A Timeline of Rihanna and A$AP Rocky's Romance: From Pals to 'Best Friends With a Baby'
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Rihanna and A$AP Rocky are expecting their second child together! The singer dropped the big news in grand fashion by showing her baby bump during her epic Super Bowl LLVII halftime performance. Now, let's take a look at how their friendship turned into a romance.
The two have sparked rumors of a relationship since they performed onstage together for the first time in 2012, but it wasn't until almost a decade later that the duo publicly became a couple.
The pair were longtime friends before they became lovers, which Rocky confirmed by publicly declaring Rihanna as the love of his life in an interview with GQ in May 2021. But before that, both had a few headline-making relationships with other people.
Rihanna was publicly linked to Chris Brown and Drake, whom she reportedly dated off and on from 2009 to 2016. Meanwhile, Rocky was previously linked to Kendall Jenner, Chanel Iman, Iggy Azalea and Teyana Taylor.
Still, the pair's romance seems inevitable. From their musical collaborations, similar love of fashion and beauty and their undeniable chemistry, it's no surprise that they've created a beautiful life together and even welcomed a child together in 2022. Keep reading for a full timeline of the couple's relationship.
Friendship and Frequent Supporters
The pair linked up for their first professional collaboration at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012, where they performed a remix of Rihanna's "Cockiness (Love It)."
The FENTY Beauty founder told Vogue in May that her romantic relationship with Rocky was slow-going at first because "people don’t get out of the friend zone very easily with me."
"And I certainly took a while to get over how much I know him and how much he knows me because we also know how much trouble we can land each other in," she told Vogue, revealing that a moment during their first encounter at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012 was a prime example of what kind of trouble they get into. The singer recalls when Rocky joined her for the performance of her hit single, "Cockiness," and grabbed her butt as they were dancing side by side.
"That was not part of the rehearsal! I was like, 'What are you doing!?'" she said, admitting that her team was braced to deal with her anger after the incident but instead, she let it go. "My manager was like, 'Oh, God, she must like this guy a little bit. She never lets this s**t slide.'"
Throughout the years, the two continued to support each other's various ventures. In 2013, Rocky joined Rihanna as an opening act on her Diamonds World Tour from March to May and again for a handful of dates in October and November.
In September of that year, Rihanna also appeared in A$AP's music video for "Fashion Killa," playing his girlfriend in the foreshadowing video. The song includes the line, "Her attitude Rihanna, she get it from her mama."
They also attended the same events, though never together as a couple. The two notably caused a stir when they appeared on the red carpet at the Fashion Awards together in December 2019, sparking romance rumors after their many years of friendship.
In July 2020, Rocky appeared in Rihanna's Fenty Skin campaign alongside Lil Nas X.
"To me, in the industry, he is one of the guys who everybody loves [his] skin. I always wanted to know, 'How the heck do you have better skin than half these girls? I mean, what do you do?'" Rihanna told ET about working with Rocky on the campaign.
"I wanted men to be represented, because this skincare line is gender neutral. I want it to be for everyone, so you don't get men scared to use skincare," she continued. "We needed that male representation in the campaign, so Rocky and Lil Nas X... we wanted that representation, so men knew it was OK."
Friends to Lovers
In August 2020, the duo got flirty in a video for GQ, during which Rocky revealed that the hardest part of working with Rihanna was "not goofing off and laughing the whole time."
"The hardest part is not having too much fun," he said.
Another cute moment came when Rihanna asked Rocky about his skin type. "Handsome," he quipped in response.
Two months later, the pair was spotted with a group of friends at the Beatrice Inn in New York, an eyewitness told ET. According to the eyewitness, Rihanna and Rocky were joined by a few friends for the outing.
"The restaurant is not at full capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they have a private room in the back for VIPs and private events and Rihanna, A$AP and their friends sat there for more privacy. They also had the curtain closed as they enjoyed their meal. Rihanna and A$AP were lovely and gracious and nice to the staff. Rihanna’s bodyguards were also there. The group all left together," the eyewitness said.
In December of that year, a source told ET that the duo had begun dating after the "Love On the Brain" singer reportedly split from her boyfriend of three years, Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel.
"They have always had amazing chemistry and Rihanna relates to A$AP and it feels natural, easy and fun," the source said. "She feels very comfortable around him since they’ve known each other for such a long time and also feels a connection to him because his dad is from Barbados."
The couple was later spotted celebrating Christmas together on a private yacht in Barbados with Rihanna's family.
Nearly a year later, Rocky opened up about his relationship with Rihanna for the first time in GQ.
The "F**kin' Problms" rapper called Rihanna "the love of my life" and "my lady."
"[Relationships are] so much better when you got the One," he told the magazine. "She amounts to probably, like, a million of the other ones... I think when you know, you know. She's the One."
A source told ET, "Rihanna is A$AP Rocky's dream girl and has been for a while. He's so in love with her and they have the best time together. They're always laughing, but also connect with each other on a deep level. They just get each other whether it comes to their senses of humor or career aspirations and more. They have a crazy connection and chemistry and are such a cute, fun, loving couple."
