Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s Relationship Timeline Proves They’re Still “Crazy In Love” After All These Years
Bey-Z released their first collaboration — of many — 20 years ago.
If the U.S. had a royal monarchy like our friends across the pond, then Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Shawn Carter would be our monarchs. The couple, better known as simply Beyoncé and Jay-Z (or Bey-Z), has redefined what it means to be a power couple, growing from frequent collaborators to critically acclaimed artists and entrepreneurs over the two decades they’ve been dating. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collective net worth is nearing $2 billion as of August 2021, but their true success lies in the family they’ve built and their artistic growth, both individually and as a duo.
It’s unknown exactly when Beyoncé and Jay-Z first met, but once they linked up — first as friends, then as a couple — they proved to a match made in music heaven. From their first duet “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” to their first collaborative album EVERYTHING IS LOVE, the artists have never shied away from sharing both their love for each other and the struggles they’ve endured through their music, as most prominently displayed on Bey and Jay’s 2016 albums Lemonade and 4:44.
They also know when to let each other shine. As Beyoncé prepares to unleash her seventh studio album Renaissance, Jay-Z is lending his support but taking a back seat, co-writing lead single “Break My Soul” and “Alien Superstar.” If the ‘90s house-inspired song is any indication of their life right now, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are having more fun than ever.
1999-2000: Beyoncé & Jay-Z First Meet
In November 2008, Beyoncé told Seventeen that she met her future husband for the first time when she was 18 years old. This means the duo would have met sometime in between September 1999 and August 2000.
2001: Beyoncé & Jay-Z Start Dating
As Beyoncé told Seventeen, she was strictly friends with Jay-Z for a year and a half before they started dating, meaning they would have went on their official first date in 2001. “We were on the phone for a year and a half, and that foundation is so important for a relationship,” she said. “Just to have someone who you just like is so important, and someone [who] is honest.”
October 2002: Bey-Z Releases Their First Collab
Before there was “Crazy In Love,” there was “’03 Bonnie and Clyde.” Jay-Z’s first song with Beyoncé was released in 2002, marking one of her first solo ventures outside of Destiny’s Child and an early indication of what was to come from the power duo. The Bonnie and Clyde aesthetic would go on to influence their co-headlining On The Run stadium tours in 2014 and 2018.
May 2003: Beyoncé & Jay-Z Get “Crazy In Love”
If “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” is the “Just Dance” of Bey and Jay's collaborations, then “Crazy In Love” is their “Bad Romance.” Beyoncé made her official solo debut with her future husband by her side, and it remains one of the most iconic songs of both of their careers, becoming a Billboard Hot 100 charttopper and receiving a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.
At this point, the couple had still yet to confirm the dating rumors themselves, but the lyrics of their Grammy-winning smash hit said it all.
August 2004: The Couple Goes VMAs-Official
Bey-Z made their red carpet debut at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, where they walked the red carpet arm-in-arm in co-ordinating tan and gold ensembles, before sitting together and getting cozy during the ceremony.
September 2006: Bey-Z Experiences “Deja Vú”
For the launch of her sophomore solo album B’Day, Beyoncé decided to team up with Jay-Z once again. “Deja Vu” didn’t experience quite the same success as its predecessor, but it’s become an underrated gem in her catalog. The album, released on Bey’s 25th birthday, also included another collaboration with the rapper, “Upgrade U.”
April 2008: The Royal Wedding
Beyoncé and Jay-Z got married on April 4, 2008, which makes it the date of America’s only royal wedding thus far. However, unlike Britain’s grand royal weddings, which are broadcasted to the entire world, Bey-Z’s nuptials were a much more intimate affair. Neither of them even confirmed their wedding until later in the year in separate interviews, when Jay-Z said they got married in front of “maybe 30” guests at his apartment. “It was a very emotional wedding—lots of crying—and really very spiritual,” a guest told PEOPLE at the time.
2010-2011: Rumors Swirl That Beyoncé Is Pregnant
Rumors started to swirl in 2010 that Beyoncé and Jay-Z were expecting their first child, reports that follow most celebrity couples after they get married. The couple didn’t comment at the time, but in her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream, Beyoncé revealed that she experienced a miscarriage around this time. “I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life,” she said. “I flew back to New York to get my check-up — and no heartbeat.”
The star reflected on her experience in a 2019 interview with ELLE, slyly announcing that she had more than one miscarriage, all of which taught her a lesson. “Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else,” she said. “Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper. ... Being ‘number one’ was no longer my priority. My true win is creating art and a legacy that will live far beyond me.”
