Ashanti Calls Pregnancy the 'Greatest Feeling Ever' in Maternity Photos After Marriage to Nelly Confirmed

Ashanti posted a new pregnancy photo posing on a beach on Wednesday

<p>Ashanti/Instagram</p> Nelly and Ashanti


Nelly and Ashanti

Ashanti is glowing in new maternity photos as she prepares to welcome her first baby.

On Wednesday, June 19, the "Foolish" singer, 43, shared a new pregnancy photo posing on the beach in a gold bikini on Instagram, the same day that PEOPLE obtained court documents confirming that she and Nelly legally wed in December 2023.

"The greatest feeling ever. 📸," she captioned the photo, in which she lay on the shoreline of a beach with her head back and her eyes closed, her hair touching the sand as waves approached.

The court documents revealed that the "Body On Me" performers wed on December 27, 2023; the couple had previously revealed that they were engaged and expecting their first baby together in April, but didn't mention their marriage.

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<p>Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock</p> Ashanti in April 2024

Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock

Ashanti in April 2024

Related: Pregnant Ashanti and Nelly Reflect on ‘Special’ Mother’s Day with Their Families: ‘Yeah Yeah I Know I’m Late’

In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ashanti reflected on how she felt when she learned she was going to be a mom for the first time.

"I was so shocked and happy and emotional," Ashanti said of learning she was pregnant. "I always dreamed about it. I wanted it so, so bad and I just feel like the timing was perfect."

She admitted that her now-husband, 49 – who is already a parent to four adult kids including his late sister's two kids whom he adopted after her death – had already suspected the pregnancy when she called him over FaceTime to share the news while she was at his mom's house and he was in the studio.

"He was just like, 'Ahhh, I knew,'" she told ET.

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During the interview, published a day before their marriage was confirmed, the Grammy winner said that it wasn't hard to keep her pregnancy a secret at first because she and Nelly are both "really private people" who keep their personal lives "close to the vest" though there was only so long she could hide her growing belly.

For example, the couple knows the sex of their baby, but they're not revealing it to the world yet.

"I'm excited about seeing this little human version of myself and the person that I love so much be here," she continued of motherhood. "I'm really looking forward to having an extension of both of us, be with us, and watching that spirit grow. It's an amazing thing."

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty </p> Ashanti and Nelly in June 2023

Paras Griffin/Getty

Ashanti and Nelly in June 2023

As for the story behind the photos on the beach, the "Only U" singer said in a video accompanying the story that she felt authentic on the beach and wanted the photos to send a message of empowerment.

"To be on the beach, out in nature and the sunshine, that's what makes me smile and makes me happy genuinely from within," she said.

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