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Nelly And Ashanti Relationship Timeline

The couple rekindled their relationship this year after a 10-year split.

In a world of breakups, Nelly and Ashanti prove that love gets sweeter the second time around. After falling in love at the height of their careers, these two maintained a tight lid on the exact nature of their connection while appearing to be head over heels in love during appearances and performances on stage.

As time passed, their relationship appeared to have hit a bump, sparking breakup rumors. Still, the "Dilemma" rapper and the "Happy" singer didn't put a label on the extent of their relationship until 2015, when Ashanti confirmed they were no longer together.

But that was then, and this is now, and fast forward, their spark has been rekindled and they are married and expecting a new baby. Here is a look at this power couple's relationship over the past 20 years.

  • 2003: First Flirts

    Nelly and Ashanti laid eyes on each other for the first time in 2003 while at a press conference for the Grammy Award nominations. During an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music" special, the "Baby" singer said she remembered he asked for her autograph.

  • 2005: Courting Around

    Two years after they met the singer revealed to PEOPLE that she and Nelly had "gone out." The "Country Grammar" rapper was also spotted at her 25th surprise birthday party in New York City circa 2005.

  • 2006: Dynamic Duo

    Nelly is a brotha who likes to show support to his bae. They walked the red carpet together during the "John Tucker Must Die" premiere in 2006, which Ashanti starred in.

  • 2007: Picture Perfect

    The artists were seen in the audience at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007. That same year, they released their first collab, "Switch."

  • 2008: Sharing The Spotlight

    After performing the "National Anthem" at a Lakers game against the Celtics in 2008, Ashanti opened up about her relationship with the STL rapper. “Me and Nelly, we’re good friends. We kick it – hang out a lot,” she told PEOPLE. “The industry is very hard, so it’s good to have fun and lighten it up.”

    When asked if they were planning to walk down the aisle, she said, “Oh no. Noooo! No engagement."

    “But definitely in the future. Ha! Ha!” she said with a laugh.

    That same year, the artists made music magic again for their collab, "Body On Me." They hit the stage together on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" alongside Akon to perform the single.

  • 2009: Date Night

    In 2009, they attended the "The Wiz" Encores! Summer Stars Series Opening Night Party in the Big Apple.

  • 2010: Candid Conversations

    Although they had been linked since 2003 and had even rocked the mic together, Nelly insisted he and the "Foolish" hitmaker were " just friends."

    “What people don’t understand is that I think you really have to be friends first, that’s the thing. It’s not about how long it takes, there’s no time limit on this,” the rapper said during an interview with RapUpTV. “I’m not a person who wants to be married more than once, I’m not a person who wants to be in a relationship more than once. You’re dying if you leave me.”

    When asked if wedding bells were in their future, Nelly clarified where his priorities stood.

    “Right now we’re friends, I’m married to my work,” he explained. “I’m married to getting things in a certain situation right now and she’s married to getting things in a certain situation right now.”

  • 2013: Break Up Rumors

    In 2013, break-up speculation began to surface. During an appearance on HOT 97, Ashanti remained tight-lipped on their relationship, saying they were "good friends."

  • 2015: Setting The Record Straight

    After ongoing rumors that the couple had gone their separate ways, Ashanti revealed on The Meredith Viera Show that she and the "Air Force Ones" rapper had broken up while summing up that trust was a factor.

    “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities, it allows them to act out of character,” Ashanti explained. “I’ve been betrayed. You just have to grow. You have to grow up. You have to accept responsibility for the things that you do. I’m not a big fan of people being cowards.”

  • 2021: In Good Company

    Six years after Ashanti confirmed they had broken up, the exes crossed paths in 2021 at a Verzuz battle between Fat Joe and Ja Rule. Nelly also surprised the crowd with a surprise performance.

    Later in the show, cameras captured him walking across the stage to greet Ashanti, which made people wonder if their greeting had a bigger meaning.

    During an interview with Big Tigger for his "Culture Conversation" series, he shot down that rhetoric, saying, “it wasn’t like that.”

    “I said what up to everybody,” he explained. “I didn’t want no uncomfortable feelings. Nothing like that. I just said what up.”

  • 2022: Onstage Homecoming

    The pair reunited onstage in December 2022 at the "Under the Mistletoe" concert hosted by Power 98.3 and 96.1 for a performance of their song "Body On Me."

    Later that month, during an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live", Ashanti told host Andy Cohen that she was shocked by the crowd's reaction to their onstage reunion.

    "My reaction was wow. It was a lot of comments and a lot of people wanting that," she said. "What I will say is we're in a better place. You know, cause before, it was like [mimics fighting]. But we're cool now. Yeah, we have some conversations, you know. So it's cool."

    When Cohen asked if reconciliation was an option, the singer blushed while saying, "I mean, I don't … "

  • April 2023: More Than Meets The Eye

    Earlier this year, antennas shot up after they were spotted at the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight in Las Vegas, as reported by PEOPLE. Cameras captured Nelly leading Ashanti by the hand through a crowd of eventgoers to their seats inside the venue.

  • May 2023: Picking Up The Pieces

    After their appearance in Las Vegas, a source confirmed to PEOPLE the state of their reunion. “[They] have been touring and performing together and just hanging," the insider said. 

  • June 2023:

    Over the summer, the couple stepped out to attend Quality Control CEO Pierre "P" Thomas's birthday party in Atlanta, GA, as reported by Vibe. As we can see, these two were in harmony while rocking black and silver.

  • August 2023: Fine-Tuning Their Romance

    Although they had not confirmed if they were back together, the Grammy winners took their sweet shenanigans to Instagram while singing lyrics to Usher's 1998 hit song "Nice & Slow."

  • September 2023: Nelly Confirms They Are Back As One

    During an interview with Love and Hip Hop stars on September 11, with Rasheeda and Kirk Frost, the St. Louis-bred rapper confirmed he and the R&B singer have rekindled their relationship after a 10-year separation.

    When asked by Rasheeda the relationship status of both artists, Nelly blushed, then let his emotions flow. “Yea, yea, we cool again,” he shared.

    “I think it surprised both of us though. It wasn’t anything that I don’t think was planned.”

    He continued, “I think we both were pretty much doing what we do, but sometimes, being separate, you understand one another more.”

  • September 2023: Ashanti Claims Her Beau

    A day after Nelly confirmed they were back together, Ashanti followed suit. While talking to reporters at the MTV Video Music Awards, the "Rain On Me" singer confirmed that she and Nelly were back together.

    Ashanti told PEOPLE, "We're in a great space, everything is positive, we're having a lot of fun."

    She also carried a purse decorated with a throwback snap of them from the awards show 20 years ago.

    The singer took to Instagram to explain the significance of the cute photo. "So…in this pic, we exchanged numbers at the VMA's in 2003…20 years ago lol…" she wrote on her IG Story while showing off the bag.

  • October 2023: Ashanti's Throws Nelly A Birthday Bash

    To celebrate her man's upcoming 49th birthday, Ashanti threw him an epic party on Halloween, dubbed "G.I. Moe." During the celebration, she surprised him with a custom candy blue 1962 Impala convertible with a Corvette L motor. The vehicle is also outfitted with Nelly's record company logo, Derrty, as reported by USA Today.

    Earlier that month, Nelly showered his lady with love in a touching tribute on Instagram. for her 43rd trip around the sun.

    "One time for the birthday girl, "he began the caption of the post.

    "Such a beautiful, an incredible person inside and out and one of the hardest working women. I know.. @ashanti Enjoy your day Ma you look awesome!!!! Happy Birthday Love ya!!!!"

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