Queen Bey and Jay — who have twins on the way — have been together for more than 15 years, and both the public and the media have always salivated for details about their relationship. Being the dominant artists they are, Beyoncé, 35, and Jay Z, 47, typically hint about what’s going on in their personal lives through their music, as the private couple rarely does press.
Take a look at the various stages of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s relationship over the years as told by music’s king and queen.
“’03 Bonnie & Clyde”
Beyoncé met Jay Z when she was 18, but the two didn’t rush into a relationship. “We were friends first for a year and a half before we went on any dates,” the “Formation” singer told Oprah Winfrey. “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.”
The “Big Pimpin’” rapper admittedly had to woo the Destiny’s Child singer (“She’s a charming Southern girl, you know; she’s not impressed,” he confessed to Vanity Fair) and was ultimately successful. It wasn’t until they dropped their 2002 hit “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” that relationship rumors swirled, but little did people know they were already each other’s ride or die person in real life.
“Crazy in Love”
The power couple teamed up again for “Crazy in Love” and made their red carpet debut at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards. Behind the scenes, they were just that… crazy in love. Jay Z and Beyoncé never admitted that they were dating but would attend events together and let their actions do the talking without saying a word. That’s a rule they’ve continued to follow during their many years together.
Jay and Bey’s high-profile romance wasn’t without its challenges. On the 2006 track “Resentment,” Beyoncé hinted at infidelity with lines like, “Loving you was easy once upon a time / But now my suspicions of you have multiplied … I know she was attractive, but I was here first / Been ridin’ with you for six years.”
A few months later, Jay Z also referenced relationship troubles on “Lost One,” rapping, “I don’t think it’s meant to be, B/ But she loves her work more than she does me . / And honestly, at 23 / I would probably love my work more than I did she.”
The couple persevered and blessed the world with their divine union, tying the knot in an intimate ceremony on April 4, 2008. Reluctant to divulge too many details, Beyoncé told Essence that they both wanted to keep their relationship private. “What Jay and I have is real,” she explained. “It’s not about interviews or getting the right photo op. It’s real.”
She added, “[Not speaking] controls your brand. It controls what you want to put out there and kind of forces people to talk about what you want them to talk about.”
“Run This Town”
The couple continued to be unstoppable after tying the knot, as Beyoncé even performed at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. You know you’ve made it when you’re BFFs with the first family.
In 2010, Beyoncé took a hiatus from her busy career, and the industry buzzed that she and Jay were expecting their first child. Two years later, the singer revealed that she had had a miscarriage during this time, calling it “one of the hardest things I’ve been through.” Several months later, Beyoncé was pregnant again. In January 2012, she gave birth to their first child, daughter Blue Ivy.
“Love on Top”
In 2012, Jay Z and Beyoncé seemed more in love than ever as they celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. They also dethroned Gisele and Tom Brady as Forbes’s highest-earning celebrity couple, with an estimated combined income of $98 million. Not too shabby.
“I would not be the woman I am if I did not go home to that man,” Bey told Oprah in 2013. “It just gives me such a foundation. [He’s helped me] on so many levels.” That same year, the couple continued to celebrate professional successes as Jay Z dropped Magna Carta Holy Grail,and Beyoncé surprise-released her self-titled visual album. It seemed there was nothing this couple could not do.
“On the Run (Part II)”
In April 2014, Jay Z and Beyoncé announced the “On the Run Tour,” their first joint tour together; however, the exciting news was quickly overshadowed by personal drama. In May, video footage leaked of Beyoncé’s sister, Solange Knowles, attacking Jay Z in an elevator after the Met Gala. It certainly didn’t take long before the couple was on the run… from split rumors.
Reports surfaced that Solange was upset with her brother-in-law for, she felt, getting too close to designer Rachel Roy, and buzz of the rapper’s wandering eye began to emerge. In a rare move, the trio released a joint family statement.
“There has been a great deal of speculation about what triggered the unfortunate incident,” it read. “But the most important thing is that our family has worked through it. Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred … we’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.”
Beyoncé and Jay Z headed off on tour, and each show became a spectacle, with fans and the press decoding their every look and move. People, Us Weekly, and E! all reported that their marriage was on the rocks and that a breakup was imminent.
Maybe the joke was on us, because at the end of summer 2014, Jay Z and Beyoncé seemed as solid as ever. This just happened to coincide with the end of their “On the Run Tour.” They attended the VMAs as a family, and when Beyoncé got onstage to accept the Vanguard Award, she made sure to thank her “beloved” husband. In November, they attended Solange’s wedding and even returned to the Met Gala one year after the headline-grabbing elevator incident. Guess everything was all good?
Just kidding… sound the infidelity alarms again! In 2016, Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, and cheating rumors went back into overdrive. With songs like “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” all signs pointed to Jay Z’s betrayal — and had the world obsessed with figuring out who “Becky with the good hair” was.
Whatever happened, Beyoncé and Jay Z seemed to get through it. During the interlude “Forward” on Lemonade, there is a shift in the tone of the album as Beyoncé ends with songs like “Sand Castles” and “All Night” that are about forgiveness and moving forward. Bey has neither confirmed nor denied how true the subject matter was, but her mom downplayed the idea that the album was autobiographical.
“It could be about anyone’s marriage,” said Tina Knowles. “I think that everybody at one time or another has been betrayed and lied to, and it’s about the pain and it’s about the healing process and it’s about how do you get past that and move on.”
“All the Way Up (Remix)”
Lemonade broke records, receiving nine Grammy nominations, and Jay Z was there to support his wife every step of the way. Mr. Carter even threw in his thoughts about the hype surrounding the album’s subject matter on the remix of “All the Way Up.” He rapped, “You know you made it when the fact your marriage made it is worth millions / Lemonade is … a popular drink and it still is.”
In February 2017, Beyoncé and Jay Z’s popularity continued to soar when they announced that they were expecting twins. “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over,” Beyoncé announced with an epic Instagram reveal. “We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. — The Carters.”
What does the next chapter hold for the Carters? Guess we’ll all have to wait for their next albums to drop.
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