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A timeline of Nelly and Ashanti’s love story

Nelly and Ashanti are all the buzz following a report from Us Weekly that the singer-actress is pregnant with the rapper’s child.

Reached by Yahoo Entertainment, a representative for Ashanti had no comment. A rep for Nelly did not immediately respond.

The report followed one from TMZ, which said that, while appearing at Nelly’s 11th Black and White Ball for charity in his hometown of St. Louis, he and Ashanti both posed for photos with their hands on their bellies as part of a possible “inside joke.”

The couple has a long history together, with years as a couple — maybe more than we realize, because they’ve kept us all guessing about exactly when they’re a couple.

Here’s a look back:

Jan. 7, 2003: Nelly and Ashanti meet and hit it off

She revealed on an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music that she met her future love at the 2003 Grammy Awards announcement event. A photograph of them was snapped.

Nelly meets Ashanti. (KMazur/WireImage)
Nelly meets Ashanti. (KMazur/WireImage)

Nelly meets Ashanti. (KMazur/WireImage) (WireImage)

“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 told the show. “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.”

Feb. 1, 2006: Nelly and Ashanti are photographed on a date

Ashanti and Nelly attend a launch event in New York City on Feb. 1, 2006. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)Ashanti and Nelly attend a launch event in New York City on Feb. 1, 2006. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Ashanti and Nelly attend a launch event in New York City on Feb. 1, 2006. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage) (Johnny Nunez via Getty Images)

The artists show up together at a bash for Diddy’s new fragrance. It’s a pretty big deal, because she has said that, though they’ve gone on a date, they’re “not boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Dec. 13, 2009: Ashanti co-stars in Nelly’s sexy video for “Body on Me”

The two get flirty onscreen. There are signs that they’re dating — like when she denies that they’re dating, but says they plan to get engaged some time in the future — but, for the most part, they’re still keeping their personal lives quiet.

Dec. 14, 2010: Nelly clarifies his relationship with Ashanti and says he’s not ready for marriage

The “Just a Dream” rapper reveals in an interview with RapUpTV that he and Ashanti are taking things slow.

“Right now we’re friends, I’m married to my work,” he explains. “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.”

He says marriage is something he takes very seriously.

“What people don’t understand is that I think you really have to be friends first, that’s the thing,” he says.”It’s not about how long it takes, there’s no time limit on this. 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.”

March 5, 2014: Ashanti says she has ‘no beef’ with Nelly

Amid breakup rumors, Ashanti gives an especially candid statement about Nelly’s status with her: “It’s a very small industry. Are we gonna see each other? Yeah… I’m not bitter,” she says in an interview with radio station Hot 97. “I feel like in a relationship, it’s like ping-pong. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them. That’s a real statement, everyone goes through that.”

March 13, 2015: Ashanti confirms that she and Nelly have broken up

During an appearance on The Meredith Vieira Show, the host says, “You aren’t together anymore, and you said it basically came down to trust, and I think that is something that so many women deal with. How do you handle trust in relationships? Why do you think it’s hard to trust somebody?”

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

Sept. 15 2021: Nelly and Ashanti reunite at Verzuz

Ja Rule and Fat Joe’s Verzuz battle features a cameo by the two, although neither of them had known that it was going to happen. He comes over to hug her onstage during their group performance.

“Now look, this is the crazy part: I had no idea he was gonna be there,” she tells Ja Rule afterward on Instagram Live. “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.”

And he appeared surprised, too.

“I seen his eyes get big and I didn’t know what was gonna happen,” she says. “I didn’t know what to expect. It was positive.”

December 2022: Ashanti and Nelly are ‘in a better place’

On Dec. 4, the pair perform again! This time they do “Body on Me” at Arizona radio stations’s holiday concert.

Then, on Dec. 14, Ashanti tells Andy Cohen, on his Watch What Happens Live, that she was shocked at the positive fan response to her reunion with Nelly.

“My reaction was wow,” she says. “It was a lot of comments and a lot of people wanting that. What I will say is we’re in a better place.”

They had been fighting.

“But we’re cool now,” Ashanti says. “Yeah, we have some conversations, you know. So it’s cool.”

June 9, 2023: Nelly and Ashanti are back on the red carpet together

The two have a date night at a glam event in Atlanta. Their appearance marks their first on a red carpet since 2012, according to People. (See top photo.)

Sept. 12, 2023: Nelly and Ashanti confirm they’re officially reunited

He does it first during an appearance on Philo’s Boss Moves with Rasheeda. When asked if they were back together, he says, “Yeah. We cool again. I think it surprised both of us. It wasn’t anything that was like, I don’t think, planned. I think we both were pretty much doing what we do. But sometimes being separate, you understand one another more.”

That evening, on the red carpet at the 2023 MTV VMAs, Ashanti tells E! that the pair have reunited. The singer is asked about it because she carries a clutch with a photo of them together at the same event 20 years earlier. She thought the accessory “might be cute,” and, of course, it was.

Oct. 13, 2023: Nelly pays tribute to Ashanti for her birthday, surprises her with a necklace

“Such a beautiful, an incredible person inside and out,” he wrote as part of a sweet note under a collection of photos that captured the two together. The post makes it clear what fans had inferred for months, especially from his post in August of them singing Usher’s “Nice and Slow.”

As for the gift, Nelly gave Ashanti a diamond necklace and watch.

Nov. 4, 2023: Ashanti gives birthday love — and a car! — to Nelly

While they keep their relationship mostly private, Ashanti, like Nelly, was very open about her feelings for him, in a caption for videos and photos of them together. They showed her presenting him with his gift: a beautiful car.

“One of the kindest, most genuine men I’ve ever met,” she wrote. “You have such a big heart and are ALWAYS giving to others Today is YOUR day!!! Love u! Happy birthday.”

Dec. 4, 2023: Us Weekly reports that Ashanti is pregnant with the couple’s first child together.

This would be the reunited couple’s first child together. He’s already a father to four adult children, including two from previous relationships and a niece and nephew that he adopted. Their mother was his sister, Jackie, who died of leukemia in 2005.

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