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A Look Back at Jay & Bey’s Complicated Relationship


| LAST UPDATE 08/09/2022

By Lorenzo Savage

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are, no doubt, one of Hollywood's most famous couples. From cryptic lyrics to cheating scandals, these two have been through a lot. Let's take a look back at some of their most memorable moments.

Where It All Began

Despite being an ultimate power couple, many fans have no idea how Beyoncé and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter officially met. It seems like from the start, their relationship had been kept private, with occasional hints.

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Mike Coppola / Staff via Getty Images

In 2008, Beyoncé revealed"I was 18 when we first met, 19 when we first started dating." She added, "There was no rush - no one expected me to run off and get married." But things got confusing when Jay said that he had first met his future wife when she first started recording music in 1997 - which would've made Bey about 16.

Friends First

Apparently, before things became serious, Beyoncé wanted to ensure that she and Jay-Z had a strong solid foundation. In 2013, the singer spoke to Oprah on Oprah's Next Chapter where Queen B revealed that she and her beau were "friends first for a year and a half."

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Mark Mainz / Staff via Getty Images

Following their friendship, which was very "important" to Beyoncé, Carter finally asked her on a date. Things remained casual after the two appeared in Vanity Fair's 2001 Music Issue. "We were just beginning to try to date each other," Jay-Z later revealed in a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair.

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Going Public

Since the beginning, though, the couple had kept their private life just that -private. Even though they had many collaborations together, like Bonnie and Clyde in 2002 and Crazy in Love in 2003, they insisted they were just friends. Yet even back then, Bey's lyrics led fans to speculate that wasn't true.

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Evan Agostini / Staff via Getty Images

Her song Signs included the lyrics that she "was in love with a Sagittarius," which made people think she was either talking about Jay-Z or her ex-boyfriend Lyndall Locke. And in Jay's Public Service Announcement, he sang, "got the hottest chick in the game wearin' my chain." Finally, at the 2004 MTV Awards, they went public.

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Throwing Shade in the Studio

The musically talented couple is infamous for using songs as a way to communicate the details of their relationship... and this isn't a coincidence. Beyoncé revealed during a 2005 interview with Essence that she and her boyfriend decided to not talk about their relationship in interviews.

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@beyonce via Instagram

"I never talked about relationships… I only talk about them in my songwriting; otherwise, things get too messy. It has worked out because now nobody expects me to talk about them," she explained. "But it's hard too. You fall in love, and you want to tell everybody. But that's a place I just don't go."

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Obsessed With #4

While we may not know everything about the Carters, we have come to learn a few fun facts about the couple. For example, both Bey and Jay have a significant connection to the number 4. Not only were they both born on the 4th, she in September 1981 and he in December 1969, but they also got married on the 4th.

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@beyonce via Instagram

More specifically, on April 4th, a.k.a. 4/4, Beyoncé and Jay-Z also got a matching tattoo of the Roman numeral four (IV) on their fourth fingers to celebrate their wedding. Their love for the number continued when they named their firstborn Ivy, which sounds like the Roman numeral four when spelled out as letters.

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Illuminati Conspiracies

As one of the world's most famous celebrity couples, it comes as no surprise that these two have been the center of many wild conspiracy theories. For several years now, fans have claimed that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are allegedly a part of an elite secret society, the Illuminati.

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@beyonce via Instagram

The rumors gained momentum when they publicly began posing with triangle symbols - though it also symbolizes Jay's former record label. Theorists also said Blue Ivy's name may stand for "Born Living Under Evil, Illuminati's Very Youngest." But Bey later addressed the claims in Formation, "Ya'll haters corny with that Illuminati mess." 

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Tying the Knot

In 2008, Beyoncé and Jay-Z secretly got married in an intimate ceremony. According to People magazine, a source said, "It was a very emotional wedding - lots of crying - and really very spiritual." The wedding was at the rapper's Manhattan penthouse, which was filled with 70,000 dendrobium orchids brought in from Thailand.

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@beyonce via Instagram

“No one expected me to run off and get married. 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… before you can share that with someone else,” Beyoncé told Seventeen.

