Who Is Nicki Minaj’s Husband? All About Kenneth Petty

Nicki Minaj met her now-husband Kenneth “Zoo” Petty when she was just a teenager.

The pair first crossed paths when they were students at the same high school. The two lost touch for years before reconnecting in 2018, leading to a whirlwind

romance. Minaj and Petty wed in 2019 and welcomed a son in 2020.

“He understands her as a person,” Minaj’s friend and musician Derrick Milano told PEOPLE in October 2019. “I think that’s what the connection really is with them — it’s that he really knows her. It’s a different type of connection. He’s not famous, he doesn’t want to be on Instagram. Like, that’s not his M.O. (modus operandi). He’s really focused on her.”

Despite their low-key relationship, Petty’s legal troubles have made headlines in recent years. He is a level two registered sex offender in New York and spent several years in jail for both attempted rape in the first degree and first-degree manslaughter.

So who is Nicki Minaj’s husband? Here’s everything to know about Kenneth Petty and his relationship with the rapper.

He and Minaj met in high school

Minaj and Petty attended LaGuardia High School in New York City together when they were teenagers living in Queens. They dated briefly at the time, but lost touch over the years before reconnecting in 2018.

Minaj has talked about her early days with Petty in several instances. She mentioned the romance in Chance the Rapper’s 2019 hit “Zanies and Fools.” “I met my husband when I was 17 out in Queens / If you love it, let it go, now I know what that means / While he was up North for a body / I bodied everybody and got known for my body,” she raps on the track.

In January 2019, she shared details about their teen relationship on Twitter. “We were like this about each other since we were very young kids in the hood,” she wrote. “He was on my body before the big ol’ ghetto booty. Before the fame and fortune. Fought my boyfriend cuz I wouldn’t be his girl. He was always a lil brazy. But anyway, timing is everything.”

He and Minaj have been back together since 2018

The duo reunited in 2018 and went public with their romance that December when Minaj shared an Instagram slideshow of the pair. “He want me to be his wife – his MISSIS like SIPPI NOW,” she captioned the photos, which showed them laughing, smiling and cuddling.

Not long after, Petty debuted a massive neck tattoo of Minaj’s birth name, Onika. “Did ya tat hurt zaddy? His first tat – frontin like it didn’t sting #Onika #HeavyOnIt” she captioned a post unveiling his new ink.

He’s a registered sex offender

Petty was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree in April 1995 for an assault the previous year of a then-16-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 18 to 54 months in prison and is listed as a level two registered sex offender in New York state. He served four years behind bars for the assault.

When Minaj’s followers began bringing attention to Petty’s past on her early social media posts with him, she turned comments off and defended her man. “He was 15, she was 16 … in a relationship. But go awf Internet,” she wrote. “Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”

Petty was arrested again in March 2020 because he failed to register as a sex offender when he moved in with Minaj in California. He originally pled not guilty and posted $100,000 bail, according to records accessed by PEOPLE, but in September 2021, he pled guilty during a virtual hearing and faced up to 10 years of prison.

In July 2022, Petty was sentenced to a year of house arrest and three years of probation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, plus a $55,000 fine.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter

Petty pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree for killing a man named Lamont Robinson in 2002. He was originally charged with second-degree murder during the 2006 trial, but a plea bargain reduced the charge.

“The defendant, Kenneth Petty, shot the deceased, Lamont Robinson, with a loaded handgun multiple times thereby causing his death,” the complaint obtained by The Blast read.

Petty was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released after serving seven in 2013 and was on supervised release for five years, records accessed by PEOPLE show.

Minaj has repeatedly defended their relationship

In July 2019, Minaj spoke out against critics of her relationship on an episode of her Queen Radio podcast. “When a person is with a n— that loved them before they had a dime in their pocket? How do you not understand that? How do you not understand happiness vs clout?” she said, according to E! News

“How f—ing dare you talk about lowering standards? It’s the truth, money cannot buy me happiness and good sex,” she finished.

Talk show host Wendy Williams found herself in Minaj’s crosshairs when she brought up Petty’s prior issues with the law in November 2019. “Now, he served seven years in prison and he’s also a sex offender,” Williams said on her show. “So that means that he — is a manslaughter a killer? Okay, so he’s a killer and a sex offender. Well Nicki, congratulations.

“Every time you mention him you feel the need to bring these things up,” Minaj hit back on Queen Radio. She continued, “I didn’t know that in our society, you have to be plagued by your past. I didn’t know that people can’t turn over a new leaf. I didn’t know that your viciousness and evilness was this deep-rooted, this deep-seeded.”

He and Minaj got married in October 2019

Minaj first sparked marriage rumors by calling Petty her “husband” in March 2019. “We did get our marriage license,” she later confirmed on her Apple Beats 1 show in June of the same year. “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.”

The rapper further added in August 2019 that she would be married in “about 80 days.” “We still had to pick it up and I was traveling, by the time I came back, we had to renew it again,” she said. “From that time, you have 90 days to get married. That was about a week ago, so now I have about 80 days.”

On Oct. 21, 2019, Minaj confirmed she was officially a married woman with an Instagram post. “Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty 10*21*19,” she captioned a video of some “bride” and “groom” swag, also revealing she hyphenated her last name.

Little is known about Minaj and Perry’s wedding, but a source told PEOPLE that Minaj “wanted to keep her wedding low-key.”

“She’s become much more private over the last year, but she is very happy,” the insider added.

Eight months later, while chatting with Lil Wayne on her show, Minaj opened up about married life.

“I didn’t think it would be as refreshing and calming as it is,” she said. “Even if you’re not married, when you have someone that feels like your soulmate or someone who understands you, it just makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”

He and Minaj share a son

Minaj confirmed she was expecting her first child with Petty in July 2020. “#Preggers 💛,” she captioned an image of her cradling her baby bump. “Love. Marriage. Baby carriage. Overflowing with excitement and gratitude. Thank you all for the well wishes,” she added in another caption,

Their child, whose name still hasn’t been revealed, was born on Sept. 30, 2020, PEOPLE confirmed at the time. Minaj revealed the sex of her little one two weeks later, on Oct. 20, while showing off a congratulatory note from Beyoncé and other celebrities.

“Thank you to Queen B, Kim & Ye, Riccardo Tisci, Winnie, Karol & everyone who sent well wishes during this time. It meant the world to me,” she wrote on Instagram. “I am so grateful and in love with my son. Madly in love,” she added. “My favorite liddo boy in the whole wide world.”

Minaj later shared details of the moment she and her husband realized her water broke. “I was butt naked,” she wrote on Twitter. “Just got out the shower and I asked him to rub my back. As soon as I started scooting over to him in the bed I just felt the water start coming out. I was weirdly calm and I quietly said ‘omg, I’m about to be in labor.’ He was very scared and I was laughing at him.”