, Ashanti and Nelly have embraced showing off their renewed courtship for fans on social media. They’ve appeared refreshingly comfortable in simply enjoying their relationship’s second act after years apart pursuing other paths.

That mature perspective likely aided in the soon-to-be new parents’ decision to start a family together at this stage in their lives and careers. While first-time parenthood comes with its own unique challenges at any age, Ashanti and Nelly have the benefit of reuniting as more established artists and public figures compared to their young, meteoric rise in the early 2000s.

“We were just a couple of kids back then, even though we didn’t feel that way at the time,” reflected Ashanti in her statement to Essence. “Looking back now, everything does feel like it’s coming full circle in some ways with Nelly and I. But we’re both operating from such a different mentality and better-grounded space as parents-to-be.”

Their Maturity as a couple shone through in Nelly’s own comments about impending fatherhood. The St. Louis native, who remains exceptionally close with his own parents, expressed a desire to provide a similar upbringing for his child based on the familial guidance he received growing up.

“Being that close to my parents is one of the main reasons I feel so ready to take this step into the next chapter of life,” said the 49-year-old Nelly. “My folks impacted every aspect of who I am as a person, and I can only hope to impart that same type of values, love, and leadership to my own kid.”

Of course, before the baby makes three, Ashanti and Nelly have another major milestone on the horizon first – their wedding. While they did not divulge any specific details, one can only imagine their nuptials will be a lavish, star-studded affair befitting of two early aughts pop icons.

Whenever they do decide to tie the knot, legions of fans and admirers will surely be sharing in their overflowing excitement. After weathering respective career peaks and valleys across two decades, seeing Ashanti and Nelly overcome their romantic obstacles to build this new life together has resonated as an uplifting full-circle moment of perseverance.  

“We’re just feeling so incredibly blessed right now like all the turbulence was worth it to get to this amazing place together as a couple about to become parents,” Nelly told Essence. “All I know for sure is that our kid is going to be born into an ocean of love with Ashanti by my side. That feels like the perfect beginning to our own little family’s story.”

Ashanti echoed that sentiment, embracing the poetic synergy of their reunited romance blossoming into a new chapter just as spring emerges.

“This truly is a renaissance period for us – new life, new beginnings, and an eternal bond solidified once more between me and my soulmate. As we welcome new additions to our village, all I can feel is immense gratitude to God and the universe for this amazing opportunity to become a mother alongside my lifelong partner.”

Whether showcasing undeniable charisma while trading verses in the “Dilemma” video or now glowingly professing their readiness to become parents as a reunited couple in their 40s, Ashanti and Nelly have always exuded the sort of enduring chemistry few celebrity pairings possess.  For their millions of fans and supporters, that magical connectivity has fueled an eternal bond between music’s ultimate ride-or-die couple through all of life’s ebbs and flows over the past 20 years.

Now, that deep connection is set to usher in a bold new era of “Happily Ever After” for the beloved pair. And for Ashanti, Nelly, and their incoming bundle of joy, that emotionally earned family storybook ending might just be the sweetest soulful symphony of all.


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