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The Secret Wedding

It wasn't until a few months later that the wedding was revealed to the public when Beyoncé admitted it to Essence magazine. She explained why she didn't wear an engagement ring leading up to the day, "People put too much emphasis on that," she said. "It's just material, and it's just silly to me."

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Kevin Mazur/VF15 / Contributor via Getty Images

And as for why it was a tiny, secret event. Bey said, "it's been my day so many days already." And according to NBC, Jay said, "It's really a part of your life that you gotta keep to yourself. You have to have something sacred to you and the people around you. I shared so much of my life, I should have something to hold on to."

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Pregnancy Announcement

In 2011, Beyoncé announced that she was pregnant in a way that fans were sure to never forget. During the Single Ladies singer's performance at the MTV VMA award show in Los Angeles, Beyoncé began cradling her stomach on the red carpet. While some assumed it was a bump, she only admitted it later on in the night.

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Kristian Dowling / Contributor via Getty Images

Right before singing Love On Top, Queen B told the large crowd and everyone watching at home, "I want you to stand up on your feet. I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me." Thus revealing that she was indeed expecting her first child with her husband, Jay-Z. 

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Blue Ivy's Legal Battle

But the stars aren't just two of the most successful musicians - they have also been known for their entrepreneurial endeavors. From Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service to Beyoncé's line of sportswear, Ivy Park, these two know business. But when they attempted to trademark Blue Ivy's name, things didn't go as planned.

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Kevin Mazur / Contributor via Getty Images

The parents wanted to patent their daughter's name so that in the future, they could use it for a line of baby products. They requested it in 2012, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined their plea. Based on reports by CNN, it was because a local wedding planner had the same name, and it would have ruined her business.

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Life Is But a Dream

When Beyoncé's documentary, Life Is But a Dream, was released in 2013, the world got a glimpse into Bey and her family. It was revealed that she had sadly suffered a miscarriage. "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," she said.

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IMDb - Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream (2013) via ICM Partners

“I flew back to New York to get my checkup - and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.” After the miscarriage, Beyoncé turned to music for therapy. She wrote and recorded what she describes as “the saddest song I’ve ever written.”

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The Explosive Elevator Ride

In May of 2014, the couple was involved in drama that rocked the internet. The couple, along with Beyoncé's younger sister Solange, all attended the annual Met Gala. But a few days after, footage from the elevator at the event was leaked to TMZ. The video showed Solange hitting her brother-in-law at the after-party.

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CBS Mornings via Youtube

While it was never confirmed, fans guessed that she was mad over Jay-Z's cheating allegations. The trio released a statement later on, "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."

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Sisterly Warning

According to The Daily News, the incident was fueled after Rachel Roy was standing too close to the rapper. Solange supposedly defended her sister by telling Roy that "anyone who gets close to Jay has to be warned and deal with her as a sister," a source told Us Weekly.

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Jeff Kravitz / Contributor via Getty Images

It wasn't until Bey dropped new music that fans got details about what happened in the elevator that night. In her remix of Flawless, Beyoncé sang, "And we could go around and get some good karma, but no. We escalate, up in this b**** like elevators. Of course, sometimes s*** go down, when it's a billion dollars on an elevator."

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Divorce Rumors

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's On The Run tour began in June 2014. But just a month after, rumors that they might get a divorce began circulating. "They are trying to figure out a way to split without divorcing," a source told Page Six. "This is a huge concert tour, and they've already gotten most of the money from the promoters up front."

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Al Bello / Staff via Getty Images

"Word around the industry has been that things are rocky at home," a music source that had previously worked with the rapper told People. "If they split, no one would be surprised." But a friend close to the couple defended them, "They are a great couple. They are soulmates and perfect for each other."

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Lemonade's Cryptic Lyrics

While the gossip ended up being false, that didn't mean that things weren't rocky for the couple. And luckily, fans got more details as more music was released by Beyoncé. Thanks to her cryptic lyrics, fans were able to piece things together after she dropped her album, Lemonade, in 2016.

