Nelly and Ashanti attend the 25th annual Mark Twain Prize...

Nelly and Ashanti attend the 25th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on March 24. Credit: Getty Images / Paul Morigi

Actor and R&B singer Ashanti, a Glen Cove native, and hip-hop star Nelly are engaged and expecting a child together.

In an Instagram video posted Wednesday, quick-cut overhead shots of New York City and of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center segue to computer-generated footage of a crowd inside. A stage manager tells talent and crew, “I got 10, 15 minutes to showtime.” Then, addressing Ashanti through curtains to a backstage dressing area: “Yo, Shan! Hey, Shan! Showtime!”

Ashanti, 43, sits at a dressing table applying makeup and fiddling with a pregnancy kit. Her mother, Tina Douglas, outside the curtains tells her, “Shan! C’mon. They’re ready. … Shan, how much time you need?”

Ashanti, in full stage wardrobe, parts the curtains and looks past her mom to address viewers: “I’ll need about nine months.” The sound of a record scratching is heard as Tina Douglas reacts in astonishment. A logo comes up for the pregnancy-test company Proov. The post's caption reads, “Baby baby baby baby.”

Concurrent with this, Essence magazine ran a statement from the Grammy Award winner, born Ashanti Douglas, saying, “This new year of my life is such a blessing full of love, hope, and anticipation,” and then confirms both engagement and pregnancy: “Motherhood is something that I have looked forward to, and sharing this with my family, fiance, and loyal fans, who have been so supportive of my career, is an amazing experience.”

She and fellow Grammy winner Nelly, 49, born Cornell Haynes Jr., also told the magazine they are co-owners of Proov along with company founder Amy Beckley. Proov describes itself on its website as an “affordable fertility diagnostics & treatment at home” that works to “find your unique hormone levels and … help you build a plan to optimize them.”

This will be Ashanti’s first child. Nelly has daughter Chanelle Cornice Valentine-Haynes, 30, and son Cornell Iral “Tre” Haynes III, 25, from his former relationship with Channetta Valentine. As well, he adopted nephew Shawn Thomas and niece Sydney Thomas following the 2005 death of their mother, his half sister Jacqueline Donahue, who died of leukemia at age 31. The blended family was the subject of the 2014-15 BET reality TV show “Nellyville.”

A track star at Glen Cove High School, where she graduated in 1998, Ashanti reportedly dated Nelly on and off for a decade starting in 2003. They began fueling reconciliation rumors with a December 2022 concert in Arizona, dancing to their 2008 hit “Body on Me.” The following April, they appeared to be behaving romantically at a boxing match in Las Vegas. That September, Nelly confirmed their new relationship. Rumors began circulating three months later that the couple was expecting.

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