Beyonce & JAY-Z: A Timeline of Their Ups and Downs Over 10 Years of Marriage
By Meredith B. Kile
Beyonce and JAY-Z celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary on Tuesday, marking a decade of matrimony for music’s most powerful duo.
The pair, who started dating after collaborating on the 2002 hit "'03 Bonnie and Clyde," tied the knot in a secret ceremony on April 4, 2008, and are parents to a 6-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, and 9-month-old twins, Rumi and Sir.
Bey and Jay have been through a lot in their time as a married couple, from epic pregnancy announcements and heartbreaking miscarriage revelations, to Lemonade, elevators and everything in between. Here’s a look at some of the biggest moments in their decade as Mr. and Mrs. Carter.
2008: Putting a Ring on It
Leave it to Beyonce to tie the knot in the same year she dropped her iconic anthem to matrimony (or lack thereof), “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” The singer released her third studio album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, in October 2008, and publicly revealed her April nuptials to JAY-Z at a listening party for the album that same month.
2009: Making History “At Last”
Bey and Jay attended President Barack Obama’s first inauguration on January 20, 2009, where Beyonce performed “America the Beautiful.” Later, at the inaugural ball, she sang Etta James’ classic ballad “At Last” for the president’s dance with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Four years later, the singer would perform the national anthem at President Obama's second inauguration.
2011: Baby, Baby, It’s True
After an announced career hiatus in 2010 -- during which she split professionally from her father, Mathew Knowles, who had been serving as her manager -- Beyonce returned to music in 2011 with 4, her fourth studio album, which featured hits like "Run the World (Girls)," “Countdown,” and “Love on Top.”
And it was “Love on Top” that gave fans the jaw-dropping pregnancy reveal they were waiting for at the 2011 VMAs, when Beyonce ended her performance by cradling her baby bump, confirming that the couple were expecting their first child, while JAY-Z celebrated with Kanye West in the audience.
2012: Blue Ivy In All Her “Glory”
The couple’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born on January 7, 2012. Two days later, JAY-Z released “Glory,” a song dedicated to his daughter, which revealed that the couple had suffered a miscarriage prior to Blue’s birth.
"Last time the miscarriage was so tragic / We was afraid you'd disappear / But nah, baby, you magic."
JAY-Z sampled his daughter’s cries at the end of the track, crediting her simply as “B.I.C.” When the song debuted at number 74 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Blue Ivy Carter became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart, at just two days old.
2013: Life Is But a Dream
The couple rarely shared photos of Blue Ivy in her first few months, keeping their daughter largely out of the public spotlight until Beyonce’s autobiographical HBO film, Life Is But a Dream, released in February 2013. The film detailed the singer’s marriage, miscarriage, and professional split from her father, and concluded with footage of her cradling Blue Ivy and spending time with family.
“God is real,” Beyonce told the cameras, growing emotional as she talked about her mother and daughter. “It’s a tingling, it’s love. I feel it when I look at my child, I feel it when I look at my husband. It’s God.”
2013: Changing the Game With That Digital Drop
In 2013, Bey embarked on her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which included frequent appearances from her husband, and JAY-Z returned the favor, featuring his wife on a track on his Magna Carta Holy Grail album. But the game changed on Dec. 13, when Beyonce released her eponymous fifth studio album without any prior announcement or promotion.
In addition to hits like "Flawless," "Partition," "XO," and "Pretty Hurts," the Beyonce album featured Bey and Jay’s latest collaboration, “Drunk in Love,” which many saw as as a follow-up to their 2003 track “Crazy in Love.” The sultry song peaked at no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would go on to win GRAMMY Awards for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.
2014: The Billion-Dollar Elevator
Beyonce and JAY-Z attended the 2014 Met Gala in style, but the real headlines about the couple weren’t made until the next week, when surveillance footage surfaced of Beyonce’s younger sister, Solange, lunging at her brother-in-law in an elevator following the event.
Rumors ran rampant that the spat was related to infidelity on Jay’s part, but the family stayed mum at the time, putting out a statement that said, in part, “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."
"We had one disagreement ever -- before and after we’ve been cool," JAY-Z told Rap Radar in August 2017, noting that he and Solange had since put the matter behind them. "She’s like my sister. I will protect her. That’s my sister, not my sister-in-law. My sister. Period."
“Of course sometimes s*** go down / when it's a billion dollars on an elevator,” Bey sang.
2014: Going On the Run
To support the Beyonce album, as well as Magna Carta Holy Grail, the musical power couple embarked on their first joint tour, the 21-stop On the Run Tour, in 2014. After 19 shows across North America, Bey and Jay concluded the tour with a two-night stop in Paris, France, which was recorded for an HBO concert event that premiered on September 20.
The tour set list featured hits from both artists’ catalogues, as well as their collaborations like “Crazy in Love,” “Drunk in Love,” “03 Bonnie and Clyde” and “Tom Ford.” Video interludes that played throughout the shows included black-and-white vignettes of the pair playing outlaws, as well as new home video footage of JAY-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy as a family.
