Nelly has confirmed that he and Ashanti are officially back together again. He was asked the question in an interview with Love and Hip Hop’s Rasheeda on her Philo TV show, Boss Moves:
“Yeah, we’re cool again,” he said. “I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that was planned. I think we’re both pretty much doing what we do.”
He attributes the rekindling to them having time and distance apart from one another.
“Sometimes being separate you understand one another more,” he said. “You could be like, ‘Yo, let me see exactly what they see.’ You know, because we all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships. And we know we wrong but we going to stand on it. But we all a victim to that.”
Rasheeda asked him whether the relationship ‘felt good’ this time around, to which he responded:
“Yeah, I mean, because it’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 could be tough.”
Though Ashanti was being hounded by outlets to confirm the news after the interview clips surfaced, she made a bold statement at the MTV Awards, with a clutch that had a photo of her and Nelly together on it.
“So... in this pic, we exchanged numbers at the VMAs in 2003... 20 years ago lol ...” she wrote on social media.
She and Nelly were rumoured to have dated for about 11 years, on and off, between 2002 and 2013, when they went their separate ways for good, but remained amicable. At that point, Nelly began dating Chantelle Jackson, who he also dated for several years before calling it quits, despite saying on Dancing With The Stars that he thought she was “the one” and that they were “working towards” an engagement.
Social media users, initially brokenhearted by Nelly and Ashanti’s break up, have flooded the comment sections saying that he’s “finally healed” and that he’s “grown up”. But I’m worried that these sentiments might be just our parasocial relationships with celebrities at it again.
We saw this with Chilli and Usher’s relationship. When they dated in the early 2000s, the reaction to their split was visceral. People took their breakup so personally, it was if they, too, were in the relationship. It’s also why people were so thrilled to see her happy with her current partner, Matthew Lawrence. It speaks to how much we were all rooting for her to find love. Plus, that man is a looker.
I’ve shared my thoughts on relationships and marriage before, and it’s fair to say that whether your union is traditional or non-traditional, the most important thing is that you’re doing what works for you and your partner. To hell with everyone else! But I’m worried that when it comes to Nelly, it’s not so much a matter of him being “finally healed” and “grown up”. Because as someone who is very familiar with the cycle of on and off again relationships, Nelly is giving unhealed f-ckboy vibes.
My concern is that he is non-committal. And rather than just be up front about it, he has a pattern of staying in these long-term relationships leading his partners to believe that he wants marriage, when really, he just likes to date.
Having recently returned to the dating scene, it’s something I’ve had to disclose to all my potential suitors. And though there’s always the risk it may turn someone off that you’re not dating to marry, there are a lot of people out there who are on the same page.
Ashanti has been through a lot. I’ve written before about the difficulties she faced navigating misogyny in the music industry, which included being bribed to shower with a music producer or having to fork over $80,000 just to get the two songs they had worked on together, as well as the emotional abuse and manipulation she faced at the hands of music producer Irv Gotti. Last year, she revealed that the real reason Irv has spoken so poorly of her in interviews over the last 20 years is because he’s salty about her relationship with Nelly.
Having been the victim of so much mistreatment so far, it’s time she gets exactly what she wants. And if that’s a casual dating scenario with Nelly then so be it. But if she wants more and he knows deep down that he’s not ready for it, I’m hoping she’s got the strength to walk away from him once and for all.