August 2011: Beyoncé Announces Her Pregnancy At The VMAs
In what might be the most legendary pregnancy announcement of all time, Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant while performing “Love On Top” at the 2011 VMAs, unbuttoning her sequined purple blazer to reveal her baby bump and smiling from ear to ear. The camera then panned to Jay-Z and his friend Kanye West, who were absolutely ecstatic about the reveal, mirroring all of us.
January 2012: Blue Ivy Carter Arrives
Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcomed their first child, a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, on Jan. 7. Her name holds significant meaning, as Blue was inspired by her dad’s famous album The Blueprint, while Ivy comes from the Roman numeral IV, which just happens to be her parents’ lucky number. The next month, the couple confirmed Blue Ivy’s arrival on by sharing the first photos of their daughter on Beyoncé’s Tumblr page. “We welcome you to share in our joy,” they wrote. “Thank you for respecting our privacy during this beautiful time in our lives.”
Only two days after her birth, Blue Ivy made history. Bey-Z’s daughter became the youngest artist to appear on a Billboard chart at just two days old after she was credited as “B.I.C.” on her dad’s song “Glory,” which featured the newborn’s cries and charted at 74 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2021, she became the youngest individually credited Grammy winner in history at just 9 years old after taking home Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl,” a collaboration with her mom and Wizkid. Clearly, her quest to become the next Queen of Pop is going swimmingly.
December 2013: Bey & Jay Get “Drunk In Love”
Over 10 years after releasing their first collaboration “’03 Bonnie and Clyde,” Beyoncé and Jay-Z unveiled its sequel, “Part II (On the Run),” as part of Jay-Z’s 2013 album Magna Carter Holy Grail. The songs would inspire the name of their co-headlining tours, but it was only an appetizer compared to the song they would unleash next.
On Dec. 13, 2013, Beyoncé dropped her self-titled visual album with no prior announcement, a release strategy which is now called “pulling a Beyoncé.” The album featured “Drunk In Love,” a collaboration with Jay-Z that redefined the words “surfboard” and “watermelon.” The song went on to chart at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and win two Grammys for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song.
May 2014: The Elevator
Beyoncé and Jay-Z announced their first co-headlining stadium tour in April 2014, but just a month later, things went haywire. On May 5, TMZ published surveillance footage from an elevator at a MET Gala afterparty, which appeared to show Beyoncé’s sister Solange trying to attack Jay-Z. The trio quickly released a statement clarifying that their private situation had been resolved. “Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred,” they wrote. “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. At the end of the day families have problems and we’re no different.”
In the months following the incident, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Solange all appeared to be amicable, especially as the couple embarked on their On The Run Tour. That August, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy presented Beyoncé with the Video Vanguard Award at the 2014 VMAs, and a few months later, the family attended Solange’s wedding to Alan Ferguson in New Orleans. However, as revealed on Beyoncé’s next album, the tension was likely more palpable than it seemed.
April 2015: Jay-Z Reveals Wedding Photos
To celebrate their seven-year anniversary, Jay-Z posted some rare video footage of their intimate 2008 wedding on Instagram — before swiftly deleting not only the post, but his entire Instagram account the next day. Bey-Z is really dedicated to keeping their love life private.
April 2016: Beyoncé Drops Lemonade
On April 23, 2016, Beyoncé released her visual album and film Lemonade, which tells the story of cheating and infidelity from a woman’s point of view. Each song on the album represents one of 12 stages of grief and acceptance: intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, loss, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption, all of which Beyoncé goes through in the film. While the project centers the experience of Black women, fans began to speculate that Beyoncé was telling her own story of betrayal, fueling rumors that Jay-Z had cheated and launching an investigation about the identity of “Becky with the good hair.”
The singer refused to comment beyond her music itself, but the couple made it clear that they were in a good place. Beyoncé brought out her husband on the final show of her Formation World Tour to perform “Drunk In Love,” where she told the crowd to “give it up for my man.”
February 2017: Bey-Z Announces Twins
In what might be the second most legendary pregnancy announcement of all time, Beyoncé announced that she was expecting twins on Feb. 1, 2017, with a heavenly Instagram photoshoot that’s been memed and recreated countless times since. “We would like to share our love and happiness,” she wrote on behalf of her husband and herself. “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.” Two months later, the couple celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary by sharing new photos and a montage video set to Beyoncé’s love ballad “Die For You” on her Instagram page.
