Exclusive: Ashanti And Nelly Are Expecting — And Engaged!

Ashanti and Nelly are having a baby!

The singer shared the good news exclusively with ESSENCE and is overjoyed about not only having her first child but also being engaged to her longtime love.

“This new year of my life is such a blessing full of love, hope, and anticipation,” she says. “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 couple also tell ESSENCE exclusively that they’re co-owners of Proov, along with founder Amy Beckley, PhD. It’s a diagnostics company that offers at-home tests that help individuals looking to conceive make it happen faster and in a way that doesn’t leave a large dent in their pockets. The medical grade tests help to bring to light the issues that can keep people from being able to conceive. Proov was featured in Ashanti’s pregnancy announcement video, which was co-shared by ESSENCE on Instagram.

All of this is part of a new chapter in the lives of the stars. As noted, this will be Ashanti’s first child and Nelly’s fifth. He has a daughter, Chanelle, a son, Cornell Jr., and adopted Shawn and Sydney Thomas, the two children of his sister, Jackie Donahue, after she died of leukemia in 2005.

The couple reunited in 2023, with the “Country Grammar” rapper confirming the news after the two were seen attending events together and performing in a flirtatious way and following Ashanti carrying a clutch bag with her and Nelly’s face on it last year’s Grammy Awards.

“Yeah, we cool again,” he said during an interview last fall with Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta stars Kirk and Rasheeda Frost. “I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that …[was] planned. I think we’re both pretty much doing what we do.”

The couple rekindled a romance that began in 2003, during the early stages of their music careers. He says things are much lighter now that they’re older and doing love differently.

“It’s no pressure,” he said during that same interview. “You know, before I felt like both of us are doing what we’re doing career wise. And when you got so many people in the middle of it, it can be tough.”

Prior to reuniting, the two started communicating again after the Verzuz event between Fat Joe and Ja Rule. During that star-studded happening, Nelly notably went in for a hug, which Ashanti said after the fact was a surprise.

“I had no idea he was going to be there. I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since we broke up. I don’t know if it’s six years or something, so I didn’t know what to expect,” she said during an Instagram Live in 2021 with friends and collaborators Ja Rule and Fat Joe. “That’s the crazy thing, wasn’t nothing said. I seen him walking, his eyes got big, I didn’t know what to expect. It was positive.”

When Ja implied that Nelly was single and available to mingle, Ashanti initially sidestepped talks of a reconciliation.

“Listen, I’m a very positive person. I’m very private. I wish him the best and all of that good stuff,” she said at the time. “It’s a lot of stuff that happened, a lot of stuff unresolved. A lot of gray area. A lot of confusion. That’s all I’m saying! A lot of stuff happened. They hate to hear that part, right? They want to hear, ‘What’s that old thing?’ They don’t want to hear about all the stuff that happened in between. Don’t worry, I ain’t gon’ tell you.”

But behind the scenes, the pair did the work to move forward from the past and fall in love again. And now, they’re preparing to start a family together and be husband and wife, the type of union that, in the past Nelly, didn’t seem so sure about. But clearly, Ashanti has helped him have a change of heart, and we love to see it.

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