The Truth About Beyonce And Jay-Z’s Marriage


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By Stephanie Kaloi/Sept. 3, 2021 12:57 pm EDT

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are two people who truly need no introduction, but allow us to walk you through one just in case. Shawn Corey Carter, aka Jay-Z, was born on December 4, 1969. He got his start in music when he founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996 and released his own album, “Reasonable Doubt,” to tremendous critical praise (per CNBC). Since then, Jay-Z has gone on to tack on quite a few titles and roles: businessman, rapper, songwriter, and record executive to name a few.

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, on the other hand, entered the world on September 4, 1981 (bless the day). She began performing as a child and quickly shot to stardom as one of the members of the 1990s singing group Destiny’s Child. In addition to singing and performing, Beyoncé designs her own clothing line and has inspired a legion of fans so rabid they have been coined the Beyhive (via The Guardian).

With this much star power between them, it was only a matter time before Jay-Z and Beyoncé met. Here’s a look into their marriage, including the ups, downs, and everything that’s happened in between (that we know of).

Beyoncé and Jay-Z met on a flight in 2000 and began dating a year later

Beyoncé and Jay-Z met the old-fashioned way: on a flight to Cancun! You know, just like the rest of us. The details of their meeting weren’t clear for years; in 2008, Beyoncé revealed People that she was 18 years old when the pair met, noting that they started dating a year later (via PopSugar). Brides confirmed that the two were seated next to one another on a flight to the MTV Spring Break Music Festival in 2000. 

Jay-Z eventually confirmed the story as well, as he rapped on the song “713,” “We played it cool at the pool in Cancun VMA,” adding, as noted on Beyoncé’s website, “Fate had me sittin’ next to you on a plane / And I knew straight away.”

Though they had met, neither made a move until the following year. Beyoncé explained to Oprah Winfrey that the two were friends for quite some time before taking the plunge. “We were friends first for a year and a half before we went on any dates. We were on the phone for a year and a half, and that foundation is so important for a relationship. Just to have someone who you just like is so important, and someone [who] is honest,” she shared (via People).

This power couple collaborated on music before they got married

When speaking to Beyoncé in 2013, Oprah Winfrey found the fact that she and Jay-Z didn’t confirm their relationship for years endlessly funny. In an interview, she recalled (via People), “I remember the first time you were on the ‘Oprah’ show, I told you, ‘Don’t go around telling people who you’re dating.’ I think you took that all the way.” Instead, it seems like the two decided to let their work speak, or perhaps sing or rap, for itself.

In October 2002, Beyoncé appeared on Jay-Z’s song “’03 Bonnie and Clyde,” and while promoting the song, Jay-Z told Playboy nothing romantic existed between them. “I used to see her all the time,” he said. “We’re not engaged or anything, by the way. We’re just cool. We’re just friends. We don’t really, ah, know each other like that yet.”

The whispers that surrounded the couple essentially became screams when Beyoncé dropped her first-ever solo single, “Crazy In Love,” and fans realized the song was yet another collaboration with Jay-Z (via Cosmopolitan). Of course, the pair would go on to release many more collaborations over the years and during their marriage.

Why Beyoncé and Jay-Z had an ultra-private wedding

Fans were elated when it was revealed that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had married in an ultra-private wedding on April 4, 2008. A guest revealed to People that there were just around 40 attendees, the wedding atmosphere was thick with emotion, and there were a lot of tears. Hair stylist Marvin Bull — who took care of Jay-Z’s mom, grandmother, sister, and niece at the Devachan Salon before the event — also confirmed the news to the outlet, noting, “I said, ‘I know there’s a wedding today,’ and they were laughing. [His mom] was saying they wanted it very small, so not many people got invited.”

Curiously, Beyoncé and Jay-Z didn’t directly confirm the news themselves. OK! magazine’s Laura Schreffler explained to MTV News that the two are just private like that. As many fans know, it took the two a long time to even come clean about being together, so in the end, it’s not a surprise that their wedding a secret to most. “I don’t think they’ll admit [to getting married] now, and I don’t think they have to,” Schreffler said. “They have no one to answer to.”

In the end, it seems that the two kept things private because their lives are already so public; they just didn’t have a need to add any more fuel to the media fire.

Beyoncé revealed she was pregnant in 2011 after having miscarriages

Three years later, there was even more to celebrate: Beyoncé shared that she was pregnant with the couple’s first child at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (via Us Weekly). The singer later gave birth to the pair’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, on January 7, 2012.

In an interview with Vogue, Beyoncé recounted what her birthing experience was like, noting that she felt especially connected to Blue during the experience. “I felt like when I was having contractions, I envisioned my child pushing through a very heavy door,” she shared (via the Daily Mail). She followed that up by explaining that she really imagined her unborn daughter “doing all the work” to be born, which helped her focus on something besides the pain of childbirth.

Several years later, the singer opened up to Elle about her daughter again after sharing that she’d lost multiple pregnancies before conceiving her firstborn. “Success looks different to me now. I learned that all pain and loss is in fact a gift. Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else,” she said. “Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper.”

Rumors that Jay-Z was cheating began back in 2005

Unfortunately for the twosome, rumors that Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé have followed them for years. In 2005, many people believed that Jay-Z and Beyoncé broke up because he cheated on her with Rihanna, according to Cosmopolitan. A source, biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, later alleged that the rumors were said to have been made up to help launch Rihanna’s career, but that didn’t stop the gossip mills from coming up with more. 

Beyoncé did little to quell those rumors herself when she released the songs “Resentment” and “Ring the Alarm” in 2006. In “Resentment,” she sings of being cheated on: “I know she was attractive, but I was here first / Been ridin’ with you for six years / Why did I deserve to be treated this way by you?” In “Ring the Alarm,” she intones, “Tell me how should I feel / When I know what I know / And my female intuition / Telling me you a dog.”

