Ashanti confirms she and Nelly are back together as she holds purse with their photo at 2023 MTV VMAs

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Ashanti has confirmed that she and Nelly are back together with a sentimental accessory at the 2023 MTV VMAs.

On Tuesday 12 September, Ashanti, 42, arrived on the pink carpet at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, for the awards celebrating the best music videos and artists of the year.

For the occasion, Ashanti, who presented an award at the ceremony with French Montana, wore a gold glittering gown with a bedazzled, turtle-inspired bra.

She accessorised the look with a sweet relationship memento, as she carried a clutch with a throwback photo of herself and her former partner Nelly, who she dated for nearly a decade.

The 20-year-old photo proved to be confirmation that the pair had rekindled their romance, with the “Only U” singer telling People on the pink carpet: “We’re in a great space, everything is positive, we’re having a lot of fun.”

Ashanti also confirmed the relationship news while speaking to Today on the carpet ahead of the awards show, telling the outlet that the timing of the relationship is especially serendipitous because the VMAs “is where [they] first exchanged numbers”.

“I was like: ‘Oh, this would be cute,’” she said. “Everything is lining up in the universe. So I’m happy.”

 (Getty Images for MTV)
(Getty Images for MTV)
 (Getty Images for MTV)
(Getty Images for MTV)

Ashanti’s confirmation came after Nelly made the relationship revelation earlier in the day during an appearance on Philo TV’s Boss Moves With Rasheeda.

“Yeah. We cool again,” Nelly said. “We cool again. I think it surprised both of us, though. It wasn’t anything that was, like, I don’t think planned. I think we both was pretty much doing what we do. But sometimes being separate, you understand one another more.”

During the episode, Nelly also suggested that the pair’s relationship didn’t work out the first time because of their focus on their respective careers. “You know, before, I felt like both of us were doing what we’re doing career-wise,” he explained. “When you got so many people in the middle of it, it can be tough.”

Ashanti and Nelly began dating in 2003, and dated for nearly 10 years before ending their relationship in 2013. However, the pair have reunited on a number of occasions since then, with fans speculating that the duo has been in an on-and-off again relationship.

Following the confirmation that they are officially back together, fans have shared their support for the couple. “Now that is love,” one person tweeted, while another said: “The picture on Ashanti’s purse is a picture they took 20 years ago at the VMAs. How beautiful.”