Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been together for over 20 years, and their relationship has produced more art than anyone could have anticipated. They've also created three children, Blue Ivy, who was born in 2012, and their twins Rumi and Sir, born in 2017.
The couple is very thoughtful about what they share from their marriage and family, but a lot of it comes through their music and their travels and tours across the world. Here's all the big moments from their long, loving relationship.
Beyoncé told Seventeen that she met Jay-Z when she was 18, but they began dating about a year and a half later, when she was 19 years old. The rapper is 12 years older than his wife.
“We were friends first for a year and a half before we went on any dates,” the pop icon told Oprah Winfrey in an OWN interview. "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 couple are put on the cover of Vanity Fair's November 2001 music issue. Jay-Z later told the magazine that at the time of the cover they “were just beginning to try to date each other.”
He added, “Well, you know, you've got to try first. You got to dazzle... wine and dine...She's a charming Southern girl, you know, she's not impressed... But I would have definitely had to be this cool.”
The two collaborate on Jay-Z's track “'03 Bonnie & Clyde” featuring Beyoncé's vocals and filming a music video together in Mexico.
They do a switcheroo, and Beyoncé releases the song “Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z. They win a Grammy for Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2004. At this point, their relationship still wasn't official, though fans and followers assume they're together.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z make their red carpet debut at the MTV VMAs in Miami, and each win an award.
Beyoncé releases her B'Day album and Jay-Z is again her collaborator, appearing in “Déjà Vu” and “Upgrade U.”
The rapper releases Kingdom Come and Beyoncé is heard on “Hollywood.”
On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé and Jay-Z get married in very secretive and intimate ceremony.
“It was a very emotional wedding—lots of crying—and really very spiritual,” a source told People at the time, saying it was held at the rapper's Manhattan penthouse, and they decorated the luxurious apartment with 70,000 dendrobium orchids flown in from Thailand for the event.
“There was no rush—no one expected me to run off and get married,” Beyoncé later told Seventeen of her big day. “I really don't believe that you will love the same thing when you're 20 as you do at 30. So that was my rule: Before the age of 25, I would never get married. I feel like you have to get to know yourself, know what you want, spend some time by yourself, and be proud of who you are before you can share that with someone else.”
In an interview with Vibe, Jay-Z finally confirmed their wedding ceremony.
“That's ridiculous for me to confirm,” he explained. “I don't have … I'm gonna say, I think that was a ridiculous question. I just think it's really a part of your life that you gotta keep to yourself … You have to, or you'll go insane in this type of business. You have to have something that's sacred to you and the people around you … I shared so much of my life, my childhood, and my family, the death of my nephew with the world. I should have something to hold on to. You need something for your sanity to say, ‘Okay, I could chill out, and this is it.’”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z share that they have matching tattoos of the Roman numeral IV on their ring fingers, which is significant because Beyoncé was born on September 4; Jay-Z on December 4; and they were married on April 4.
Beyoncé tells Seventeen what she's learned from her relationship so far, saying, “I guess probably that we're all human. I don't care if you're picture-perfect on every magazine cover, and you're the most handsome, successful, coolest guy—you still get sad, and you still get your feelings hurt, and you still get confused and vulnerable and nervous and scared. You have to find a person you can make it through the tough times with.”
The couple were in attendance at the inauguration of President Obama's first term in the White House, and Beyoncé contributed her talent to sing him in, starting with “America the Beautiful” at his swearing-in ceremony followed by Etta James' “At Last” as Barack and Michelle Obama shared their first dance at his inaugural ball.
The couple revealed that they're expecting at the MTV VMAs in Los Angeles. Beyoncé wore an outfit revealing her baby bump. When she took to the stage to perform “Love on Top,” she told the audience, “I want you to stand up on your feet. I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me.”
In her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, she revealed that Blue Ivy was not her first pregnancy.
“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time,” she said. “And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life … Being pregnant was very much like falling in love. You are so open. You are so overjoyed. There's no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you, so of course you want to scream it out and tell everyone.... I flew back to New York to get my check up—and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.”
Blue Ivy Carter is born to the couple on January 7, 2012 in New York City.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z share the first pics of Blue Ivy on Beyoncé's Tumblr, the popular mode of communication at the time.
“We welcome you to share in our joy. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this beautiful time in our lives,” they wrote.
