Nicki Minaj Has Faced Criticism for Her Marriage to Kenneth Petty

"I think I have what I was striving for, just happiness," Nicki said after getting her marriage license in 2019.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Jun. 11 2024, Updated 2:37 p.m. ET

Nicki Minaj arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Source: Getty Images

Pop and rap icon Nicki Minaj (real name: Onika Tanya Maraj) has faced intense criticism for her relationship with her husband Kenneth Petty since the couple went public with their relationship in December 2018. Kenneth, who has a troubled criminal history, has had fans questioning why Nicki would be with him in the first place.

Despite his tainted record, Nicki has continuously defended her husband.

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In 2018, Nicki addressed the haters by responding to a comment on a Twitter post mentioning Kenneth's past rape conviction. As commenters went in on Nicki’s husband (then boyfriend), the rapper responded by saying, “Y’all can run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life.”

While the two went on to tie the knot, divorce rumors began swirling in 2024, leading many to believe she might be getting divorced. Here's what we know.

Nicki Minaj married her husband, Kenneth Petty, in 2019.

Wedding rumors first began to fly for Nicki and Kenneth when she spoke out about getting a marriage license on her Queen Radio show in June 2019. The rapper said on the June 21 episode that the two had gotten the paperwork to legally wed.

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"We did get our marriage license," she said. "I think I have what I was striving for, just happiness. It was so hard to get to a happy place. Now that I’m there, I don’t want to compromise that for anyone or anything." She later talked about how having a child with Kenneth, which they eventually did. On Sept. 30, 2020, the couple welcomed their son who she often refers to as "Papa Bear."

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Nicki sparked some possible elopement rumors when she referred to Kenneth as her "husband" on the radio show. While Nicki said that she had gotten the license back in June, it wasn't filed until late July. The pair were spotted at the Beverly Hills Courthouse on July 29 getting their marriage license and went on to officially tie the knot in October 2019.

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Divorce rumors began flying in June 2024 after Nicki Minaj posted a cryptic message on Twitter.

Although things to seem be going quite well in the Petty household, Nicki threw her fans for a loop after tweeting "Yes Single..." on June 10, 2024. While some grew concerned that she might be referring to her current relationship status, others believe she was merely referring to a new single she's preparing to drop. What further fueled divorce speculation is a video Nicki shared to her Instagram Stories hours after of her reminiscing about the birth of her son, per Newsweek.

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While Nicki didn't immediately address the rumors, fans are hoping for an update from the "Big Foot" singer. And we're thinking it will likely have something do to with the announcement of new music.

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Nicki's husband, Kenneth Petty, has a troubled past.

Although sources close to Nicki have said that the rapper is the happiest she has ever been, her relationship with Kenneth has been scrutinized since she first shared pictures with him. Kenneth is a registered sex offender, as he was convicted of the attempted rape of a 15-year-old (he was also 16 at the time). Nicki said that Kenneth was in a relationship with the girl he was accused of assaulting.

Nicki Minaj and husband Kenneth Petty seen at a Marc Jacobs NYFW event in 2020
Source: Getty Images
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Kenneth also was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a manslaughter charge. The charge came after he shot and killed someone, but he pleaded guilty and served four years of the sentence.

Who has Nicki Minaj dated?

Nicki has certainly had a string of public relationships (and breakups) that have made her journey toward marriage a long and troubled one. She dated rapper Safaree Samuels for 14 years, and the two officially ended things in 2014. The two later had a Twitter argument, during which Nicki claimed she paid for Safaree to get hair plugs.

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Nicki Minaj and Safaree "SB" Samuels attend the 2013 BET Awards Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE.
Source: Getty Images

Soon after, Nicki began dating another rapper, Meek Mill, but they split in 2017 after dating for two years. Her relationship with Meek Mill also contributed to the end of her long-term friendship with Drake. The pair collaborated on several songs together, but haven't since she dated Meek.

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