In June 2021, the "Wild for the Night" rapper voiced his gratitude for his girlfriend's support to ET during the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his new documentary, Stockholm Syndrome.
When asked how important it was to have Rihanna's support for the doc, Rocky said it was "important having that support in real life, you know?"
"It's amazing and I'm honestly truly blessed, for real," Rocky added.
In September 2021, the couple made their Met Gala debut as a couple. Rihanna wore a billowing, black Balenciaga gown with a large, dramatic collar and an ornate, sparkling BVLGARI diamonds.
Rocky joined the songstress and brought all the color in an sizable wrap cloak that resembled a knitted quilt, a nod to the night's theme, "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," an exploration of the nation’s sartorial identity and a deep dive into American ingenuity.
Starting a Family
In January 2022, a source told ET that the singer and rapper were closer than ever, adding that they continue to be "inseparable."
"Their relationship is in a good place," the source said. "After a very busy fall with professional commitments, they took some time to relax and unwind and really reconnect with each other."
Then, after months of speculation, the couple revealed that they were expecting their first child.
They announced the news with a walk through the snowy streets of A$AP's hometown of Harlem in New York City. Rihanna showed off her bare baby bump in a pink coat and jeans while she held hands with her beau.
A source told ET that the couple felt very blessed that they're having a baby together, and that they already considered themselves a family but having a baby together makes that bond even stronger.
"They enjoyed keeping the pregnancy a secret for as long as they could, but they're thrilled to be able to share the news with their fans," the source said.
According to another source, Rihanna and A$AP wanted to shoot their pregnancy announcement in Harlem because that's where A$AP grew up and it's a place that brings them both a lot of comfort. "They feel really at home in Harlem," the source said. "His upbringing in Harlem shaped so much of who he is -- and it hasn't always been easy. This was a happy milestone and it felt right to shoot the photos where it all started."
The source additionally noted that the photos were taken in early morning hours, with Rihanna wearing vintage Chanel.
"They are such night owls, but they wanted to shoot these pics discreetly," the source said. "It was important for Rihanna to make this announcement on her terms. She couldn't really hide it any longer!"
In an intimate interview for Vogue's May cover, Rihanna not only bared her baby bump, but she also opened up about her relationship with the rapper. The singer said that although the two had begun dating before COVID-19 struck, it was only during the pandemic's lockdown that they became truly serious.
"He became my family in that time," she shared, describing an "epic road trip" they took in the summer of 2020 from Los Angeles to New York. The journey allowed the couple to get away from the glare of public eyes and gave them an intimacy that only comes from domestication.
"I cooked our food on this little janky grill I bought from Walmart," she remembered. "I still have it, too. It works like nobody’s business. I love the simple things but also the grand adventures. There’s no pretentious my-brand-your-brand bulls**t, it’s just us living. I just feel like I can do any part of life by his side."
Her pregnancy is a result of the two "just living," as the singer revealed that there was no planning involved. "I wouldn’t say planning. But certainly not planning against it. I don’t know when I ovulate or any of that type of s**t. We just had fun," she explained. "And then it was just there on the test. I didn't waste any time. I called him inside and showed him. Then I was in the doctor’s office the next morning and our journey began."
Rihanna openly admitted that balance has always been one of her biggest challenges, but told the mag that she was ready to tackle whatever came her way with a singular focus.
"My mom handled the three of us with not even close to the amount of resources that I have, so I can absolutely do it. What it looks like? I’m not sure," she said. But she's excited to embark on the journey!
"They're going to teach me more than I could ever teach them. And I want them to go for it. I want to see who they are in the world, who they become," she said of her unborn child. "Because I’m just here to keep them on the rails—a passenger as much as the driver."
Trials and Tribulations
While Rihanna showed off her keen fashion sense with her baby bump on display and put her twist on maternity styles during date nights, fashion shows and even trips to the Target baby department, rumors began circulating around the couple.
In April, Rihanna's shoe designer, Amina Muaddi, took to Instagram to vehemently deny having an affair with Rocky, calling the cheating rumors "fake gossip" that was "fabricated with such malicious intent."
Muaddi, the 36-year-old shoe designer behind the Fenty 2020 collection, said she felt "an unfounded lie" never deserves a response or clarification but, in this instance, she felt compelled to address the rumor because it affected people close to her.
"I’ve always believed that an unfounded lie spread on social media doesn’t deserve any response or clarification, especially one that is so vile," she wrote in her statement. "I initially assumed that this fake gossip — fabricated with such malicious intent — would not be taken seriously. However in the last 24h I’ve been reminded that we live in a society that is so quick to speak on topics regardless of factual basis and that nothing is off limits. Not even during what should be one of the most beautiful and celebrated times in one’s life."
"Therefore I have to speak up as this is not only directed towards me but it is related to people I have a great amount of respect and affection for," she continued. "While Rih is continuing to live her serene, best dressed pregnancy life and I go back to my business -- I wish everyone a beautiful Easter weekend!"
