Things You Might Not Know About BeyoncePublished on September 1, 2016. Updated August 25, 2020
Beyonce has become a musical phenomenon. When she decided to take her career solo, it was clear she didn’t need the backing of her female comrades. Since leaving Destiny’s Child, Beyonce has sold over 120 million worldwide and has become one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. In January 2010 she made history as the first female artist to win six Grammys in one evening and is currently the most nominated woman in Grammy Award history. She’s earned 20 Grammy Awards, a number that will only continue to grow, especially with the recent success of her album Lemonade. What is most intriguing about her is the level of mystery she maintains as a celebrity. She’s adamant about letting her work speak for itself so she fiercely protects her privacy and meticulously manages her image. In honor of her upcoming birthday we managed to dig up a few things from the beyhive — here’s a look at 11 things you probably didn’t know about Queen B!
Born in Houston, Texas, in 1981, Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter was named after her mother’s maiden name, Beyince. Her mother, Celestine “Tina” Beyince, was a hairstylist and salon owner while her father, Matthew Knowles, was a Xerox sales manager. She grew up with her younger sister Solange who is also a singer. Beyonce hit the stage at a very young age when she enrolled in dance classes while in elementary school. Her singing ability was discovered during a dance class when her instructor began singing a song and Beyonce finished it for her by hitting all the high-pitched notes. She then entered a singing competition at school when she was only 7-years-old and got her first taste of success when she performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” and beat out all her competitors, even some 15 and 16-year-old kids! She received a standing ovation for her performance.
10. Destiny’s Child
At the age of 8 she had already met her future Destiny’s Child mates, Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Robertson, in an audition. The three girls were placed into an all-girl group called Girl’s Tyme. They danced and rapped in a talent show circuit around Houston. Beyonce’s father Matthew quit his job in 1995 so that he could manage the girls and in 1996 they began recording their debut album with Sony Music. They changed their name to Destiny’s Child, based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah and Matthew started making them jog while singing to build up their performance stamina. On the road to success Beyonce included her parents every step of the way with her father as her manager and her mother designing their wardrobe. The group officially broke up in 2004 after Beyonce began pursuing other projects like acting, but she still remembers her time with the group fondly: “[they] were family, and still are my family. Unlike solo artists that started out, my foundation is being in a group and being with other women that needed each other so much. I mean, it’s harmony. And we were super tight…that union, that unity, that sisterhood, it is how I grew up,” she said.
9. Her Alter Ego
Beyonce used to have a stage persona known as “Sasha Fierce.” She developed the alter ego to help get over her shyness on stage. She described Sasha Fierce as being “too aggressive, too strong, too sassy [and] too sexy” and that she’s not like her in real life at all. She even said, “I wouldn’t like Sasha if I met her offstage.” The persona is used to separate her stage presence from the person she really is. “I created my stage persona to protect myself so that when I go home I don’t have to think about what it is I do. The people around me know who I really am.” Sasha was created during the making of “Crazy in Love” back in 2003 and Beyonce introduced her to the world with the 2008 album I Am…Sasha Fierce. However, in 2010 she told Allure magazine she no longer feels the need for the persona — probably because she’s now known as the Queen B!
Her favorite number is four. This is because of the part it’s played in a series of events that have taken place; for example she was born on September 4th; her mother was born on January 4th; her husband, Jay-Z was born on December 4th; and Beyonce got married on April 4th, 2008. Jay-Z and Beyonce got matching tattoos on their ring fingers after getting married. The tattoos read “IV” which is the Roman numeral for four. In 2011 she released her fourth album titled 4 and in 2012 she gave birth to her daughter Blue Ivy, whose name is a play on the Roman numeral four.
Beyonce is typically a fiercely private person, but in 2007 during an interview with Parade magazine, Beyonce opened up about suffering from depression. It happened in 2000 when Destiny’s Child was on the rise. They had just released their hit album The Writings On The Wall and won their first Grammy Award. It all started when her bandmates LaTivia Roberson and LeToya Luckett quit the group and sued her father for mismanagement. Beyonce entered an extremely dark place in her life, “that lonely period” she called it which lasted for years. She said she didn’t eat and locked herself up in her room. It was a time when she really began to question who her friends were in life and made her realize that privacy was no longer a luxury in her life. Prior to that scandal, the media didn’t pay much attention to her private life, but after that she felt “attacked.” At the time she had also just broken up with her boyfriend who she’d been dating since she was 13. She credits her mother as the one who helped her get through it.
