Rapper T.I. never gave up hope of romancing his future wife Tameka Cottle aka Tiny in the early days of their relationship, and continued to pursue the former Xscape singer even after she stood him up.
The "Live Your Life" hitmaker, 30, initially met Cottle through producer Jazze Pha in 2001, before he became a hip-hop superstar, and they exchanged numbers after bumping into each other again in an Atlanta, Georgia mall. But the singer/songwriter, 35, admits she wasn't immediately smitten by T.I. and confesses she snubbed him a "couple of times" after agreeing to go on dates.
She tells Vibe magazine, "T.I. always says I gave him such a hard time when we first met and I did... I stood him up a couple times. When I met him, I was kinda on hiatus, I'd broken from Xscape, but I had co-wrote (sic) the song 'No Scrubs' for TLC, so you know, I was living good and doing my thing..."
"Somehow we exchanged numbers - he was calling me and calling me, wanting to come hook up and I'd be like, 'Yeah, we gonna...let's hook up, such and such' and then I wouldn't answer the phone and he'd be like, 'You know time after time...'"
And it was only when she agreed to attend one of his early concerts that she finally fell for the rapper. She says, "Finally I let him come by, but I still wasn't sure because I felt like, 'Oh, he's a baby' and I treated it like that and he kinda felt like, 'You trying to play me like I'm a little boy.'
"And one night, and it's probably the best thing he could've did (sic), he invited me to one of his shows... First of all, it was jam-packed outside, it was crazy and I'm like, 'All these people (are) here for this guy?' We went in there and he tore the house down. And I was like, 'OK, I think I like him.' He's got something there."
The couple went on to start a family and has two sons together - King, six, and Major, two. T.I. also has three other children from previous relationships, while Cottle is mum to a teenage girl named Zonnique from a prior romance. They wed last summer, four months before T.I. began his latest 11-month prison stint for violating his parole stemming from his 2007 conviction on gun charges.