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@beyonce via Instagram

The record featured songs about cheating and a marriage in crisis in songs like Hold Up, Don't Hurt Yourself, and Sorry. And the tracks Sand Castles and All Night seemed to be all about forgiveness and a renewed bond between lovers. It seemed like this album was the story of the couple's failing (and healing) relationship.

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"Becky With The Good Hair"

Beyoncé's song Sorry included lyrics that left the world in a frenzy. "They sneaking out the back door / He only want me when I'm not there / He better call Becky with the good hair," the 40-year-old artist sang. Instantly fans believed that Becky was the woman Jay-Z cheated with. So who was Becky??!

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@beyonce via Instagram

There were rumors that Becky was Rachel Roy since she posted and deleted the Instagram caption, "Good hair don't care, but we will take good lighting, for selfies, or self truths, always. live in the light #nodramaqueens." But, till today, no one knows who "Becky" is - or if she's even a real person.

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Album Revelations

After the now infamous lyrics caused speculations to fly all around the internet, one of the writers for Sorry came out with a revelation about Becky.  Diana Gordon insisted that Becky was just a term that meant side-chick. "What day in age from that lyric do you get all of this information?" she said.

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Evan Agostini / Staff via Getty Images

So while the name of the woman in the song may not be a real person, Gordon's response still had fans believing that Jay-Z was unfaithful in his marriage to Beyoncé. And as it turned out, they were right - because he, later on, confessed to cheating on Queen Bey.

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A Publicity Stunt?

For years, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's relationship has made headlines after headlines. So much so, that fans started thinking it was all a publicity stunt used for money - from the mega-viral Met Gala elevator video to the numerous lyrics alluding to cheating made through Beyoncé lyrics in her hit album, Lemonade.

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Mike Coppola / Staff via Getty Images

After all, the more drama behind their albums, the more sales had increased. This idea was heightened after Jay-Z 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. Survival of the littest," in Fat Joe and Remy Ma's All the Way Up (Remix).

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Living Lavish

While we can't be certain that the famous couple uses their drama to make more money, we do know that their large bank accounts do get used for crazy gifts. For one father's day, the Run The World singer gave her boo a Bombardier Challenger 850, aka a $40 million dollar private jet.

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@beyonce via Instagram

Some other luxurious presents included the island Jay-Z got his wife for her 29th birthday. And for his 41st, Bey gifted him a $2 million Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, but she outdid herself when she gave Jay-Z a $5 million Hublot watch with diamonds for his 43rd. They must really be Drunk In Love to spend that much dough...

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Expanding the Family

Bey broke the internet in February 2017 when she posted her pregnancy announcement. Fans were so excited for the couple, especially because they weren't just gonna welcome one more baby - Beyoncé was carrying twins! "We would like to share our love and happiness," the caption read.

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@beyonce via Instagram

"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." Ironically, Bey's dad found out about it the same way the world did. "I was shocked. I got a first text, and I was like, 'Why is this person saying congratulations?'"

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Coming Clean

Beyoncé may not be the only one in this relationship to use her music to send a message. Jay-Z has also been known for throwing in some cryptic and shady verses into his songs. In June 2017, Carter released his album 4:44, and fans quickly noticed the lyrics that alluded to the cheating scandal.

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Kevork Djansezian / Stringer via Getty Images

"I apologize, our love was one for the ages, and I contained us," he rapped on the track titled 4:44. "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." And in Family Feud, he sang, "I'll f*** up a good thing if you let me. Let me alone, Becky."

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Heightened Emotions

After years of speculations and rumors flying around about Bey and Jay's relationship, the truth was finally revealed in November of 2017. The Empire State of Mind artist confessed during an interview with The New York Times Style magazine that he was unfaithful to his wife.

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Al Bello / Staff via Getty Images

"You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode, what happen? You shut down all emotions," he said. "So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can't connect." Jay-Z added, "In my case, like, it's deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity."

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Rumi & Sir

Those who are loyal fans of the couple may already know that their first-born's daughter's name means a lot to Beyoncé and Jay. So things were no different when their twins were born on June 13, 2017. Hova revealed to Rap Radar that the names are very symbolic, and each one was chosen for a different reason. 

