Time flies, doesn’t it?
It wasn’t yesterday, however. The two started dating more than 12 years ago and today, April 4, is the five year wedding anniversary of hip-hop’s most royal couple.
For more than a decade we’ve loved and obsessed over Jay, Beyonce and, most recently, Blue Ivy, but it didn’t always seem like hip-pop’s most royal familia loved us back. For years, the couple was almost irrationally secretive about their relationship.
They denied they were dating for years and when they couldn’t deny it anymore, they performed verbal magic to get out of answering any kind of questions about each other.
The ice has been thawing, however.
Over the last couple of years, and especially after the birth of their daughter, Jay and Bey have both become more revealing about their relationship.
In fact, they have given us enough info where we can kinda figure out how their story unraveled.
So, with the help of Bey and Jay themselves, here’s the beautiful love story of Beyonce and Jay-Z.
People point to “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” as the beginning of Jay-Z and Beyonce. The truth is that they go back even before that song. Before they became an item, they had a business relationship: An 18-yeard-old Beyonce, who was still the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, appeared on “I Got That,” the first single from Amil’s All Money Is Legal album. If you’re not very literate on terrible rap music from the late ‘90s: Amil was the first lady of Roc-A-Fella Records.
Business is what got them together, but it’s her talent that stood out to Jay. In 2007, while promoting his American Gangsta album, Hov sat down with Charles Rose for an interview, which took place at the Brooklyn Museum. During their meeting, Charlie pressed Jay about the beginnings of their relationship. Here was how their exchange went down:
“Charlie Rose: They mention Sony when they talk about where you might go.
Jay-Z: That’s obvious because Beyonce got a deal there and I know her.
Charlie: How long have you known her?
Jay: A while, a long time.
Charlie: How long? Ten years?
Jay: However long she’s been recording. That’s when I met her.
Charlie: Don’t you remember how long it was?
Jay: I met her 10 years ago.
Charlie: Did you say to yourself wow?
Jay: I said that’s a fantastic talent.
Charlie: You saw talent before you saw anything else?
Jay: Yeah, cause she was singing like a rapper. So the first song with Wyclef she was singing really fast, and I was like why she singing so fast? And she was on a team, and everything. And I was like she’s a talented person.”
Obviously, as time went by, Jay and Bey’s relationship evolved from professional to romantic. It didn’t happen as quick as you would think, however. The two spent about a year and a half just being good friends. Just a few weeks ago, Bey talked about how her friendship with Jay helped strengthen their future romantic relationship on Oprah’s Next Chapter:
“Beyonce: I would not be the woman I am, if I did not go home to that man. And it just gives me such a foundation.
Oprah: How has he helped you?
Beyonce: On so many levels. We were friends first, for a year and half. Before we went on any date, on the phone for a year and a half. And that foundation is so important in a relationship. And just to have someone that you just like, is so important. And someone that is honest.”
It’s understandable why Bey wouldn’t be in a rush to date Jay (who is 12 years her senior, might we add.) Up to that point, the singer had only dated one person. In 2011 Bey spoke about her dating past:
“People would be surprised as to the lack of experiences I’ve had. When I was 12 or 13 I had my first boyfriend, and he was my boyfriend until I was 17. At that age, that was a long time. I’ve always been very loyal and a little more mature.”
Bey also insinuated that she was a virgin when she got with Hov:
“Though I was too young for it to really be a boyfriend – we didn’t live together, we didn’t, you know …That was my only experience with a guy, and since then I’ve only had one other boyfriend in my life — Jay.”
“’03 Bonnie and Clyde”
“’03 Bonnie and Clyde” would be the song that introduced the world to the idea of Jay-Z and Beyonce. The song was the first single off of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse album, and it featured Jay spitting ride or die lyrics like:
“Look for me! Young, B
Cruisin’ down the Westside Highway
Doing what we like to do, our way
Eyes behind shades, this necklace the reason
All of my dates been blind dates
But today, I got my thoroughest girl wit me
I’m mashing the gas, she’s grabbing the wheel, it’s trippy how hard
She rides with me – the new Bobby and Whitney
Only time we don’t speak is during Sex and the City
She gets Carrie fever, but soon as the show is over
She’s right back to being my soldier
Cause mami’s a rider, and I’m a roller.”
History will tell people this love story starting in 2002, when “’03 Bonnie and Clyde” came out. However, there’s reason to believe that Jay and Bey were together before the song or the video were released. Back in 2008, during an interview with Seventeen magazine, Bey said: “I was 18 when we first met, 19 when we first started dating,” which is interesting because Bey was 20, 21 back in 2002.
No matter what the actual start date was, it became clear by 2002 that the two were heavy together. They started taking trips to sandy islands and they could always be seen courtside at a New York Knicks game. Still, the two were being quite coy about their relationship. This old footage of Jay appearing on 106 & Park with Bey and her lil’ sis Solange is a perfect example. The footage is funny because Bey and Jay barely greet each other:
Another interesting moment came early in 2003 during an interview with Playboy magazine. Jay was asked about Bey and he completely downplayed anything going on, even going as far as to say that he would put childhood friend Memphis Bleek over her:
PLAYBOY: Do you think women are less trustworthy than men?
JAY-Z: No. But guys don’t want to date me for my money, so I don’t have to worry about them.
PLAYBOY: If you’re going to have kids, you have to get over that paranoia.
JAY-Z: Yeah. I’m learning, I’m growing. I’m growing slow.
PLAYBOY: You tell a story in This Can’t Be Life, that you were almost a father. True story?