Days later, Rocky was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for assault with a deadly weapon (firearm) stemming from an alleged incident that took place in November 2021. The rapper had just returned from a vacation in Barbados with a pregnant Rihanna. He was later released after posting $550,000 bail.
A source told ET there was no question or hesitation that Rihanna would stand by Rocky. "When she's in love with someone," the source told ET, "she'll do anything for them."
When it comes to her commitment and trust of him, "Rihanna hasn't wavered," the source noted. "She loves him. He's family."
However, an arrest was not on their radar. "This arrest was not something they saw coming," a source previously told ET.
"This drama is the last thing Rihanna needs right now," that source shared. "She wants to be mellow, relaxed, and focused 100 percent on the arrival of her baby -- not stressing out!"
And Baby Makes Three!
Rihanna gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby boy, in May 2022. A source told ET that Rihanna gave birth to a baby boy in Los Angeles with Rocky by her side, and that the family went to rest at her Los Angeles home.
"They have not left each other's side," the source said of the couple. "They are over the moon. She's been looking forward to motherhood for a long time. This little boy is going to have the best baby fashion."
According to TMZ, who was first to report the news, Rihanna gave birth on May 13 in Los Angeles.
"Essentially, from one person I became two. You walk into the hospital as a couple and leave as a family of three. It's nuts," the singer told British Vogue in February 2023. "And oh, my gosh, those first days are insane. You don't sleep. At all. Not even if you wanted to. We came home, cold turkey, had no one. It was just us as parents and our baby. Man, you're a zombie for the most part. You're just going through the motions and even then you're so paranoid. Because you're like: they trusted us to come home with this baby? No doctors, no nurses, we're just... going home?"
Several months after his birth, Rihanna shared with ET her favorite part about motherhood so far.
"Oh my god, the mornings, like, seeing his morning face! Seeing a baby with, like, little bags and waking up and they're just, like, startled. They're trying to figure out where they’re at. It's the cutest, it's my favorite part of the day," the singer said.
Rihanna noted that she "cherished" moments like that with her son, also admitting that she has already taken to singing to the baby, making "freestyle" songs whenever she can.
"He’s amazing, he's a happy baby," the new mom shared.
In December, Riri took to TikTok to give the world its first look at her baby boy. The singer posted a 45-second clip of her baby, whose name the singer has not yet revealed. In the video, the baby's sitting in his car seat looking like he's having the time of his life, laughing and making all kinds of cute baby faces.
It appears Rihanna's in the background also getting a kick out of the baby's many expressions. At one point, the baby boy, who is wearing a brown jacket, lets out a cute little yawn and even tries taking the phone away from his famous mama.
In the family of three's British Vogue cover story, Rihanna gushed about motherhood.
"It's everything. You really don't remember life before, that's the craziest thing ever," she said. "You literally try to remember it - and there are photos of my life before - but the feeling, the desires, the things that you enjoy, everything, you just don't identify with it because you don't even allow yourself mentally to get that far... because it doesn't matter."
As for parenting with Rocky, Rihanna said that they're like "best friends with a baby."
"I'm just sitting on the sidelines when they're together," she said. "I'm literally the girl trying to get into the boys club, waiting for my turn. He is obsessed with his father... Their connection is undeniable."
A source previously told ET that the Barbados babe always dreamed of being a mom, and she takes so much pride in it that she would love nothing more than to have more children with Rocky in the future.
"Rihanna and A$AP are so in love and have the best time together," the source added. "They are also a great team when it comes to being parents to their baby boy. Rihanna always dreamed of being a mom and she takes a lot of pride in it. She would love to have more children with A$AP in the future."
Pregnant With Baby No. 2
Rihanna is pregnant with the couple's second child together, her rep confirmed to ET on Feb. 12 after she sported a noticeable baby bump during her Super Bowl halftime performance.
Giving birth and being a mom made Rihanna believe in her ability to rock the halftime show, as she told British Vogue, "You know what your body just did. You feel this sense of 'Nothing is impossible.'"
She felt that so much that she only let her pregnancy secret slip to a few people ahead of her performance.
"Rihanna has always done things on her own schedule so she didn’t let her plans for baby number two stop her from committing to doing the show -- she wanted it all!" a source told ET, adding that "when she was further along and shared the news with a very limited few, everyone was very supportive!"
Ahead of the performance, a source told ET about how A$AP has been there for her.
"A$AP has been very supportive throughout her preparation and has really been stepping up his parenting game while she has been busy with rehearsals," the source said, adding, "[A$AP] and her son plan to be there supporting her during her big day."
Indeed, the rapper was spotted supporting his longtime love during her big moment.
"Rihanna adores being a mom and it's her biggest accomplishment in life. Her and A$AP have always wanted to grow their family and have another baby together," a source told ET. "They have been talking about expanding their family for quite some time. Being a mom is a dream come true for Rihanna and she takes so much pride in it."
Watch the video below for more on Rihanna and Rocky's beautiful family!
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky's Son Makes His Debut on 'British Vogue'
A$AP Rocky Cheers on Pregnant Rihanna During Halftime Show
Pregnant Rihanna Delivers Epic Super Bowl Halftime Show: Fans React!