Rumors surfaced again in 2013, when some believed Jay-Z was cheating on Beyoncé again — this time with Rita Ora. Jay-Z later explained that everything with Beyoncé wasn’t completely perfect. “I just ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100% truth and it starts cracking,” he said, as shared by New York magazine (via W magazine). “Things start happening that the public can see.”

Things exploded when Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Solange Knowles were caught in a fight

The rumors appeared to be all but confirmed in May 2014 when footage captured in an elevator at the year’s Met Gala after party seemed to show Beyoncé’s sister, Solange Knowles, physically and verbally berating Jay-Z. Since then, the moments leading up to this startling moment have been recounted over and over again: Beyoncé and Jay-Z arrived at the Gala and, according to what an attendee told Us Weekly, “went inside, arm-in-arm.” An anonymous source also confirmed to the publication that the pair seemed fine at the after party itself and that nothing “out of the ordinary” happened.

In the footage, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Solange, and another man are seen getting into an elevator together. After the doors close, Solange appears to speak to Jay-Z before she begins to kick and punch him as Beyoncé does nothing. After the other man grabs her, Solange stops (via TMZ). According to Cosmopolitan, the whole ordeal was in response to Jay-Z allegedly cheating with Rachel Roy.

Notably, it’s also been rumored that Jay-Z has allegedly cheated with rapper LIV, Casey Cohen, and Claudia Scheelan.

Beyoncé's ultra-personal album Lemonade addressed her pain

In 2016, Beyoncé unleashed “Lemonade” upon the underserving masses and appeared to rip the lid off everything. The entire album is an ode to hope, joy, pain, anger, loss, and redemption. As The New Yorker put it, “Lemonade” is “a piece of spoken word, a narrative film, a map of cultural reference points, and a window into the soul of an icon whose inner life has always seemed just out of reach.”

Once the curtain was pulled back, it seemed that the once-private star had a hard time not talking about what happened in her marriage. She told Vogue that “broken” relationships are part of her heritage, and her fervent hope is that her children do not know that pain. “I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. … I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.”

In 2019, Beyoncé told Elle that she had to be “reborn” to move forward after dying in her relationship. With “Lemonade,” Beyoncé appeared to confirm what everyone already knew, and all eyes shifted to Jay-Z.

Jay-Z publicly admitted to cheating

It seemed like it took longer for Jay-Z to confirm the news himself, but he eventually began to publicly own the narrative he forced his wife through. After releasing his own album, “4:44,” after “Lemonade,” Jay-Z seemed to realize that lyrics didn’t exactly spell things out the way fans of the couple needed him to. For instance, on the song “4:44,” he rapped (via Genius), “And I apologize ’cause at your best, you are love / And because I fall short of what I say I’m all about / Your eyes leave with the soul that your body once housed / And you stare blankly into space / Thinkin’ of all the time, you wasted it on all this basic s**t / So I apologize”

While speaking to T Magazine, Jay-Z came clean. The rapper said that growing up under difficult circumstances taught him to “go into survival mode,” which in turn taught him to distance himself from his emotions as a way to cope. “In my case, like it’s, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity … ,” he said.

The rapper and entrepreneur shared why he fought for his marriage

Once he opened up, Jay-Z took things a step further and went into detail about the work he had to do to heal his marriage from the inside out. After being asked by CNN’s Van Jones why he wanted to save his marriage in the first place, Jay-Z said the answer was clear. “Well, that’s my soulmate. It’s the person I love,” he shared. “And you can be in love with someone, you can love someone … and if you haven’t experienced love and you don’t understand it and you don’t have the tools to move forward, then you’re going to have complications, period.”

He added that the couple also chose to work on things together for the three people who matter the most to them: their children, Blue Ivy and twins Sir and Rumi. As he explained, the choice was pretty clear: discuss and overcome the problem at hand or behave as if it doesn’t exist and watch the life they had built fall apart. In the end, they had to push each other to fight for a brighter future and a new reality for their children.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z used music to heal their relationship

One way Beyoncé and Jay-Z healed their marriage was through the art that brought them together in the first place: music. The pair released “Lemonade” and “4:44” only about a year apart, and Jay-Z later revealed that the albums were recorded at the same time. The process was ultimately rewarding, though it required the two to sit together through the pain they now shared.

Jay-Z told Vogue that while they were originally working on a joint album, things shifted. “It happened — we were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together,” he explained. “And then the music she was making at that time was further along. So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on.”

He was also asked what it was like to hear one another’s lyrics, especially as they were so often about an experience the two would likely want to put behind themselves. Jay-Z poetically compared the situation to being in the eye of a hurricane, noting that the safest place to be is right in the middle. Eventually, the two would go on to release their joint album “Everything Is Love” in 2018 (via Pitchfork).

This is what Beyoncé and Jay-Z want for their kids

Happily, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have made it work, possibly beyond even their wildest dreams. In addition to Blue Ivy, the two are mom and dad to twins Sir and Rumi, who were born on June 13, 2017 (via People).

Since becoming parents, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have seemed to retreat back into their shells in a bid to protect their children from public scrutiny. But every so often, one of them opens up about parenting and what their parenting styles are like. Beyoncé told Vogue that parenthood often weighs heavily on her mind. As a woman and parent of two daughters, she said that she wants to make sure her daughters can see themselves reflected in the media and culture around them. “It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives,” she noted. When it comes to her son, she has her own hopes, saying, “I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys.” 

Jay-Z similarly told The Times that he just hopes his children feel loved. “Feeling loved is the most important thing a child needs, you know? Not ‘Here’s this business that I’m going to hand over to you, that I’m creating for you.'”

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