June 2017: Rumi & Sir Carter Are Born
Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcomed twins Sir and Rumi Carter on June 14, 2018, marking their second and third child, respectively. However, Bey didn’t confirm their birth until the twins were one month old, when she posted Sir and Rumi’s first photo on Instagram, a continuation of their mom’s flower goddess-style pregnancy photoshoot.
However, that month wasn’t only focused on the couple’s happiness. On June 30, Jay-Z released his 13th studio album, 4:44, often considered his response to Lemonade, in which he opens up about his marriage and publicly confirms that he did cheat on his wife. “I apologize, our love was one for the ages and I contained us,” he rapped, later adding, “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.”
November 2017: Jay-Z Opens Up About Cheating
Months after 4:44 confirmed public speculation about Jay-Z’s infidelity, the rapper opened up about what led him to cheat on Beyoncé in a candid interview with T Magazine, saying that it stemmed from hiding his pain and emotions as a child. “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 explained. “So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can't connect ... And then all the things happen from there: infidelity.”
He continued to explain how he worked on his marriage to Beyoncé, admitting that hearing each other’s albums about their relationship was “very, very uncomfortable” for both of them. “Most people walk away, and divorce rate is like 50 percent or something ’cause most people can’t see themselves,” he said. “The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself. So, you know, most people don’t want to do that. You don’t want to look inside yourself. And so you walk away.”
June 2018: Bey-Z Declares Everything Is Love
On the heels of Beyoncé's historic Coachella performance in April 2018, she and Jay-Z announced their second co-headlining stadium tour, this time named On the Run II, sparking rumors that the two were finally about to release a joint album after years of frequent collaborations. After their London show on June 16, the couple finally confirmed the rumors by pulling a Beyoncé and dropping EVERYTHING IS LOVE by surprise, under their new duo name The Carters.
The album feels like a bittersweet culmination of the journey they detailed on Lemonade and 4:44, in which the couple acknowledge their struggles but focus on celebrating their individual and collective success. Lyrics like “You did some things to me / Boy you do some things to me / But love is deeper than your pain and I believe you can change” on the album’s finale “LOVEHAPPY” nodded to Jay-Z’s infidelity, but the duo’s message was clear: Bey-Z is reunited and doing better than ever.
September 2018: Bey-Z Renew Their Vows
On Sept. 4, 2018, Beyoncé revealed that she and Jay-Z had renewed their vows in a letter posted to her website, in which she reflected on her past year on her 37th birthday. “At 36, I became a new mother of three. I breastfed my twins. I renewed my vows with my husband of 10 years,” she wrote. “I came back home to the stage to do Coachella, after pregnancy. Then my husband and I released our album together, Everything Is Love. And we’ve been touring with our family around the world, and loving it. This year has been monumental for me.”
The couple first hinted that they renewed their vows in a video shown on their On the Run II tour, where both artists are shown in all-white attire at what appeared to be a vow renewal ceremony, joined by their three children.
March 2019: The Couple Receives Honors At The NAACP Image Awards
Beyoncé and Jay-Z accepted their respective wins at the 2019 NAACP Image Awards in a rare joint speech, where the rapper dedicated his President’s Award to the “strong women” in his life, including “the beautiful woman in my life, it’s Beyoncé.”
September 2021: Beyoncé & Jay-Z Pose For Tiffany & Co.
For their “About Love” campaign “celebrating modern love,” Tiffany & Co. turned to the celebrity couple that has defined love in the 21st century: Bey and Jay. The duo posed for the Breakfast at Tiffany’s-inspired ad campaign, their first as a couple, in which Beyoncé became just the fourth person and first Black woman to wear the iconic Tiffany Yellow Diamond, while Jay-Z sported Jean Schlumberger's Bird on a Rock brooch reconstructed as a pair of cuff links. The “Break My Soul” singer also recorded a cover of “Moon River,” footage of which was captured by her husband.
November 2021: Jay Follows Bey On Instagram
Jay-Z joined Instagram once again to promote the Netflix film he co-produced, The Harder They Fall, and followed just one person on the platform: Beyoncé. She graciously returned the favor, marking her first time following another Instagram account, but true to form, he deleted his page after just one day, and Beyoncé has followed absolutely nobody ever since.
After two decades together, ten years of marriage, and a willingness to share their ups and downs through their art, if there’s anyone in Hollywood that knows a thing or two about love, it’s Beyoncé and Jay-Z.