2014: Video Vanguard
Beyonce was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2014 VMAs, but Blue Ivy stole the show, making her television debut and dancing along to her mom’s epic 16-minute medley.
Following the performance, Jay and Blue took the stage to present Bey with the award. Her husband dubbed her the “greatest living entertainer,” but all eyes were still on Blue, who brought her mom to tears with adorable applause and a super sweet “Yeah, Mommy!”
2015: Return to the Met
Bey and Jay made their post-elevator return to the Met Gala the very next year, with the singer wearing a stunning, sheer Givenchy gown that made it clear all headlines would be about her this time around.
A few months prior, the couple also took their next steps towards mogul status, when JAY-Z acquired Aspiro, a Norwegian media technology company that operates the subscription-based music streaming service Tidal, which would serve as an exclusive platform for many of the couple’s forthcoming musical releases.
2016: ‘Lemonade’ Sweetens the Sour
On April 23, 2016, Beyonce made history yet again with the release of her sixth studio album, Lemonade, which was accompanied by a 65-minute HBO film of the same name. Unquestionably Bey’s most personal and revealing work to date, Lemonade explored subjects of race, feminism and equality, while also seemingly laying bare the singer’s marital struggles and furthering speculation about JAY-Z’s infidelity.
“How did it come down to this, going through your call list? I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma f*** me up a b***h.” Bey crooned in “Hold Up,” while the far-more-fiery “Don’t Hurt Yourself” stated flat-out, "You try this s**t again, you gon' lose your wife."
Beyonce's Biggest Moments of 2016: Lemonade, the Super Bowl, Grammy Noms
The album ended on a redemptive note -- and Jay made his first appearance towards the end of the film, in a quiet moment with his wife during the compromising ballad “Sandcastles.” However, it was a line in “Sorry” that ultimately sparked a social media frenzy. “He only want me when I’m not there,” Beyonce sang. “He better call Becky with the good hair.”
While we may never know Becky’s true identity for certain, there’s no denying that Lemonade was a masterpiece, not just for its emotional honesty but also for its powerful lyrics and incredible instrumentation. Even Adele herself couldn’t believe it when 25 beat it out for the Album of the Year GRAMMY.
2017: Two New Carters
In February 2017, Beyonce took to Instagram to announce that the she and Jay were expecting two more additions to their family -- twins!
"We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over," Bey captioned a stunning pic posing with her bare baby belly and a massive wreath of flowers. "We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes.”
June 2017 saw JAY-Z releasing his 13th studio album, 4:44. The rapper later revealed that the 10-track recording was intended to be a joint album alongside Lemonade, but due to its later release, it served as a sort of response, with Jay addressing everything from the Met Gala elevator, to his infidelity, to the couple’s newborn twins, lamenting, "I'll f*** up a good thing if you let me."
JAY-Z Opens Up About Cheating on Beyonce and Confirms They Worked on Joint Album
"You egged Solange on / knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong,” Jay rhymed in the opening track, “Kill JAY-Z,” later referencing another infamously accused cheater: "You almost went Eric Benét, let the baddest girl in the world get away.”
But just like Lemonade, 4:44 carried with it a message of hope and unity. As Jay put it, “nobody wins when the family feuds.”
"Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles. Took me too long for this song, I don't deserve you," he marveled on the album’s title track."My heart breaks for the day I have to explain my mistakes and the mask goes away.”
2017: “Family Feud” Video Sends Blue to the White House
Jay’s music video for 4:44’s “Family Feud” was a star-studded family affair, with both Beyonce and Blue Ivy making stunning appearances in the Ava DuVernay-directed Tidal exclusive.
Other stars in the epic video included Michael B. Jordan, Thandie Newton, Trevante Rhodes, Rashida Jones, Constance Wu, Rosario Dawson, Niecy Nash, Janet Mock. Mindy Kaling, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo and Brie Larson.
But the best part? Jay’s video envisions Blue Ivy as the future president, casting This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson to play the powerful POTUS, seated alongside her diverse, all-female Cabinet.
DJ Khaled reunited the “Shining” married pair for another duet in March 2018, releasing his new song “Top Off,” which featured Bey, Jay and rapper Future. But in between boasts about their Maybach convertible, the quartet’s track threw some fuel on the latest BeyHive rumor: allegations that an unnamed actress bit Beyonce on the face at an L.A. after party in December.
2018 is shaping up to be a massive year for the couple. Apart from Bey’s headlining set at Coachella -- rescheduled from last year, when she was pregnant with the twins -- they also announced last month that they are headed back out on the road together for the On the Run II tour.
Beyonce confirmed the news with three black-and-white posts on Instagram, including a video of a few sweet moments between the two during their first On the Run tour set to Marcia Aitken's "I'm Still in Love With You."
The On the Run II tour kicks off on June 6 in Cardiff, UK, and will stop in 15 cities across the UK and Europe and 21 cities in North America before ending on Oct. 2 in Vancouver, Canada.
See more on the musical power couple in the video below. Happy anniversary, Bey and Jay!