Ashanti and Nelly Are Dating Again After 10 Years of Being Apart
Ashanti and Nelly were one of the most talked about couples in the 2000s. Although the pair remained coy about their relationship status for years, fans couldn’t get enough of the stars as they were pretty much inseparable. During their on-and-off 10-year relationship, they also made headlines for their various musical collaborations. Since they were such an iconic duo, fans were disappointed to hear they had split in 2013.
Now, a decade after going their separate ways, Ashanti and Nelly are back together. On Sept. 13, the rapper told “Boss Moves With Rasheeda” that he and Ashanti have reconciled and are giving their relationship another shot. “Yeah, we cool again,” he said. “I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that was planned.”
So, how did Ashanti and Nelly find their way back to each other? Ahead, you’ll find the couple’s complete relationship timeline, from their first meeting to their unexpected reconciliation.
January 2003: Ashanti and Nelly Meet For the First Time
In January 2003, Ashanti and Nelly connected for the first time during a 2003 Grammy Awards press conference. They took several photos together, including some in which Nelly was seen holding a piece of paper as Ashanti wrote something down for him.
In Nelly’s “Behind the Music” special, which aired in 2011, Ashanti said the media took the photos out of context and thought the stars were exchanging numbers. “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,” she recalled, per Rap-Up. “That picture has been in so many publications as something else but it all started out as a joke. For the record, it took him a long time to get my number.”
October 2005: Nelly Attends Ashanti's 25th Birthday Party
The pair sparked dating rumors in 2005 when they attended each other’s birthday parties. After the rapper was photographed celebrating Ashanti’s 25th birthday in New York City that October, the singer was spotted at Nelly’s 31st birthday party in November. According to People, Ashanti told the publication that she and Nelly “went out” a few times together, but weren’t “boyfriend and girlfriend.”
July 2006: Ashanti and Nelly Attend the "John Tucker Must Die" Premiere
Despite Ashanti denying that she and Nelly were an item, the pair continued to fuel dating rumors by attending more public events together. In July 2006, Ashanti even brought Nelly as her plus-one to the premiere of her movie “John Tucker Must Die.”
June 2007: Ashanti and Nelly Drop "Switch" Together
Ashanti and Nelly collaborated several times over the years. In June 2007, the pair teamed up together for the first time by dropping their single “Switch.” According to MTV, the track was meant to be part of Ashanti’s fourth studio album, “The Declaration,” however, it was cut from the record and served as a promotional single instead.
June 2008: Ashanti Opens Up About Her Relationship With Nelly
Shortly after the couple dropped their single “Body on Me,” Ashanti once again denied that she and Nelly were dating in a June 2008 interview with People. “Me and Nelly, we’re good friends. We kick it [and] hang out a lot,” she said. “The industry is very hard, so it’s good to have fun and lighten it up.”
While attending a Lakers game that June, Ashanti also shut down rumors that she and Nelly were getting married. “Oh no. Noooo! No engagement,” she said, before teasing, “But definitely in the future. Ha! Ha!”
August 2009: Ashanti and Nelly Reportedly Break Up For the First Time
Ashanti and Nelly’s relationship appeared to be going smoothly until August 2009 when the New York Daily News reported the couple had split. An insider apparently told the outlet that Ashanti “was ready to settle down” with the rapper, however, he wasn’t on the same page.
August 2010: Ashanti and Nelly Are Seen at a Wedding Together
According to Complex, Ashanti and Nelly raised speculation that they had gotten back together when they were spotted holding hands at T.I. and Tiny’s wedding in August 2010. That October, the publication asked Nelly about the reconciliation rumors. “We never admitted that we were together or back together or separated, but we heard that,” he said. “Only thing we ever said was we friends and it’s the same way now.”
2013: Ashanti and Nelly Reportedly Break Up Again
Ashanti and Nelly seemingly broke up again in 2013. Neither star commented on the rumors at the time. However, Ashanti later addressed her status with Nelly in a March 2014 interview with HOT 97. “There’s no beef,” she said. “I’m not bitter. I keep it pushin’.”
March 2015: Ashanti Confirms Breakup With Nelly
While appearing on “The Meredith Viera Show” in March 2015, Ashanti confirmed that she and Nelly had split due to a lack of “trust” in their relationship. “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities, it allows them to act out of character,” she said. “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.”
September 2021: Ashanti and Nelly Reunite For the First Time in 6 Years
For the first time since their breakup, Ashanti and Nelly saw each other again while performing with Ja Rule and Fat Joe during their “Verzuz” battle. Despite their split, the pair appeared friendly. In fact, at one point during the show, Nelly and Ashanti even greeted each other with a hug.
Days later, Ashanti went on Instagram Live (via Essence) to explain that she and Nelly didn’t intentionally mean to reunite that day. “I had no idea he was gonna be there and I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since we broke up. Six years or something? So, I didn’t know what to expect,” she said, adding that their unexpected meeting was nothing but “positive.”
April 2023: Ashanti and Nelly Are Spotted Holding Hands
Ashanti and Nelly appeared to have rekindled their romance in early 2023 when they were seen attending a boxing match together in Las Vegas. On April 23, the stars sat side by side as they watched Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia fight in the ring. According to People, they even held hands after the show. That May, a source confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that the pair were “back together” and were “very happy.”
June 2023: Ashanti and Nelly Attend a Red Carpet Event Together
On June 8, Ashanti and Nelly surprised fans by attending the third annual birthday ball for Quality Control CEO Pierre “P” Thomas together. The stars looked like a picture-perfect couple in their coordinating outfits. Ashanti wore a black off-the-shoulder dress with silver accents, while Nelly paired his black shirt and pants with a silver vest.
September 2023: Ashanti and Nelly Confirm They're Back Together
While appearing on “Boss Moves With Rasheeda” on Sept. 13, Nelly finally confirmed that he and Ashanti are dating again following months of speculation. “Yeah, we cool again. I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that was planned,” he said.
Nelly explained that spending time apart has only made his current relationship with Ashanti stronger. “Sometimes being separate you understand one another more,” he added. “You could be like, ‘Well yo, let me exactly see maybe what they see.’ We all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships. We know we wrong but we going to stand on it, you know what I mean? But we all a victim to that.”
Ashanti also confirmed their romance at the 2023 MTV VMAs that same day. “We’re in a great space, everything is positive, we’re having a lot of fun,” the singer told People on the red carpet. Although Nelly wasn’t physically at the 2023 MTV VMAs, he was there in spirit as Ashanti wore a customized purse that featured a photo of the couple.