Nicki Minaj and New Husband Kenneth Petty Click Because ‘He Understands Her as a Person,’ Says Friend
The rapper announced she had wed her boyfriend of less than a year, Kenneth Petty, on Monday
The rapper’s friend, musician Derrick Milano, tells PEOPLE that the fact she has known Petty “since they were kids” is one of the reasons why their relationship is so strong. (Minaj, 36, previously confirmed that she met Petty, 41, years ago in her verse on Chance the Rapper’s song “Zanies and Fools” in which she raps, “I met my husband when I was 17 out in Queens / If you love it, let it go, now I know what that means.”)
“He understands her as a person,” Milano says of Petty. “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.”
Milano says he first met Minaj about seven months ago and that he “knew early” Petty would be the one.
“He really values his friends and his family,” he says. “He values his wife, and he really takes care of her. He tries to be the best that he can for her.”
On Monday, Minaj announced that she had tied the knot with Petty by sharing a video of matching “Mr. and Mrs.” mugs and “Bride and Groom” baseball caps on Instagram.
Keeping it simple, Minaj captioned the short clip, “👰🏽🤵🏽😢🙏🏽🎀 Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty 10•21•19” — referencing her new official name and seemingly the day that she and Petty officially tied the knot.
Milano — who co-wrote “Hot Girl Summer” with Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and Ty Dolla $ign — says that he’s at the couple’s house “every day” and that Minaj is “super happy” to officially be married to Petty.
“She’s in a good space,” he says. “Like I said, he supports her in everything she does so it helps out and keeps her level-headed.”
Milano also shared his congratulations on Instagram, posting a photo of the couple with the caption, “Congrats to my sis @nickiminaj & my brother Zoo! Excited for the both of y’all!”
As for the wedding, a source tells PEOPLE that Minaj wanted to keep it “low-key.”
“She’s become much more private over the last year, but she is very happy,” the source says.
“We still had to pick it up and I was traveling, by the time I came back, we had to renew it again,” she explained. “From that time, you have 90 days to get married. That was about a week ago, so now I have about 80 days.”
Even though she made it official, Minaj still had music priorities to attend to.
“I have to work on my album and I have a lot to focus on that I don’t want to do the big wedding now,” she said at the time. “We’ll do the big wedding later.”
The rapper then raved about her beau, saying, “I’m very happy about that because my baby makes me so happy.”
Minaj and Petty have been dating since 2018, going Instagram-official with their relationship in December of that year.
“He want me to be his wife- his MISSIS like SIPPI NOW,” she captioned a series of photos of the two of them laughing together later that month at her birthday party (as well as a video of her grinding up on him).
Since then, the two have been hot and heavy on social media, posing in photo after photo together. Petty even debuted a new tattoo of the rapper’s birth name, Onika, weeks after they went live with their love.
In March, Minaj sparked questions about whether or not she had married Petty after calling him her “husband” on her radio show.
“Every night when I get out of the shower, my husband takes this really good lotion that we just bought, and he massages my feet, and rubs them, and he rubs each toe individually, and the heel, and the ball of my foot, and he does it all,” she said.
The same month, she posted a photo with Petty in France, along with the caption: “Bae out in Paris.”
The video featured Minaj and Petty in a hot tub as she sang, “I f— him like I miss him / He just came out of prison” — a line that fans interpreted as reference to Petty’s criminal record (He is a registered sex offender in the state of New York and served time in prison for manslaughter after being convicted in 2002).
Many fans have expressed concern over Petty’s criminal past, but Minaj doesn’t appear to care about the criticism.
Responding to commenters on Instagram in December, Minaj said, “He was 15, she was 16 … in a relationship. But go awf Internet. Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”