Rapper/businessman JAY-Z was uncharacteristically transparent about his nine-year marriage to singer/songwriter Beyonce in a mini-documentary accompanying 4:44, his latest studio album.
In a new video for the album’s title track, JAY-Z showed a side of himself that followers have rarely seen. The 4:44 singer opened up about the highs and lows of his relationship with Beyonce, revealing that their nearly decade-long marriage wasn’t built on the “100 percent truth” and that he, on at least one occasion, had to beg her not to leave him.
JAY-Z and Beyonce have struggled to keep their relationship as private from the public eye as possible. Nonetheless, rumors about alleged affairs have hounded the couple for years, with speculation reaching a climax during JAY-Z and Solange Knowles’s infamous elevator fight after the 2014 Met Gala. Following this unfortunate event, the Knowles-Carter family had to release a statement, giving the public a rare glimpse into their private affairs.
Then, in 2016, Beyonce left her fans stunned when she alluded to JAY-Z’s infidelity and their marital troubles in her groundbreaking Lemonade. The widely acclaimed album followed a woman’s emotional journey and awakening after discovering that her partner had cheated on her.
4:44, which dropped shortly after the birth of Bey and JAY’s newborn twins, seems a response of sorts to Lemonade, in which JAY-Z owns up to his mistakes and reflects on his marriage to Beyonce.
“This is my real life,” the rapper said in the 4:44 mini-documentary (via ET).
“I just ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth and it starts cracking. Things start happening that the public can see.”
JAY-Z admitted that struggling to save his marriage to Beyonce was “the hardest thing” he had ever done.
“Then we had to get to a point of, ‘Okay, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning.'”
The 4:44 artist also shared that he once had to swallow his pride and plead with Beyonce to stay with him. This, he said in the video, happened while they were on vacation, on a boat, and having “the best time.”
“I was like, ‘Man, this is great,'” he recalled.
“Then she had to leave. I was, like, crushed. ‘Man, I don’t even feel like this. What is happening to my body right now?’ I don’t even feel like this. Did I just say, ‘Don’t leave?'”
JAY-Z, now a father of three, said that he eventually realized that honesty was necessary for his marriage to survive.
“We just got to a place where, in order for this to work, this can’t be fake. Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”
According to E!, this honesty extended to 4:44, with the rapper reportedly letting Beyonce listen to the entire album before its release. Apart from JAY-Z, the 4:44 mini-documentary also features Will Smith, Chris Rock, Chris Paul, Kendrick Lamar, Aziz Ansari, Jesse Williams, Mahershala Ali, Anthony Anderson, and Meek Mill. All of them opened up about love, dating, and the difficulty of maintaining relationships under public scrutiny.
4:44 is streaming exclusively on Tidal.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]