I don’t care if Ashanti and Nelly get married. Let me start by saying that.
I’ve seen the conversations online about what she should be expecting from that man now that they’re reunited and they’re in their 40s, long removed from when they were first together in their 20s, and I’m not moved. I know he’s been accused of sprinting away from commitment in just about every high-profile relationship he’s had. But marriage doesn’t necessarily make a relationship more solid, it just makes it official in a couple’s efforts to build a life together. If you ask me, I just want Nelly to be as enthusiastic as Ashanti is about their relationship the second time around. Let’s start there.
The first time around, the pair were very discreet for some time about what they had going on. You didn’t know they were an item until around 2005, 2006 when they would be photographed together at events. But they were at the height of their careers then, so it made sense for them to not carry on in an over-the-top way. So they chose, instead, to give people a tiny glimpse at their chemistry through their music, with the rapper appearing in the music video for her song “Good Good” in 2008 and them working on his song “Body on Me” in 2009.
Once people caught wind of what was happening though, they started to field questions about their relationship in interviews. When asked about an engagement when responding to rumors about them possibly marrying, the singer shut down the claims and said they were “good friends” while leaving hope for matrimony down the line, saying, “No engagement. But definitely in the future.” As for Nelly though, he didn’t handle such queries as well. Two years later, he said they were still “just friends” when asked about marrying her, and then said the following:
“I’m married to my work,” he said in 2010. I’m married to getting things into a certain situation. She’s married to getting things into a certain situation right now.”
“We enjoy each other’s company,” he added. “We love it.”
By that point, they had been together almost seven years.
That said, the St. Louis native has never been that excited when talking about love, probably because people ask him about marriage and why it’s never happened. He never needed to pull a Tom Cruise and jump on couches to express his feelings (we see how that worked out for Mr. Top Gun), but the energy was always lacking when he chose to address questions about his time with her.
I don’t know what was behind their official breakup after 10 years together in 2013. She did mention back in 2015 that insecurities, specifically his insecurities, played a part. “I think sometimes when people have their own insecurities it allows them to act out of character,” adding, “I’ve been betrayed.”
She continued, “Again, you just have to grow. You have to grow up and accept responsibility for the things that you do. I’m not a big fan of people being cowards. I think it’s really important to know yourself and understand what you want and get it.”
So maybe, all these years later, he has changed. Maybe he’s shown her that he wants to be all in, that he’s madly in love with her and he can’t do life without her. He’s saying and doing something right because after years of being the Internet’s crush, she came to the MTV Video Music Awards with that man’s face on her purse. She let the world know she was off the market and served “My man, my man, my man” energy.
She said that they exchanged numbers at the VMAs in 2003, hence her wearing the clutch to the awards — which is just like us as women to remember.
“I thought this was cool because this picture was taken 20 years ago at the VMAs in 2003,” she told ET. “I thought it was cute.”
“I mean we’re in a great place,” she added. “I think it’s pretty obvious. Yeah, we’re together.”
It was a sweet gesture, a low-key yet simultaneously loud way of letting the world know, that’s bae. So what was Nelly’s whole take on confirming their coupledom?
“Yeah, yeah, we cool again.”
Now, I’ll give him props for admitting that being apart from one another helped him to see the things that were an issue for her when they were together and be honest about being too defensive at times in the past. But it still wasn’t giving “It’s like old times again but better!” excitement.
I’m not saying that Nelly needs to now sport a T-shirt with Ashanti’s face on it for me to know that he’s serious about her. That is not my relationship. But I just hope that he does away with the too-cool-for-school-and-love vibes he gave when they were first together, now that they’re back together.
It’s a major move for a woman to decide that after being apart from someone they loved and watching them be with other people that they want them back. Considering how gorgeous Ashanti is and that she dealt with “betrayal” from him, it should be an honor in his mind for her to want him back and be proud to tell people about it. So can he act like it? Can he not treat every question about her, which he is welcome to say in advance that he won’t answer, like someone is clearly trying to put pressure on him and trap him? There’s nothing wrong with smiling like a Cheshire cat because you got a good woman back by your side.
All that said, I wish them luck and hope things turn out however Ashanti wants them to with the rapper. She seems to be on cloud nine about him and it’s cute to see. It would just be nice for him to exhibit the same joy, with less concern of talking about what went wrong in the past and more of a focus on the happiness they’ve found within each other in the present. At 49 years old this year, now is the time to cut the macho act for a spirit of gratitude. And if he won’t, let that queen flourish where she’s at — and take that clutch with him.