Beyoncé and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are the very definition of a power couple. The married music legends are each incredibly talented and influential on their own, so together, they’re virtually unstoppable. But much of the public’s perception about this notoriously private pair is shaped by what little Bey and Jay do share about themselves: her captionless Instagram snaps of the family enjoying a picture-perfect vacation, pointed song lyrics with perplexing references to one another, that rare interview where they might actually suffer a question or two about their romance. Over the years, thanks to so many mixed signals, tantalizing mysteries about Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s relationship have taken shape. Here are some of the strangest of those stories.
No one knows when they met
At this point, it seems pretty on-brand for Beyoncé and Jay-Z to keep the steamiest details of their romantic highs and lows under wraps (well, except for in their lyrics). That shrug-off approach to personal attention has been consistent from the start. These two kept their relationship a secret so long even they don’t seem to agree on when they actually got together.
Putting together a timeline of their romantic history is something only they can truly do, but they have shelled out some contradictory numbers over the years.
For example, Beyoncé told Seventeen in 2008 (via PopSugar) that she was 18 when they met, and that they started dating when she was 19 (circa 2000), but Jay-Z indicated they’d known each other since she first started recording—specifically, when Wyclef Jean worked with her in Destiny’s Child for “No, No, No Part 2” around 1997.
This could be a bit of revisionist history, since Beyoncé’s ex-boyfriend, Lyndall Locke, claimed she was with him until she began touring with her girl group in her twenties. Maybe they’ve innocently mixed signals over the specifics of their first encounters, but their crossed wires continue to fuel conspiracies.
They claimed to be friends for years
In a 2013 Vanity Fair interview with Jay-Z, he admitted that he and Beyoncé were at the early “wine and dine” phase of courtship when they appeared together in the magazine’s 2001 music issue. However, despite multiple collaborations, including “Bonnie and Clyde” in 2002 and “Crazy in Love” in 2003, and numerous sightings of the duo out and about, the musicians insisted their pairing was platonic. They’d brush off inquiries about their then-rumored romance with sayings like “we’re friends for now,” and their songs walked the line as well. Her Dangerously in Love single “Signs,” for example, includes the lyric that she “was in love with a Sagittarius,” which could have been a reference to either Jay-Z or ex-boyfriend Locke, who allegedly share the same zodiac sign.
However, Jay-Z all but confirmed their romance in his Black Album single “Public Service Announcement,” which contains the line, “got the hottest chick in the game wearin’ my chain.” The couple finally made its public debut by showing up arm in arm at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards.
They still don’t like to talk about their relationship
People think they are a part of Illuminati
They often hint at personal trouble in their lyrics
When Beyoncé dropped her visual album Lemonade on HBO in 2016, it triggered a firestorm of gossip about the status of her marriage with Jay-Z. Her legion of fans, the “Bey Hive,” went on the hunt to discover who the “other woman” known as “Becky with the good hair” was in her “Sorry” track. Many wondered if the Carters were still together, given the revenge anthem tones of the album, but Jay-Z showed up in the second act for the reconciliation phase. The album was big news, but it wasn’t the first time the pair shared tough times through music.
Jay-Z’s 2006 Kingdom Come track “Lost One” includes the buzzed about lines, “I don’t think it’s meant to be, B / But she loves her work more than she does me / And honestly, at 23 / I would probably love my work more than I did she. So we ain’t we.” Carter later revealed in his 2010 biopic, Decoded, that he meant for the song to be a reflection on “how difficult it is to respect a lover as an autonomous human being, with separate needs and goals and timelines than yours…one of the hardest things about a real relationship of equals.” He added, “It’s worth it.”
And if appearing in the Lemonade reconciliation number wasn’t enough, Jay-Z also offered his own apology tour by way of the lyrics to the titular track on his album 4:44, in which he made no bones about his bad behavior. His heart was definitely on his sleeve when he wrote the lines, “Look, I apologize, often womanize/ Took for my child to be born/ See through a woman’s eyes/ Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/ Took me too long for this song.”
It seems what the tabloids don’t confirm or deny in interviews can definitely be ascertained from this power couple’s music.
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