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2018 MTV Europe Music Awards

Source: Dutch Press Photo/ / WENN

Nicki Minaj has the Internet and much of the free world all abuzz regarding her alleged new boyfriend who has a checkered past of run-ins with the law. According to a new report, Kenneth “Zoo” Petty is a former love of Minaj from back when she was a teenager.

TMZ reports:

Sources close to Nicki tell TMZ … her first relationship with Kenneth Petty happened when she was a 16-year-old living in Queens, and she calls him one of her first loves. As they say, what’s old is new again … she’s been showing him off in pics from a romantic getaway for her 36th birthday.

We’re told Nicki understands Kenneth has a troubled past — he’s a registered sex offender convicted of attempted rape — but she’s confident he’s matured since his time in NY state prison in the late 1990s. Nicki believes in second chances and has faith he’ll be good to her.

As we reported … Petty was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in April 1995, when he and his victim were both 16. Sources close to Nicki say the full context of the crime is Kenneth was dating the victim — and her mother filed the charges because she didn’t approve of him.

The outlet adds that sources close to the star say that reconnecting with Petty has made Minaj that happiest she’s been in years.