JAY-Z: Yeah. The girl I was seeing about four years ago had a miscarriage. But I wasn’t sad. I didn’t even grieve. Maybe it happened because I wasn’t ready to be a dad.
PLAYBOY: And now you’re dating a woman who doesn’t need your money, either.
JAY-Z: Is that right?
PLAYBOY: How did you meet Beyonce Knowles?
JAY-Z: I used to see her all the time. [Quickly] 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.
PLAYBOY: Just friends, like the way you and Memphis Bleek are just friends?
JAY-Z: No, Beyonce’s a woman. A very attractive woman. But we’re friends for now. Me and Bleek, we’re tighter. I took him from the projects—I’m from 5C, he’s from 3C. He’s been with me since 1994. Between Beyonce and him? Beyonce’s got to go [Laughs].
PLAYBOY: Do you wish that she was your girlfriend?
JAY-Z: She’s beautiful. Who wouldn’t wish she was their girlfriend? Maybe one day [smiles].”
We wonder if Jay-Z would pick Bleek over Bey now?
Even with all the double talk going on people knew that they were a couple. Besides the various paparazzi shots, the two left plenty of hints in their music. Look no further than Beyonce’s first solo album, 2003’s Dangerously in Love. On the song “Signs” she sings lines that are clearly dedicated to Jay-Z, who was born on December 4th and who is a Sagittarius:
“In December every sign has it’s own mode
I was in love with a Sagittarius
See the emotions he put me through
From Capricorns to Aquarius
They all got their different minds
The affection of a Virgo
Which sign matches good with mine.“
Or how about later on that year, on The Black Album, when Jay-Z spits the line “I got the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain” on “Public Service Announcement.” Bey would also appear in the video, throwing up that Roc sign:
The lyrics also provided insight when things were going wrong. Jay-Z’s second verse in 2006’s “Lost One” is a perfect example. On the song’s second verse Jay-Z spits about leaving a woman, and it’s clear he’s talking about Bey:
“I don’t think it’s meant to be, be
But she loves her work more than she does me
And honestly, at twenty-three
I would probably love my work more than I did she
So we, ain’t we
It’s me, and her
‘Cause what she prefers over me, is work
And that’s, where we, differ
So I have to give her
Free, time, even if it hurts
So breathe, mami, it’s deserved
You’ve been put on this earth to be
All you can be, like the reserves
And me? My time in the army, it’s served
So I have to allow she, her, time to serve
The time’s now for her
In time she’ll mature
And maybe we, can be, we, again like we were
Finally, my time’s too short to share
And to ask her now, it ain’t fair
So yeah, she lost one.“
In Jay-Z’s 2010 book Decoded, Jay admitted that “Lost Ones” was about Bey, at a time when there was uncertainty about their relationship.
Any quarrels between the two were brief and any time we saw the two it seemed like they were happily in love. So the question remained: when were the two going to get married? The two were reliably mum about it. During the 40/40 Club opening in Las Vegas in 2007, Jay said:
“One day soon — let’s leave it at that …I don’t know. It’s kind of comfortable here. If [Palazzo President Rob Goldstein] throws in the ring, who knows?”
Jay-Z and Bey would eventually get married around a year later, on April 4, 2008, in a super private ceremony in Tribeca. There’s no pictures of the actual event but various pics of celebs leaving the ceremony hit the Net. In 2008, however, during the “I Was Here” video, Bey was cool enough to show off her beautiful wedding dress:
After the wedding, Bey appeared on Ellen and the Queen was secretive about how the ceremony went down:
In the October 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Bey went a little bit more in-depth, saying: “We took our time and developed an unbreakable friendship before we got married.”
In that same Bazaar interview, Bey stressed the importance of waiting for the right time to have kids. She said:
“It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship and my self-worth, before I became a mother. . . Now God has blessed us with the ultimate.”
Unfortunately this would lead to one of the hardest moments in their relationship. When getting pregnant the first time, Beyonce would have a miscarriage. She would talk about the experience on Oprah’s Next Chapter, saying:
“There are so many couples that go through that and it was a big part of my story. . . It’s one of the reasons I did not share I was pregnant the second time, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And that was hard, because all of my family and my friends knew and we celebrated. It was hard.”
After the tragedy a major blessing was given to the Carters when Beyonce was able to become pregnant again. This one would stick.
Beyonce would announce her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV VMAs and she would give birth to her daughter, Blu Ivy Carter, on January 7th, 2012. The power couple would release the first images of the baby on their own terms. Giving birth to Blue Ivy seemed to be a wonderful experience for Bey. She described it like this in Vogue:
“I felt like when I was having contractions, I envisioned my child pushing through a very heavy door. And I imagined this tiny infant doing all the work, so I couldn’t think about my own pain. . . . We were talking. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt a communication.”
When speaking on baby Blue, Bey has been relatively revealing. In that same Vogue article she describes Blue Ivy like this:
“She’s my road dog. She’s my homey, my best friend.”
As for the future of Blue Ivy, don’t get close, media — she wants her daughter to have a normal childhood:
“School visits and lemonade stands and all that stuff. It’s very important for me.”
Expect more kids on the way from the Carters. Bey said:
“I definitely want another, but I don’t know when.”
Jay hasn’t been as talkative as Bey, but he has been just as involved, telling CNN last year:
“I just want to focus on her” and not on music.
Jay also was quoted as saying that Blue Ivy is going to be the “worst, spoiled little kid ever” on “Oprah’s Master Class: Special Edition.”
So we’re looking forward to that.
The future seems strong for the Carter family and it’s clear that the love is still very much there.
How strong is there love? Well, we’ll just let Bey explain, using a scene from her Life is a Dream documentary: