Timbaland Admitted He Married His Wife Because She Looked Like Aaliyah

Timbaland has been a looming presence in hip-hop for over two decades. He’s produced hit records for some of the biggest names in music including Missy Elliott and Aaliyah; his latest venture Verzuz with Swizz Beatz has become music’s hottest competition show during the pandemic.

Timbaland
Timbaland attends the Rihanna Party at The New York Edition on September 10, 2015 in New York City | Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for EDITION

Inside Timbaland and Aaliyah’s relationship 

Timbaland first began producing in the early 1990s for R&B groups such as Jodeci and Sista. He made his mainstream breakthrough in 1996 by producing the majority of both Aaliyah’s second album One in a Million and Ginuwine’s debut album Ginuwine…the Bachelor. This included the major hit singles “If Your Girl Only Knew” by Aaliyah and “Pony” by Ginuwine.

The following year, Timbaland produced the entirety of Missy Elliott’s debut album Supa Dupa Fly. Elliott and Timbaland have been friends since childhood, and some of his earliest work was for Elliott’s group Sista.

Timbaland continued to produce songs for Aaliyah throughout the late ’90s and on her 2001 self-titled album. He wrote and produced Aaliyah’s hit singles “We Need a Resolution” and “More Than a Woman, and teamed up with Elliott to create “I Care 4 U.”

Aaliyah
1997 file photo of Aaliyah at the Soul Train Awards | Barry King/WireImage

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Did Aaliyah and Timbaland ever date?

It turns out that Timbaland’s relationship with Aaliyah was much more than professional on his end. When he first met the Princess of R&B, he had more romantic thoughts on his mind.

In his True Hollywood Story that aired in 2011, the songwriter recalled the time he and Aaliyah first crossed paths in the mid-1990s — when he was 23, and she was 16.

According to Timbaland, he instantly fell in love with the singer at first sight. “When I first met Aaliyah — it’s time for the world to hear this, I’m gonna give up a little secret — I was in love with her,” he revealed.

“I said, ‘She’s just a baby; I’m old.’ I said to myself, ‘I’m just gonna be her brother,'” he continued. “Oh man, I was fighting, I was fighting a lot — a big war. But I loved Aaliyah.”

Timbaland (L) and Monique Idlett
Record producer Timbaland (L) and Monique Idlett pose for portrait at Poo Bear GRAMMY Party at Serafina Sunset on February 10, 2017 in West Hollywood, California | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Timbaland married his ex-wife because she looked like Aaliyah

As if the news that he had a crush on an underage Aaliyah wasn’t surprising enough, Timbaland also claimed that he first noticed his future wife, entertainment executive Monique Idlett, at a music event in Jamaica because of her resemblance to the late singer.

“When I first met my wife, I knew I was going to marry her because she looked like Aaliyah,” he said frankly.

Aaliyah famously married R. Kelly when she was just a teenager and was one of Kelly’s many victims of sexual assault. After the release of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries in 2019, Timbaland came under fire for the comments he made on True Hollywood Story almost a decade prior.