“It’s a personal thing,” she tells PEOPLE in a candid interview in Atlanta ahead of the Super Bowl, opening up about her relationship with the 27-year-old Migos rapper, including their breakup and recent reconciliation.
Asked about the intense social media speculation over their coupling, the “I Like It” singer, 26, says: “I feel like we just really are a very regular couple.”
“We just do regular things,” she continues. “I just feel like: We’re famous … we’re really popular right now — I just don’t know the obsession, like I feel like everything we do is a big deal. Even before the bad scandals, just from the first time they seen us together, it was just like this big crazy deal.”
But she tries to tune out the spotlight.
“My relationship — my marriage — is not for them,” says Cardi, who shares 6-month-old daughter Kulture Kiari with Offset. “It’s not for them.”
Still, she says, they are “just taking things slow. We have a baby right now. That’s like our real big focus.”
“I hang out with him, I talk to him every day and we do our thing,” Cardi says of Offset. “It’s just like — to make things perfect … it takes time. You know, f—ing and hanging out doesn’t mean that you guys are on like a perfect note, it takes time. It takes time. And it’s a marriage and there’s a child involved and family involved.”
The pair, who began dating in 2017 and secretly wed that September, actually a month before he proposed to her at a concert in Philadelphia, fended off mounting rumors that Offset was unfaithful before Cardi said in December they had split.
“We are really good friends and we are really good business partners — you know he’s always somebody that I run to talk to, and we got a lot of love for each other — but things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time,” she wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post.
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For his part, Offset alluded to the cheating allegations in a lengthy Instagram post of his own later in December, writing: “I was partaking in activity that I shouldn’t have been partaking in, and I apologize. You know what I’m saying? For breaking your heart, for breaking our promise, for breaking God’s promise and being a selfish, messed up husband.”
By the end of January, however, Cardi was teasing that they were trying to solve their problems.
“We working things out, baby,” she told reporters in New York City.
A source close to the couple later told PEOPLE that Offset “has been pursuing her hard and trying to convince her to get back together with him since the day they split.”
He also vowed he’d “behave,” the source said.
Speaking with PEOPLE in Atlanta, Cardi says she and Offset, a Georgia native, have plans to spend time together this weekend in the place he knows best. (Their daughter didn’t make the trip south: “I just felt like it was too hectic for her,” Cardi says.)
“This is his city,” she says. “And I don’t really know much about this city. I know that this city’s almost like the Wild Wild West, so it’s just like I know that he protect me the most. He knows everything.”
She discusses their challenges openly — and she dismisses the idea that it’s unusual.
“My story with him, I hear so many people that it’s the same,” she explains. “I don’t understand why mine is just such a big deal.”
“People are so quick to be like, ‘You should just date somebody else,’ ” she says. “It’s like, Honey, I’m not like you — I’m famous. I gotta consider who I’m dating, I gotta make sure people will have me for me. And I have a kid. … We are a package. It’s not just Cardi, it’s Cardi and Kulture.”
But that’s not the last thing she wants to talk about. With the Grammys days away — where she is set to perform and could also win album of the year and record of the year, among other accolades; not to mention a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial — she’s focused on succeeding.
“I don’t even care,” she says. “I got so much work.”