cal­cu­la­tion and con­trol

how the carters have sur­vived

Grazia (UK) - - The Take -

When Bey­oncé re­leased her ex­plo­sive visual al­bum Le­mon­ade two years ago, few could have pre­dicted that she and Jay-z would weather the storm she had un­leashed.

Throw­ing her wed­ding ring at the cam­era (‘If you try this shit again, you gon lose your wife’) and smash­ing up cars with a base­ball bat, she fi­nally lifted the lid on the cheat­ing ru­mours that had come to plague their re­la­tion­ship. Overnight, Jay-z’s in­fi­delity with the now in­fa­mous ‘Becky with the good hair’ be­came global knowl­edge. It was an as­ton­ish­ing and ground-break­ing move, even by Bey­oncé’s stan­dards.

Yet cut to to­day, and the cou­ple have made it through to the other side – and are seem­ingly hap­pier than ever. This week marks their 10th wed­ding an­niver­sary, ahead of the pair em­bark­ing on their sec­ond tour to­gether. Last year, they also wel­comed their twins, Sir and Rumi (now 15 months old) to much Instagram fan­fare.

So how did they pull it off ? By all ac­counts, the se­cret of their sur­vival has been the cal­cu­lated ef­forts to con­trol the nar­ra­tive of their re­la­tion­ship. In­stead of al­low­ing gos­sip and ru­mour to dic­tate the pub­lic’s view, they worked to­gether to por­tray their tur­bu­lent mar­riage on their own terms, through their mu­sic, videos, tours and care­fully con­trolled in­ter­views. They’ve given fans just enough to keep us trans­fixed, en­sur­ing we al­ways want more. Their re­la­tion­ship has be­come a brand – and we’re buy­ing what they’re sell­ing.

The turn­ing point, ac­cord­ing to an in­sider close to the cou­ple, was of course

the Met Gala in 2014, when TMZ leaked sur­veil­lance footage of a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion be­tween Bey­oncé’s sis­ter, Solange Knowles, and Jay-z in a lift.

‘Bey­oncé and Jay-z are an ex­tremely pri­vate cou­ple and would al­ways choose to rise above any ru­mours writ­ten about their re­la­tion­ship,’ said the source. ‘But af­ter lift gate, their mar­riage was in freefall. Shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent, Bey­oncé took the de­ci­sion that they would open up to the pub­lic through their art.’

And so, fol­low­ing a muted state­ment at the time call­ing the el­e­va­tor scuf­fle an ‘un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent’, there came Le­mon­ade. Then came Jay’s own re­sponse, the al­bum 4:44, in which he ref­er­enced the cheat­ing, and then a frank in­ter­view with The New York Times con­firm­ing that he’d been un­faith­ful.

At the time, Jay-z com­pared both his and Bey­oncé’s time in the stu­dio to a ‘ther­apy ses­sion’. But per­haps Solange put it bet­ter when she re­vealed last year that she had learned so much from her sis­ter about ‘get­ting to be in con­trol of your own nar­ra­tive’.

The al­bum was a bold move: Bey­oncé is a woman who sel­dom dis­cusses her per­sonal life, and hasn’t given a face-to­face in­ter­view in over four years. Cer­tainly, the for­mer Des­tiny’s Child star had never ad­dressed any pre­vi­ous re­ports of wrong­do­ing on Jay’s part, which has plagued their re­la­tion­ship since they first be­gan dat­ing in 2002, when their megabrand had only just be­gun.

They in­clude a claim in Be­com­ing Bey­oncé: The Un­told Story, by celebrity bi­og­ra­pher J Randy Tarabor­relli, that the pair briefly split up in 2005 af­ter it was ru­moured that Jay had been hav­ing re­la­tions with his pro­tégé, Ri­hanna. Tarabor­relli claimed that while the story didn’t turn out to be true ( it had ap­par­ently been planted by a pub­li­cist try­ing to cre­ate a buzz around the Bar­ba­dian pop star), it still stirred up trou­ble for the pair, with is­sues of jeal­ousy on Bey­oncé’s part. She also re­mained mute when Amer­i­can rap­per and model Liv claimed in 2013 that Jay had come on to her, and re­leased a song about the al­leged in­ci­dent a year later, called Sorry Mrs Carter.

De­spite their is­sues, the cou­ple are un­de­ni­ably stronger to­gether. Last year, they were of­fi­cially re­vealed to have a col­lec­tive for­tune of $1.16 bil­lion. But it’s not only money keep­ing them to­gether. ‘At the top of the list has to be their his­tory to­gether,’ says Tara­borelli, ‘of en­cour­ag­ing each other, for­giv­ing each other, mak­ing mu­sic to­gether… the fam­ily they have cre­ated. All of it hard-earned. They’re not go­ing to aban­don it with­out giv­ing it their all. They have been to­gether for more than 15 years. They have shared his­tory of ups and downs, and it’s made them stronger.’

But while the cou­ple may have taken back con­trol of their story, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that all the cracks have been pa­pered over.

Ac­cord­ing to a well-placed source, the cou­ple have in­stalled a life coach, who of­fers them mar­riage ad­vice, at their mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar LA man­sion. And a source re­cently told Grazia that their mar­riage was still very much a ‘work in progress… Peo­ple as­sume they’ve put their demons to bed, but they’ve had to re­build trust from the ground up. They don’t want to undo all of that progress by Jay go­ing on tour alone and fall­ing into old pat­terns, so they made the joint de­ci­sion to tour to­gether.’

A sec­ond source added, ‘ There’s def­i­nitely still con­cern on Bey­oncé’s part, and trust is still a very tricky is­sue be­tween them. But putting their is­sues out in the open has re­ally helped Bey­oncé re­store her pride, and now she’s ready to hold her head high along­side Jay on this tour.

‘She’ll al­ways be keep­ing a close eye on him and make no mis­take, there will be no sec­ond chance if this hap­pens again. Bey­oncé wants to keep this nar­ra­tive mov­ing for­ward, not back­wards.

‘She won’t be pre­pared to tell the same story twice.’

An­other 10 years? Let’s hope they’ll still be Crazy In Love…

their his­tory of ups and downs have made them stronger

On tour in 2016. Right: Bey with twins Rumi and Sir

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