Inside Nicki Minaj and Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty’s Court Case

Nicki Minaj has sold millions of records worldwide and opened doors for female rappers like her to follow in her footsteps. Her marriage to Kenneth “Zoo” Petty, however, has been the subject of criticism in recent years. In August 2021, it finally amounted to a lawsuit against both Petty and Minaj herself.

Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty attend the Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 runway show during New York Fashion Week
Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs

Nicki Minaj and Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty’s relationship started when they were teenagers

Minaj and Petty’s relationship dates back decades. They grew up together in Queens, New York, and dated when they were teenagers. But after they broke up, several years passed and Minaj became a world-renowned rapper.

Minaj and Petty rekindled their relationship in 2018, and they were married the following year. In September 2020, Minaj gave birth to her first child, a son, whom she had with Petty.

From the beginning of their relationship in 2018, Minaj has been lambasted for dating Petty, who has a criminal record dating back to the 1990s.

Kenneth “'Zoo”' Petty (L) and Nicki Minaj attend Church On Sundays Hosted By Nicki Minaj And Phil The Mayor And DJ Clues Birthday Party at The Argyle
Kenneth “’Zoo”’ Petty (L) and Nicki Minaj | Johnny Nuñez/Getty Images

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Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty’s criminal past

Court documents obtained by The Blast in 2018 showed that Petty was charged with attempted rape in September 1994. According to court records, a woman named Jennifer Hough was walking to school when Petty walked up behind her, pressed an object against her back and told her to “keep walking” to his house, then allegedly began to rape her at knifepoint. She escaped after hitting him with a bottle.

Petty denied the rape allegation upon his arrest, while Hough immediately reported the incident. Hough alleged in court documents that Petty’s parents responded to her claims by telling her adoptive family that the two were dating, when Hough claimed they weren’t a couple.

According to Newsweek, Petty was arrested again in March 2020 for failing to register as a sex offender in California where he currently lives. Petty pled guilty, and the court simply ordered him to wear an ankle monitor and abide by a curfew.  

Nicki Minaj and Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty are being sued by Jennifer Hough

In August 2021, both Petty and Minaj herself were sued by Hough in civil court. Hough felt it was necessary after the treatment she received from Minaj and her team.

Hough alleged in the lawsuit that Minaj and several of her associates offered her money to change her story after Petty was arrested in 2020. She declined their offer, and within days, she and her family “suffered an onslaught of harassing calls and unsolicited visits.” Hough alleged that Minaj had lawyers reach out to her brother shortly after that and offered a $500,000 payment in exchange for her taking back her story.

Hough was allegedly offered one more bribe of $20,000 and received another alleged threat to her safety, which she again declined. Hough believes Minaj and Petty are guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as harassment and witness intimidation.

According to Hough, Minaj continued to send lawyers to her home and pressure her into recanting her story. Hough no longer felt safe in her own home, and was forced to move in August 2020.