The married couple are present for President Obama's second inauguration as well, where she sings “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Beyoncé's Life Is But a Dream documentary is released, sharing details of their life that haven't been seen before, like Beyoncé's early pregnancy days.
Magna Carta Holy Grail is released, including the track “Part II (On the Run)” in which Jay-Z duets with his wife.
Beyoncé's iconic self-titled album was released, making it a full visual album for all 14 songs, which included her massive hit “Drunk in Love” with Jay-Z.
The couple perform “Drunk in Love” at the Grammy Awards, looking like they definitely are smitten.
The silent fight that shook the world takes place: footage of Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and her sister Solange on an elevator after the annual Met Gala shows Solange attacking Jay-Z following some sort of argument. No one from the family has ever confirmed what the instigating issue was, but tabloids reported it was over cheating rumors.
They did release a statement saying, “There has been a great deal of speculation about what triggered the unfortunate incident. 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. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family. The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false. At the end of the day families have problems and we're no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We've put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.”
On June 25, Jay-Z and Beyoncé kick off their On the Run Tour in Miami that runs for 21 dates. That same summer, they are plagued by rumors of a split.
On August 24, Beyoncé receives the MTV Video Vanguard Award, which is presented to her by her husband and their daughter Blue Ivy.
“Thank you. I have nothing to say, but I'm thrilled with so much gratitude,“ she said in her acceptance speech. “I just thank God for this moment. I love y'all so much," she tearfully told the crowd. "My beloved, I love you. My fans, I love you. MTV, I love you. Good night!”
In her new remix of “***Flawless” with Nicki Minaj, she says, “Of course sometimes sh*t go down when it's a billion dollars on the elevator,” seemingly referencing the incident from May.
That same month, Solange is asked about the fight in her Lucky cover story, calling it “that thing.”
“What's important is that my family and I are all good,” she said. “What we had to say collectively was in the statement that we put out, and we all feel at peace with that.”
For Halloween, Beyoncé dresses up as Janet Jackson, and Blue Ivy is a little Michael Jackson.
Solange marries her fiancé Alan Ferguson on November 16 in New Orleans, and Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Blue Ivy all attend. A couple weeks later, Beyoncé releases “Ring Off,” which was about the end of her parents' marriage in 2009. It did seem to fuel rumors about a possible end to her marriage with Jay-Z.
In an Instagram video that has long since been deleted along with his entire account, Jay-Z shared private footage of their vow exchange, which was shown once before at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium during the opening night of their “On the Run” tour.
One year after “the incident,” Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Solange all attend the Met Gala in New York City together.
Beyoncé performs with Bruno Mars, Chris Martin, and the rest of Coldplay at the Super Bowl Halftime show.
On April 23, Beyoncé releases Lemonade album in conjunction with her HBO special of visuals. The album seems to be about her marriage, and the difficulties they've encountered after fifteen years together, including infidelity and her journey to forgiveness.
On April 27, Beyoncé begins her Formation World Tour in Miami and dedicates her song “Halo” to her “beautiful husband.”
Beyoncé's mom Tina Knowles Lawson said of Lemonade, saying, “It could be about anyone's marriage. 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.’”
Beyoncé attends the Met Gala solo, just over a week after the release of Lemonade. Shortly after that, Fat Joe and Remy Ma release a remix of “All the Way Up” featuring Jay-Z.
On the track, he raps, “You know you made it when the fact your marriage made it is worth millions / Lemonade is … a popular drink and it still is.”
Beyoncé performed at MTV VMAs solo, but accompanied by Blue Ivy. She won the Video of the Year award, along with seven others, and performed a medley from Lemonade. Jay-Z met up with his wife at an after-party, along with friends at the time, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
On October 7, Jay-Z performs at the final show of Beyoncé's Formation World Tour in New Jersey. For Halloween that month, they wear a Barbie and Ken couples costume.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z support Hillary Clinton at a rally in Cleveland just before the election. At the end of the month, Beyoncé releases a video for “All Night,” featuring footage from her wedding.
December 3, 2016
Beyoncé throws her husband a surprise birthday party on December 3 in Los Angeles, attended by Kelly Rowland and Tina Knowles Lawson.
On February 1, the couple share that they are expecting twins, writing on a post of Beyoncé's pregnancy reveal surrounded by flowers, “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. – The Carters.”
