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Nelly has achieved tremendous success, financially and socially, as a rapper, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, philanthropist, reality TV star and actor.
He began rapping while in high school with a couple of friends and his half-brother as they formed a group called St. Lunatics and became popular in St. Louis with their 1997 song, Gimme What Ya Got.
Signed as a solo act to a record label in 1999, his first song, Country Grammar peaked on Billboard at No. 7.
Best Known For
With 21 million sold albums, he is America’s 4th best selling rapper ever with songs like Dilemma, Hot In Herre, Just A Dream and Ride Wit Me.
He starred in 2005 film, The Longest Yard and in the reality series, The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep (2012), Nellyville (2014-15), Real Husbands of Hollywood (2013-16) and The Platinum Life (2017-date).
Nelly is straight and has been in a committed relationship with Shantel Jackson since 2014. The last 10 years before that, he was in on-and-off relationships with Lashontae Heckard and Ashanti. He was also with Eve for 3 years and has had affairs with Karrine Steffans, Nicole Narain, Kat Stacks and a few others.
He was named Cornell Hayes Jr. by his parents, Cornell Haynes and Rhonda Mack. He had a big sister named Jackie Donahue (died of leukemia in 2005) and his half-brother is Lavell Webb.
He fathers 4 children; daughter Chanel (born 1994) and son Cornell III (born 2002) as well as his sister’s kids, Sydney and Shawn.
Nelly appears to be a Christian. He describes himself as a man of faith and has emphasized in an interview that he is spiritual.
Worth To Know
He is the man behind fashion brands like Apple Bottoms, Vokal and energy drink, Pimp Juice.
Some of the trademark trends Nelly started include wearing a football jersey backwards and putting a strip of plaster under one eye.