US stars Ashanti and Nelly are engaged and expecting first child together

Ashanti (L) and Nelly (R) rekindled their romance last year
Ashanti (L) and Nelly (R) rekindled their romance last year

Grammy-winning singers Ashanti and Nelly have revealed they are engaged and expecting their first child together.

US star Ashanti, who rekindled her romance with Nelly last year after first being linked in 2003, announced the pregnancy news with an Instagram video showing her getting ready for a performance.

In the video captioned “Baby baby baby baby”, Ashanti’s mother, Tina Douglas, asks her how much time she will need to get ready for the show.

The Foolish singer, wearing a glittery outfit trimmed with fur, replies: “I’m going to need about nine months.”

The 43-year-old later confirmed she is engaged to Just A Dream singer Nelly, real name Cornell Haynes Jr.

“This new year of my life is such a blessing full of love, hope, and anticipation,” Ashanti told Essence magazine.

Motherhood is something that I have looked forward to, and sharing this with my family, fiance, and loyal fans, who have been so supportive of my career, is an amazing experience.”

Rumours initially surfaced about the couple after they were seen together at Nelly’s Black and White Ball at the Four Seasons Hotel in St Louis in December. At the time eagled-eyed fans noticed Ashanti had what seemed to be a baby bump.

In September, Nelly admitted on the Boss Moves with Rasheeda show that their reunion "surprised” the couple.

“It wasn’t anything that we planned. We both were pretty much doing what we do,” he said.

“But sometimes, being separate, you understand one another more. You could be like, ‘Well yo, let me exactly see maybe what they see.’

“We all can be defensive sometimes in our own relationships. We know we wrong but we going to stand on it, you know what I mean? But we all a victim to that.”

The baby will be Ashanti’s first child and Dilemma singer Nelly’s fifth.

The 49-year-old has a daughter and a son with his former partner, Channetta Valentine, and he adopted the two children of his late sister, Jackie Donahue, after she died of leukaemia in 2005.

The family starred in the reality TV show Nellyville in 2014 alongside Nelly’s then-girlfriend Shantel Jackson.