- Publish Date
- Monday, 28 May 2018, 8:35AM
Nicki Minaj and Eminem are not dating, after all.
The internet was quickly set alight when she told a fan on Instagram that the pair were an item.
READ MORE: Nicki Minaj confirms she's dating Eminem
But according to TMZ, a source close to the Chun Li hitmaker has revealed she was only joking about the romance.
The 35-year-old rap beauty had taken to the image-sharing app to promote a new single she's featured on — YG's Big Bank, alongside 2 Chainz and Big Sean — when one of her followers boldly enquired: "You dating Eminem???"
Trinidadian-born Nicki, who was most recently romantically linked to 44-year-old rap veteran Nas, simply wrote back: "Yes."
Interestingly, she mentions Eminem during her verse on Big Bank, rapping: "Uh oh/Back again/Back to back Maybach, stack the M's/Told 'em I met Slim Shady, bag the M/Once he go black, he'll be back again."
While no-one really knew if Nicki was being serious in her response to the enquiring fan, she and Eminem — real name Marshall Mathers III — have long known each other, as they worked together on her hit 2010 single Roman's Revenge.
At the start of January, it was confirmed that Nicki and rapper Nas had parted ways in December after the strain of a long-distance relationship proved "too much", with Nicki living on the west coast in Beverly Hills and Nas based in New York City.
Nas, born Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, is now said to be focusing on his record label and his chicken and waffles joint, Sweet Chick, in the wake of the split, while Nicki also juggles "multiple business ventures outside of music".
At the time, neither party addressed the reports via their social media channels.
The last interaction between the pair was when Nas wished Nicki a happy birthday via his Instagram page on December 8, writing: "Get The MFkN Money! Happy Birthday To The QUEEN OF NY / HIP HOP @nickiminaj."
Nicki and Nas have been friends for many years, but never formally confirmed rumours they were dating.
A source claimed in September: "Nicki and Nas are just very dear friends nothing romantic. They've been friends forever and have seen each other's careers take off.
"Nas is a best friend to her so as of now nothing is stirring up. People always joke around though that they make a great couple!"
In May of last year, the Super Bass hitmaker declared that she was "celibate" and "hated men".
But interestingly she said she was willing to make an exception for her long-time friend Nas.
Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Nicki said: "I'm just chillin' right now. I'm celibate. I wanted to go a year without dating any man. I hate men. I might make an exception to the rule for [Nas], because he's so dope."
The couple were believed to have started dating in June 2017, but sources close to the situation told TMZ "the relationship ran out of steam".
An insider added: "They respect each other, and there won't be any trash talking — but, on the other hand, they won't be hanging out as friends either."
The site also pointed to recent reports claiming Nicki — real name Onika Tanya Maraj — was pregnant with the couple's child, but states there was "no truth" in the rumour.
For his part, in December Eminem opened up about looking for love more than a decade after the end of his marriage to high school sweetheart Kimberly Anne Scott.
The rapper, who was married twice to Kimberly until their second divorce in 2006, revealed he's used the dating app Tinder, as well as jokingly referencing the use of gay app Grindr, and has even gone to strip clubs to meet women.
"It's tough," the 45-year-old told Vulture. "Since my divorce I've had a few dates and nothing's panned out in a way that I wanted to make it public. Dating's just not where I'm at lately."
It's not certain if the rapper was joking about his methods for meeting people, but aside from Tinder, Eminem also said he would also try to find dates on Grindr and at strip clubs. "And Grindr," he told the interviewer with a laugh.
"Going to strip clubs is how I was meeting some chicks," he added. "It was an interesting time for me."
The 8 Mile star assured the interviewer he wasn't lonely, answering whether fame had left him feeling isolated: "Am I lonely? No, I'm good. Thanks for asking though."
Eminem was first married to Kimberly from 1999 to 2001, before re-marrying her in 2006. Their second marriage was short-lived as well, with the couple divorcing again that same year.
Together Eminem and Kimberly have daughter Hailie, who turned 22 on Christmas Day.
Kim also has daughter Whitney from another relationship, who Eminem adopted. The couple also adopted Kim's late sister Dawn's daughter Alaina.