Nelly & Ashanti: Relationship Timeline

BYStephanie Harper4.2K Views
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Angel Ball 2012
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Ashanti and Nelly attends the Angel Ball 2012 at Cipriani Wall Street on October 22, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)
Here's a breakdown of Nelly and Ashanti's relationship from when they met in 2003 until now, two decades later.

Photos of Nelly and Ashanti holding hands at a boxing match days ago have been circulating. Fans are curious to know if they are currently involved — again. Interestingly, their relationship goes way back, rewinding to the early 2000s. There’s a lot to think about with these two regarding how they met, how long they dated, and why they broke up. Here’s a detailed breakdown of Nelly and Ashanti's relationship, including where they stand today.

Everything Started In 2003

(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Nelly and Ashanti (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

Nelly and Ashanti were each individually doing their own things in the music industry before crossing paths with each other. In fact, they were both doing so well that they separately raked in multiple Billboard Music Awards in 2002. The very next year, they were officially introduced to each other at the Grammy Awards. Nelly was seemingly starstruck by Ashanti because he took that opportunity to ask for her autograph. Not long after, rumors about their romantic relationship started swirling. At the time, though, they both refrained from confirming whether or not they were truly together. Although fans were under the impression they were an item, they did everything in their power to maintain as much secrecy as possible.

Engagement Rumors & Wedding Plans

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 13: Ashanti and Nelly attends Ashanti's Birthday Party at Caf? Durpree on October 13, 2007 in Atlanta, GA (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

In 2008, People asked Ashanti about her relationship with Nelly. She responded simply and light-heartedly by saying, “Me and Nelly, we’re good friends. We kick it – hang out a lot. The industry is very hard, so it’s good to have fun and lighten it up." She added an even more casual spin to the topic by laughing it off when they asked her about engagement rumors.

A couple of years later, in 2010, Nelly reportedly spoke with RapUpTV about wanting to take his time before getting married. He described Ashanti as being a good friend while they built their successful careers. He also noted that he never wanted to go through the process of getting married more than once.

Relationship Ends

Singer/actress Ashanti and Nelly arrive at The World Premiere of Resident Evil: Extinction at THe Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on September 20, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

After a little more than a decade in each other’s lives, Nelly and Ashanti's relationship fizzled out. Both stars stayed tightlipped about the reason for their breakup at the time. Ashanti finally opened up about the split in an episode of Sway in the Morning on Hot 97. She claimed there was “no beef" between her and her famous ex.

It was easier for Ashanti to be a little more candid about her failed relationship years later, in 2015. During an episode of The Meredith Vieira Show, she became more open with some brutal honesty. She said, “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities, it allows them to act out of character. I’ve been betrayed. I’m not a big fan of people being cowards. I’m in a different place now.” It was suggested she was targeting Nelly.

Singer Confirms Nelly's Betrayal

All of the drama between Ashanti and Nelly seemingly came to a head in 2018 while she was performing on stage at a concert. She grabbed her mic between songs to say, “I’ve been betrayed before. Publicly at that." Someone in the audience yelled back, “F*** Nelly!" She pointed directly at her fan and said, “Word” in agreement.

Later, Ashanti appeared in a 2019 episode of Watch What Happens Next With Andy Cohen. Andy has been known to ask heavy-hitting questions that aren't always the smoothest or most comfortable for his visiting guests. When he brought up the topic of her failed relationship with Nelly, she made it abundantly clear that she hadn’t looked back on her decision to walk away with any regret.

Dating Again?

Now that we're all caught up to 2023, the viral videos of Nelly and Ashanti cozying up at a boxing match have everyone talking. To this day, Nelly hasn’t publicly spoken up about where things originally went wrong. If they are indeed pursuing reconciliation, there’s no doubt their mutual fans will root for them to make it work. On Twitter alone, people have been going out of their way to compare Nelly and Ashanti‘s relationship to that of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.

As a reminder, Jennifer and Ben are back together after spending 20 years apart. During those decades, they were each involved with other romantic partners. Somehow, they found their way back together and are now thriving as a couple. Odds are, Nelly and Ashanti can follow the same pattern of maintaining their privacy if they do officially get back together.


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