If rumors are to be believed, Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s marriage hasn’t been entirely trouble-free. That’s what fans and the media have gleaned, anyway, from what the power couple have revealed on their records. Yet, judging by an interview with the rapper, he and Bey aren’t about to announce their split any time yet…
And Jay-Z and Beyoncé have seemingly made their marriage work despite their very different backgrounds. The hip-hop star, for instance, was raised by his single mother in a Brooklyn housing project, where he eventually became a crack cocaine dealer in order to survive. He began his rap career, meanwhile, by selling CDs from his own car.
Beyoncé, on the other hand, grew up in a relatively affluent Houston neighborhood, where she attended a performing arts school and sang in a church choir. And, aged just 12, she had her first taste of fame thanks to an appearance on Star Search, as part of Girl’s Tyme. The star was also managed by father Mathew, who resigned from his job to take control of her career.
Since those days, of course, both Jay-Z and Beyoncé have ended up becoming two of the music world’s biggest names. Jay, for instance, has shifted more than 100 million albums, received 21 Grammys and scored 14 chart-toppers on the Billboard 200. He’s also founded a record label, an entertainment company and a sports agency and is now the second-richest rapper in America.
Beyoncé, meanwhile, has seen success with Destiny’s Child and forged a solo career that elevated her to icon status. Like her husband, she has moved more than 100 million solo records, but she’s earned one more Grammy than him as well as 24 VMAs. She’s also twice been named as the entertainment industry’s most powerful female by Forbes magazine.
And Jay-Z and Beyoncé first began dating after working together on Jay’s 2002 album The Blueprint 2. Six years later, they would marry at a private ceremony, with the couple welcoming their first child, daughter Blue Ivy Carter, in 2012. Beyoncé then broke the internet when she announced she was expecting twins; daughter Rumi and son Sir arrived in 2017.
Despite their long-standing relationship, though, Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s recorded output has hinted that not all has been well between the two. In particular, Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade seemingly saw the star open up about her personal life, with The Washington Post describing the record as a “surprisingly furious song-cycle about infidelity and revenge.”
Jay-Z also reflected upon his marriage on 2017’s 4:44 – an album considered by some to be a direct answer to Lemonade. There, the rapper suggests that rumors of extra-marital affairs were true; the title track, meanwhile, has been interpreted as an apology to Beyoncé.
And in a promotional video for 4:44, Jay-Z would reveal, “This is my real life. I just ran into this place, and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth, and it starts cracking. Then things start happening that the public can see.”
Of course, the moment that arguably got the most tongues wagging about the pair’s relationship was caught on a security video. Specifically, in 2014 footage emerged of Beyoncé’s sister Solange physically attacking her brother-in-law in a Manhattan elevator. Perhaps strangely, though, both Beyoncé and Jay-Z remained entirely passive during the assault.
Thanks to the elevator incident and the pair’s apparently confessional albums, then, there’s been gossip that a divorce is on the horizon. However, Beyoncé’s father Mathew has since insisted that all the talk of splitting is merely a publicity tactic. And in a November 2017 interview, Jay-Z himself has claimed that he and Beyoncé have no intention of breaking up.
Indeed, while talking to The New York Times, Jay-Z revealed how the pair have decided to work on their marriage. He explained, “You know, most people walk away, and, like, [the] divorce rate is like 50 percent or something, ’cause most people can’t see themselves. The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused and then have to deal with yourself.”
The rapper also admitted that he’d often found it tough to deal with his true feelings. Talking about how he’d been brought up to exhibit a tough guy persona, he said, “You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode, what happen? You shut down all emotions.”
In the interview, Jay-Z then appeared to confirm that he had in fact cheated on his superstar wife. He added, “So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can’t connect… In my case, like, it’s, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity.”
The hip-hop mogul also revealed, however, that the pair had used time in the recording studio to disclose their feelings. He explained, “We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together.” Of course, the joint album that Beyoncé and Jay-Z worked on has so far been kept in the vaults.
The process of reconciliation wasn’t easy, though, as Jay-Z also acknowledged in his interview with The New York Times. Nevertheless, he told the newspaper that “the best place in the, you know, hurricane is, like, in the middle of it. We were sitting in the eye of that hurricane.”
Furthermore, the rapper has said that the pair have developed an even stronger mutual appreciation of each other’s talents. He added, “[I was] really proud of the music she made. And she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day, we really have a healthy respect for one another’s craft. I think she’s amazing.”
The arrival of twins Sir and Rumi may have also helped bring the pair closer together, according to People. An insider reportedly told the magazine in 2017, “[Beyoncé and Jay-Z] both worked very hard to get to the place where they are now. Jay was great during Beyoncé’s pregnancy and continues to be great. He loves being a dad, and Beyoncé seems very happy.”
And the pair appear to be still very much on good terms. In December 2017, for instance, Beyoncé threw a star-studded bash for Jay’s 48th birthday at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. She also later hired out New York’s Angelika Film Center for a private screening of Woody Allen film Wonder Wheel as a gift.
Plus, fans of the couple may have been happy to see a video that Beyoncé’s mom Tina posted to Instagram that same month. That showed the pair dancing along to 1981 club classic “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze. And while it’s not clear what inspired the routine, both Beyoncé and Jay-Z appeared to enjoy cutting loose.