When Queens actress and singer Naturi Naughton announced her engagement in December of 2020, she showed off her ring and talked about wedding plans — but whom she would be marrying, she preferred to keep private. She continued to keep his identity confidential — until now.
“For me it was important to be cautious about sharing it, especially at the beginning of our engagement, so we could focus on that bonding time,” she tells ESSENCE. “Sometimes in the industry people put their opinions on things and make you feel like you need their opinion, and I don’t.”
As she prepares to walk down the aisle to marry the love of her life this spring, she’s “excited” and ready to reveal who the mystery man is who stole her heart. His name is Two, a prominent figure in the music industry whom she met through Power co-star Omari Hardwick.
“Omari spoke so highly of Two to me. I don’t even know that he was trying to hook us up,” she recalls. “I think he was just trying to put us together musically. I don’t think it was intentional. But to this day Omari’s like, ‘I knew this was what you needed!'”
She adds, “I can be a challenge and he knows Two’s the man for the challenge.”
And Two certainly was. Any notions she had about how he would court her went out the window. He has a one-year rule where he wanted to spend time getting to know the star on a deeper level before making things official as boyfriend and girlfriend. It was something women in his past weren’t interested in seeing through.
“I have that one-year rule where I want to build a friendship and build something I could see lasting for a long time,” he tells ESSENCE. “I was very impressed that she waited this time out. We learned each other, prayed with each other, went to church with each other, and just developed this real foundation and connection and friendship.”
“I had to accept that the same way women have standards, men, especially a good man, do too,” Naughton adds. “The way he emphasized our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, just being able to do things that weren’t about the physical, sex or things like that, it let me know he wanted to dig deeper level and get to know me on a spiritual and an emotional level. That was how I got more comfortable because I started to see, Wait a minute. This ain’t just for boyfriend time, this is a setup for a husband.”
And she was correct. Two realized she was the one for him at the year mark, and by Christmas 2020, he proposed to her. But he didn’t only ask for her hand in marriage. He also proposed to her 4-year-old daughter Zuri.
“I wanted to make sure Zuri knows how she should be cared for and loved for the future,” he says. “Naturi always says I do over-the-top things and I always tell her I try do over-the-top things so [Zuri] knows not to settle for the bare minimum. I want her to have her standards high when she gets older so knows what to accept.”
The bond that Two has with Zuri, which he built after speaking with her father, is something Naughton is grateful for. Being able to trust him, not only with her daughter, but also with her own heart, wasn’t easy at first for the star.
“It was a little scary at first,” she says. “It took me a while to adjust to having help. To having a man in the house and a person who was there full-time with me, parenting her.”
She adds, “I loved that Two respected Zuri’s dad and the fact that it was just Zuri and I. And I had to learn to trust again. I had to learn how to not compare Two to any past experiences.”
She knew he was something special when, in the midst of being with her every day in her downtown Brooklyn apartment during COVID with a potty-training toddler, he stepped up.
“He was the man of the year because it was a lot of poops,” she jokes. “I just felt like the way he stepped up as a father figure in her life and giving her a ring when he proposed, it just made me realize that it was more about the love of family and not just me alone. He really loves my daughter.”
Zuri is set to be the flower girl at the couple’s upcoming wedding and she’s thrilled. The couple is also delighted for the big day after overcoming the obstacles of planning during an ongoing pandemic and working to fortify their relationship through premarital counseling. They were taught by Montell Jordan and his long-time wife, Kristin Jordan. The crooner will be officiating the wedding.
“Lifechanging!” she says of their teachings. “They’ve literally given us an awesome foundation, a playbook and a guide to what it takes to create a lifetime of happiness.”
The couple’s wedding day is also in great hands, as they chose to work with a team of Black bridal vendors to mark the occasion, including Eliana Baucicault of Elly B Events, Selina Howard of Vainglorious Brides, photographer Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography, fashion designer Ozwald Boateng and more. They have a star-studded guest list, including Hardwick as Two’s best man. But even if it were just a few people present, the future Mr. and Mrs. would still be floating on cloud nine for their big day because they have each other.
“We’re just focused on what matters the most. It’s not the wedding, it’s the marriage,” Naughton says. “Even if it only was five people at our wedding and our family and parents witnessing, we would be ok. The wedding is about us and the commitment to our future.”
Check out photos from their stunning engagement shoot, taken by Stanlo Photography, below.
Bridal Styling: Selina Howard from Vainglorious Brides @vaingloriousbrides
Assistant Bridal Stylist: Vanessa Diaz @Vaingloriousbrides_Vanessa
Coordination: Eliana Baucicault of ellyB Events @ellybevents
Groom Co-Stylist: Jonathan Ashe-Edwards from Vainglorious
Groom Co-Stylist: Foster Lewis
Photography: Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography @stanlophotogrophy
Videography: Bricks Media Group @bricksgroup
Makeup: Makeup by Tia @mua_ttt_tia
Hair: Hair by E Stylez @hairbestylez
Jewelry: Vainglorious Brides
Location: The Candler Hotel @thecandlerhotel
Black Look and Pink Look – London Couture @londoncouture.est90
Green Feather Dress – NYC Glamour Couture @nycfashionboutique