vía Leila Cobo (Billboard):
In the final months of Latin trap artist Anuel AA’s two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a 2016 arms possession arrest, he started following reggaetón artist Karol G on Instagram while out on parole, leaving comments like “Bebecita” (“Little baby”). Within a month of his release, the two were speaking on the phone. Eventually, they remotely collaborated on “Culpables” (“Guilty”), which tells the story of a couple that falls in love while dating other people. (Anuel AA and Karol G were both in relationships when they started talking.) It wasn’t until the shoot for the track’s music video, though, that they finally met.
“I told my manager [Frabian Eli], ‘She’s going to be my wife, I swear,’” says Anuel AA during a recent lunch at Miami’s Novecento steakhouse. Karol G sits beside him. “That’s exactly what happened,” she says, resting her head on his shoulder. In the beginning, they agree, she played hard to get, ignoring his multiple daily WhatsApp messages. “He literally spoke to himself every day,” she says. “He’d write, ‘How are you,’ at 6 a.m. Then, ‘I hope you’re fine,’ at 10 a.m. ‘I saw you on Instagram,’ at 4 p.m. I’d finally reply late at night.”
They are disarmingly in love. “Déjate llevar,” (“Let yourself go,”) she says to him, encouraging him to try the provoletta that arrives at the table. When they talk fashion, he tells her the same thing. They often finish each other’s sentences, Karol G speaking in the formal dialect of her native Medellín, Colombia, and he in Puerto Rican slang. Their real names — Carolina and Emmanuel — are tattooed on their hands, and a photo of them touching tongues is inked across the entirety of Anuel AA’s back. The ink, however, pales in comparison with the massive emerald framed by diamonds on her ring finger. (He wears a band of rubies and diamonds.) Her ring has sparked speculation of an engagement, though Anuel AA insists it’s more symbolic.
While in jail in Puerto Rico, Anuel AA only saw his nascent fame grow, and he made international news when he dropped his debut on the day he was released on his own label Real Hasta la Muerte (GLAD Empire distributed the album, but Anuel AA has since signed a distribution deal with The Orchard). As a solo artist, he has had four Hot 100 hits, including collaborations with 6ix9ine and Meek Mill, and has grossed $5.2 million from 13 shows on his first-ever U.S. tour last fall, according to Billboard Boxscore.
Karol G, signed to Universal Music Latin Entertainment, has had three top 10 hits of her own on Hot Latin Songs. She won best new artist at the 2018 Latin Grammy Awards and has scored endorsement deals with Nissan and CÎROC. She has painstakingly crafted a clean image, even turning down songs she deemed too sexual or lyrically objectionable — all of which makes her relationship with Anuel AA, whose lyrics are often raunchy and explicit, even more of an eyebrow-raiser.