They attended the Grammys later that month, where Beyoncé performed pregnant once again.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcome their twins in mid-June, Rumi and Sir. Later on, Jay-Z releases his 13th solo studio album, 4:44. In it, he raps about his relationships and past infidelities.
“I apologize, our love was one for the ages and I contained us,” he says in the lyrics. “And if my children knew, I don't even know what I would do / If they ain't look at me the same / I would prolly die with all the shame.”
The couple buy an $88 million Bel Air mansion and get cozy with their new family additions.
The couple start the month in Philadelphia at the Made in America festival, and Jay-Z has the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to Beyoncé just before she turned 36.
A few weeks later, they make their first red carpet appearance since the birth of their twins at pal Rihanna's Diamond Ball in New York at Cipriani.
That month they also take Blue Ivy to a Bruno Mars concert at Madison Square Garden, and purchase a home in the Hamptons on the beach for $26 million.
Jay-Z headlines his third annual Tidal x Brooklyn benefit concert, which raised money victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Beyoncé was in the audience, but she did not perform.
On November 29, T: The New York Times Style Magazine released an interview with Jay-Z in which he admitted to infidelity, and explained how he and Beyoncé repaired their relationship, in some part through her music.
“You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is like 50 percent or something 'cause most people can't see themselves,” he said. “The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone's face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself. So, you know, most people don't want to do that. You don't want to look inside yourself. And so you walk away.”
The rapper said he went to therapy to help deal with some of these issues, and that both Lemonade and 4:44 are about their marital strife. He added that listening to those albums was “very, very uncomfortable,” but added, “We were using our art almost like a therapy session.”
Jay-Z was nominated for eight Grammys, and attended Clive Davis and the Recording Academy's annual pre-Grammys gala in New York. The rapper received the 2018 Salute to Industry Icons Award. At the Grammys that night, they were joined front row by Blue Ivy.
Before the event, Jay-Z sat down for an interview with CNN's Van Jones, where he again talked about cheating, saying that “the best apology is changed behavior,” and that the “other side is beautiful—at least for us.”
He also shared more info about the twins, who were seven months old at the time.
“We are in a beautiful time now because they are seven months and they can't move,” he said. “They can just coo … they just coo and you don't have to ‘wait, wait, wait, wait.’ … You know, they're not running anywhere yet. We are going to enjoy these couple of months until they start running, and then it's over.”
The couple collaborate again, this time appearing on “Top Off” by DJ Khaled.
Mid-month, they announce their On the Run II Tour, much to the excitement of fans. A few days later, they attend the annual Wearable Art Gala thrown by Tina Knowles Lawson, along with their eldest daughter, who bid at the live auction. Blue Ivy ended up bidding $17,000 on a painting of Sidney Poitier, according to Vanity Fair.
The piece eventually went to director Tyler Perry for $20,000.
Beyoncé performs her iconic Coachella set.
On June 6, the couple begin their On the Run II Tour in Cardiff, England. The show included footage from a vow renewal ceremony, with the the words “THIS IS REAL LOVE” as they sing their duet from 2009, “Young Forever.”
On June 16, they release a shared album, Everything Is Love, with nine-tracks by “The Carters.”
Visuals for “Apesh*t” were released the same day and shot by Ricky Saiz at The Louvre in Paris. They announced the album in London during a concert, and Beyoncé told the crowd at the time, “You've all given so much love every time we come here—thank you. Because we love you all so much we have something special for y'all," Beyoncé said. "We want you guys to be the first to experience this new project. And we have a new visual for you guys.”
She then counted them down to the video playing.
After 18 shows in Europe, they stopped for a little break from the On the Run II Tour in Italy, chilling on a yacht before heading to the U.S. for the domestic leg of their tour.
The couple headed back to Italy to celebrate Beyoncé's 37th birthday in Sardinia.
On a collection of photos from her party weekend, Beyoncé wrote, “At 36, I became a new mother of 3. I breastfed twins. I renewed my vows with my husband of ten years. I came back home to the stage to do Coachella, after pregnancy. Then my husband and I released our album together, Everything Is Love. And we’ve been touring with our family around the world, and loving it. This year has been monumental for me. I thank God for everyone in my life. Thank you for all the positivity and for the beautiful birthday wishes.
I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from my past, living in the present, and surrendering to the future.”
