Are recently reconciled R&B signer Ashanti and hip-hop star Nelly expecting a child together?
Us Weekly, citing an anonymous source, said Monday it had confirmed that Grammy Award-winning Glen Cove native Ashanti, 43, born Ashanti Douglas, and fellow Grammy-winner Nelly, 49, born Cornell Haynes Jr., were expecting, following hints the couple appeared to give at the 11th Nelly’s Black and White Ball charity gala Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.
As captured by an attendee’s cellphone video posted by TMZ.com, Nelly touches Ashanti’s belly just past the half-minute mark. She falls into his arms, laughing, and they both laugh as they hug. After letting go, she touches her belly again, and Nelly, his face beaming, also does so again. The two share another big hug and rock together on the stage before turning to exit. One excited spectator shouts over and over, “Somebody late! Somebody late!” — an evident reference to a late menstrual period, indicating possible pregnancy.
Representatives for Ashanti and Nelly each had no comment.
Singer-actor Ashanti — a track star at Glen Cove High School, where she graduated in 1998 — reportedly dated Nelly on and off for a decade starting in 2003. After performing together last December at the Riviera Broadcasting “Power 98.3 and 96.1 Under the Mistletoe” concert in Arizona, doing a grinding dance to their 2008 hit “Body on Me,” they further fueled speculation on April 23 at the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, seated together at ringside and holding hands when leaving the bout afterward.
In September, Nelly confirmed the relationship rumors on the streaming service Philo TV’s “Boss Moves with Rasheeda,” saying in response to co-host Rasheeda Frost’s direct question, “Yeah, we cool again. … I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that we … planned.”
He added, “Sometimes being separate means you understand one another more … [and] see maybe what they see. Because, y’know, we all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships.” He said it now feels right “because there’s no pressure. 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.”
Ashanti has no children. Nelly has daughter Chanelle Cornice Valentine-Haynes, 29, and son Cornell Iral Haynes III, 24, from his former relationship with Channetta Valentine.
Ashanti, in a high-profile victory for artists, in 2021 wrested control of the original audio masters for her 3X platinum-selling 2002 eponymous debut album, "Ashanti," and announced plans reissue it in remastered format.