6. Relationship with Jay-Z
It seems like Beyonce has been with Jay-Z forever and that’s because she has! The two started dating when she was only 19 and he was 30. Despite running in the same circles since 2000, the two refused to admit they were dating until 2004 when they made their red carpet debut at the MTV Video Music Awards. She has since said that she talked on the phone with him for a year before agreeing to go on their first date. They got married on April 4, 2008 in a private ceremony in their New York apartment. Despite their high earning success, musical collaboration and successful world tour together, they have suffered their fair share of hardships. Beyonce’s album Lemonade stirred up rumors that Jay-Z has been unfaithful to her, but it’s all speculation. During an interview with GQ back in 2013, Beyonce briefly touched on her relationship with Jay-Z and why she doesn’t wear a wedding ring. She said, “I was independent before I met my husband, and we have such a natural chemistry and a genuine relationship, and it’s based on the things that relationships are supposed to be based on. I’ve seen, growing up, when a woman or a man in a relationship it doesn’t matter which one doesn’t feel confident, they feel trapped. Your self worth is determined by you.”
5. Miscarriage and Pregnancy
Beyonce officially announced her pregnancy at the end of her performance to “Love on Top” back in 2011 (it landed in the Guiness World Book of Records for the most tweets per second). Their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born on January 7, 2012. After Blue Ivy was born, Jay-Z released the track “Glory” which featured her cries. He named her a contributor for the song, making Blue Ivy the youngest person to ever appear on the Billboard 100. He also referenced a miscarriage which we later learned in her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream that happened back in 2010. In documentary Beyonce said: “About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life…I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like…I was feeling very maternal. 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.” She said she went into the studio and wrote the saddest song “I’ve ever written in my life.”
Beyonce is one of the biggest female bosses of all time. Landing at 34 on Forbes list of highest paid celebrities, Beyonce was said to be worth $450 million in 2017. As a couple, her and Jay-Z are rumored to be worth almost a billion dollars. She’s an extremely savvy businesswoman because she knows how to use her fame and fortune to create profitable opportunities. It all started from a very young age. As a kid she used to charge her parents’ friends $5 to watch her perform. Since then she’s stepped up her game. She founded the House of Dereon clothing line with her mother in 2005. The name of the clothing line comes from her grandmother, Agnes Dereon. She also launched several fragrance lines like Heat and Pulse, signed multi-million dollar endorsement deals with companies like Pepsi, American Express and L’Oreal and started a business venture with Topshop by creating an athletic line called Ivy Park. Her more charitable business ventures have been things like the Beyonce Cosmetology Center at the Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn. She teamed up with her mother in 2010 to create this center which offers an extensive 7-month cosmetology training program for people getting back on their feet after struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. She then donated her entire salary from the film Cadillac Records to Phoenix House.
3. Beyonce’s Archive
When she goes on tour she films each and every one of her performances and watches them back before going to bed. She does this so that she can prefect her craft. She’ll critique herself, her dancers and her cameramen. All of them receive a round of notes the next morning. The cameramen who follow her around started after 2005 when she hired a visual director to film her every waking moment. She was inspired to hire her own videographer after MTV refused to let her have footage they shot while on the set of one of her music videos. Instead of paying for footage of herself, which she believed should belong to her in the first place, she decided not to rely on third parties and hired her own film crew. Now when a network asks for footage of Beyonce, they have to borrow or license the footage from her personal archive. All of this footage is stored in her New York office in a “temperature-controlled digital storage facility.” The archive includes professional photographs, videos and diary entries.
2. Her Biggest Musical Influence
Similar to many other artists, Beyonce credits Michael Jackson as her biggest influence. She went to one of his concerts when she was only 5-years-old and it was during that event that she realized she wanted to become a performer. Then in 2006, she was given the opportunity to present him with a tribute award at the World Music Awards. Before handing over the statue, she told the crowd, “If it wasn’t for Michael Jackson, I would never ever have performed.” Thank you, Michael Jackson! On the fifth anniversary of his death, Beyonce took to her website to share a special tribute to the late artist. She wrote, “Michael Jackson changed me, and helped me to become the artist I am. Thank you Michael.”
We love you Michael. A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on
1. Relationship with her Father
It’s no secret that Beyonce has a tumultuous relationship with her father and former manager, Matthew Knowles. He started out managing her when she was in the group Girl’s Tyme, then Destiny’s Child and finally in her solo career. He came under fire in 2000 when two of the girls abruptly left the group and sued him for mismanagement. LaTavia and LeToya filed suit against Matthew, Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, but Matthew was the primary target. The final line up ended up being just three girls, Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Things started getting controversial again in 2009 on the I Am…Sasha Fierce tour it came out that he fathered a love child with a woman named Alexsandra Wright. Beyonce’s mother, Tina, filed for divorce later that year and in 2011 Beyonce severed ties with him as a manager. Later on she revealed that it was partially due to the fact that she was getting older and wanted to make her own decisions that didn’t necessarily coincide with his. She remained adamant that she was not severing ties with him in life, but rather just in business. Around the time that she severed ties with him, Live Nation had accused him of stealing money from his daughter. The two had a brief falling out and in 2012 she and her sister Solange were no-shows at his wedding to Gena Avery, but it seems the two have mended fences as of late.