The couple's album Everything Is Love won best urban contemporary album at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
The NAACP Image Awards honor both of them, with Beyoncé receiving the entertainer of the year trophy, and Jay-Z taking home the president's award.
People reports that for their 11th wedding anniversary, the pair enjoyed a “no-kids” trip in Mexico.
“Right after the tour ended, they took it easy,” a source said at the time. “They were both beyond excited about how the tour went, but they were also tired. They just needed a little break and are back to talking about new projects.”
The couple are noted for bringing their own champagne to the 2020 Golden Globes, Armand de Brignac, which is co-owned by the rapper.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the NBA Playoffs Game 1 between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Nets are formerly co-owned by the rapper, and they wore the team's colors to show their support.
The pair team up with Tiffany & Co. for the diamond company's ABOUT LOVE advertising campaign, writing in a statement, “Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate.”
In the ad, Beyoncé wore a long black dress reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn's look in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, and she recorded a cover of the film's song “Moon River.”
For the second time, Jay-Z joined Instagram to promote the 2021 Netflix film he co-produced, The Harder They Fall. He only followed Beyoncé before deleting his account a day later.
Beyoncé attended Super Bowl LVI with her husband and oldest daughter at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Beyoncé's song “Be Alive” from the film King Richard is nominated for an Academy Award, and she opens the show by singing her hit in a pre-recorded performance on a tennis court.
For the night, she wore a tennis ball-shaped purse as a way to honor the film's story about the success of Serena and Venus Williams and their coach father.
Beyoncé releases her new album, Renaissance. It's an immediate hit.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the Wearable Art Gala, hosted by Tina Knowles.
They make more wearable art for Halloween, dressing up as The Proud Family.
Beyoncé receives nine Grammy Award nominations, reaching 88 total throughout her career. She and Jay-Z tie for the most-nominated artist in Grammy history.
The nominations for Renaissance include: Record of the Year, Song of the Year for “Break My Soul,” and Album of the Year, Best R&B Song for “Cuff It,” R&B Performance for “Virgo’s Groove,” Traditional R&B Performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa,” Best Dance/Electronic Recording for “Break My Soul,” and Best Dance/Electronic Album.
In her first live show since 2018, Beyoncé performed at the Atlantis the Royal hotel in Dubai, with her daughter Blue Ivy on stage to sing along with her. The star performed 19 songs after reportedly being paid $24 million for her appearance. It was said that the singer didn't do any of her songs from her most recent album Renaissance, but she did sing her classic hits “Halo” and “Crazy in Love.”
Blue Ivy joined for the live debut “BROWN SKIN GIRL,” the original song created for the soundtrack of the live-action film The Lion King: The Gift.
When the song was released, Blue Ivy was credited as a songwriter, appeared in the video, and had her vocals on the track, but this is the first time the mother-and-daughter duo have performed it together or live. Fans captured clips of the momentous occasion.
BLUE IVY AND BEYONCÉ PERFORMED BROWN SKIN GIRL TOGETHER OMG https://t.co/K2t5LEo7Jm
— BEYTHOVEN | non-affiliated fan account (@beyonceparkwood) January 21, 2023
Blue Ivy joins Beyoncé on stage in Dubai to perform ‘Brown Skin Girl’ for the first time. pic.twitter.com/xZfFPdPXvE
— Pop Base (@PopBase) January 21, 2023
Jay-Z has been a supportive husband throughout Beyoncé's Renaissance world tour, traveling with her and attending her shows. But the support goes both ways: Beyoncé shared photos of her and the couple's oldest daughter Blue Ivy Carter at the grand opening of Jay-Z's The Book of HOV exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library. Naturally, Beyoncé included a shot of the man of the hour alongside her in an elevator to boot.
Thursday, November 30, was the London premiere of Beyoncé Renaissance film, and after the main event she spent the evening out with husband Jay-Z wearing a stunning diamond and pearl encrusted minidress with a massive sparkling breastplate. She also briefly wore a coat over the ensemble as she walked through the street, with only the plate sticking out of the front.
The Grammy winner shared a carousel of images displaying the look at its full power, wearing her blonde hair half up, and donning black opera gloves and black heels. In some of the pictures, Jay-Z and his tuxedo can be seen by her side at dinner. They were eventually photographed leaving Harry’s Bar in London Mayfair.
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