Ashanti Shows Off Purse Featuring Nelly After Rapper Confirmed Rekindled Romance

The 'Hot in Here' rapper recently confirmed that he rekindled his romance with Ashanti during an episode of 'Boss Moves with Rasheeda.'

Ashanti showed off an extra special accessory at Tuesday's  2023 MTV Video Music Awards: A purse featuring her newly-rekindled romance, Nelly

Though Ashanti, 42, walked the pink carpet alone, she made sure to bring a part of her relationship with her every step of the way. Her purse, which she paired with a sleek and shimmering gown, showed off a photo of her and Nelly, 48, at the VMAs exactly two decades earlier. 

"I just thought that his was cool because this picture was taken 20 years ago at the VMAs in 2003," Ashanti told ET's Rachel Smith. "We were in a great place," the rapper added of her memory from the old photo. 

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Ashanti is nominated for Best Collaboration for her work with Diddy on "Gotta Move On," which she told ET was an "amazing" opportunity. 

"I just feel like there was so much going on, even with me personally," she said, "it came from the heart, everything I was writing and going through. I got the opportunity from Puff, you know, to kind of express myself artistically and it was amazing. I had so much fun." 

Ashanti added that for Diddy, "it's always a yes" when it comes to collaborations. 

As for her personal life, the rapper recently confirmed that she and Nelly rekindled their romance during an episode of Boss Moves with Rasheedahosted by Love and Hip Hop's Rasheeda Frost. 

The couple originally began dating in 2003, having an on-again, off-again romance before officially calling it quits in 2013. In a preview of his Boss Moves with Rasheeda interview shared by The Shade Room, Nelly coyly confesses that he and Ashanti are "cool again."

"I think it surprised both of us though. It wasn't anything that I don't think was planned," he adds.

Going into a little more detail, Nelly shared that he believes time apart played a role in their rekindled relationship.

"I think we both were pretty much doing what we do, but sometimes being separate you understand one another more," he says. "You be like, 'Yo, let me see exactly what they see.' You know, because we all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships. We know we wrong but we going to stand on it. But we all a victim to that." 

When asked if his relationship with Ashanti "feels good now," Nelly admits it does.

"Yeah," he says. "I mean, because it's no pressure. Before I felt like both of us were doing what we were doing before career-wise, and when you got so many people in the middle of it, it can be tough."

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Fans began to question the status of the pair's relationship in December 2022, after Ashanti appeared onstage with the "Country Grammar" rapper at the Power 98.3 and 96.1's "Under the Mistletoe" concert in Arizona.

Following the performance, Ashanti appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, where she was asked about her reaction to fans wanting her to get back with the rapper.

"My reaction was 'wow,'" she told host Andy Cohen. "It was a lot of comments and a lot of people wanting that." However, she played coy when pressed on whether or not the two were exploring the possibility of getting back together.

In February, ET spoke with Nelly at the GRAMMYs, where he shared that time had healed their past wounds.

"Time does wonders for a lot of different things," he told ET. "And time is one those things that allows you time to reflect on what's what, and you get a chance to see things in a different light and see your faults. So I think we both did that and it's cool that we just friends."

Then in April, they were spotted together multiple times in Las Vegas. First they were seen holding hands as they walked through T-Mobile Arena during the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight. And then, in another video posted to social media, the duo was captured performing their hit "Body on Me," during a pool party.

A month later, a source told ET, "Nelly and Ashanti are back together and both of them are very happy."

In June, the couple was spotted together at the 3rd Annual Birthday Ball for Quality Control CEO Pierre "P" Thomas. The event was their first red carpet appearance together since 2012. 

After the pair attended Usher's Las Vegas residency and sang along to Usher's "Nice & Slow" in a video posted to Nelly's Instagram, ET learned the two weren't putting labels on their relationship and were just enjoying their time together.

It seems things are a little more defined between the pair now.

The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards is coming to you live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Follow along at for full coverage from this year’s VMAs, including the complete list of the nominees and the night's big winners.