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@beyonce via Instagram

For Rumi, they had the name picked out before they were born because it was chosen based on the couple's favorite poet, a Persian philosopher named Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. But for Sir, the name wasn't picked until he arrived "Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir."

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After years of drama, Jay and Queen B announced that they were finally going to be going on a tour together in the summer of 2018 called  On the Run II. At the time, a source told People, "They are incredibly excited. It took a lot of work to make this happen. It's the best choice for their family."

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@mstinalawson via Instagram

The opening video for their concerts showed the two wearing all-white outfits with their 3 kids. It looked like a vow renewal ceremony, which had fans assuming that Bey and Jay had recently renewed their vows. The message "THIS IS REAL LOVE" was projected behind the couple, as they sang their 2009 duet Young Forever.

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Everything Is Love

A week after the tour kicked off in June, the power couple dropped a joint album titled Everything Is Love. It was revealed during their performance in London by writing "album out now" on the screen. The nine-track LP is only available to stream on Jay-Z's streaming service, Tidal.

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Larry Busacca/PW18 / Contributor via Getty Images

"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 told the crowd. "We want you guys to be the first to experience this new project. And we have a new visual for you guys. We want you all to count down - 10, 9, 8…"

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Renaissance Revelations

On July 29th, 2022, the iconic singer released her seventh studio album titled Renaissance. Fans have been waiting for this project for quite some time so when it dropped, they rushed to listen to all the tracks. And surprise, surprise, they also found many easter egg lyrics about Bey's relationship with Jay-Z.

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Kevin Mazur / Contributor via Getty Images

Despite the references to all the cheating, the album was partially dedicated to Hova. “I want to give a special thanks to Rumi, Sir, and Blue for allowing me the space, creativity, and inspiration,” she wrote. “And a special thanks to my beautiful husband and muse, who held me down during those late nights in the studio.”

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“They’re Too Hard on You, Boy”

In various songs in the album, Beyoncé talked about how "I know nobody's perfect so I'll let you be, I'll let you be." She also belted out, "We [she and Jay-Z] don't need the world's acceptance." She sings on Plastic On The Sofa, "They're too hard on me, they're too hard on you, boy."

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@beyonce via Instagram

The 40-year-old also sang about how she feels confident that her hubby will never be unfaithful again. "I'm one of one, I'm number one, I'm the only one. 'Don't even waste your time trying to compete with me. No one else in this world can think like me. I'm twisted, contradicted, keep him addicted,'" she sang on Alien Superstar.

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Nobody Crosses Solange

The cheating allegations from a few years back aren't the only thing that Beyoncé references in her now smash hit album. Queen B, of course, also threw in a few lyrics about the Met Gala elevator incident that occurred between Jay-Z and her sister, Solange.

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Lester Cohen / Contributor via Getty Images

In the song titled Cozy, Beyoncé can be heard singing about her little sis, "She's a god, she's a hero, she survived, all she been through, confident and she lethal. Might I suggest you don't f*** with my sis, because she ­comfortable. Comfortable in my skin, cozy with who I am."

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What Happened to Jay?

While many of the songs on Renaissance talk about Jay, he wasn't featured on any of the tracks. Typically, in the past, the celebrity couple has been known to collaborate and work together. So when fans noticed he wasn't rapping in any one of the 16 tracks, questions and conspiracies began popping up.

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Jamie McCarthy / Staff via Getty Images

Twitter quickly started rolling out the memes about how Beyoncé didn't include her husband in this project. "The album has no jay-z verse?!? We won beyhive," one person wrote. While his voice may not be on it, he does take credit for writing a few of the songs like, Break My Soul, Alien Superstar, and America Has a Problem.

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Coming Full Circle

For more than 20 years, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have stuck by each other's side -from cheating accusations, family drama, the birth of 3 kids, a miscarriage, and so much more. Beyoncé is not Beyoncé without Jay-Z, and vice-versa. And at the end of the day, the two are happy and grateful to be together.

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@beyonce via Instagram

Queen B even admitted to Oprah during an episode of Next Chapter, "I would not be the woman I am if I did not go home to that man. It just gives me such a foundation," she added. "He has helped me on so many levels... just to have someone that you just like is so important. And someone that is honest."

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