Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981), best known mononymously as Beyoncé (pronounced /biːˈɒnseɪ/), is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and model. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools, and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the girl group Destiny's Child. Knowles has sold more than 50 million records worldwide with the group and over 75 million records in her total career.
In June 2003, during the hiatus of Destiny's Child, Knowles released her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, which became one of the most successful albums of that year, and signaled her viability as a solo artist. The album was a commercial and critical success, spawning the hits "Crazy in Love", "Baby Boy", and earning Knowles five Grammy Awards in 2004. The disbanding of Destiny's Child in 2005 facilitated her continued success: her sophomore solo album, B'Day, released in 2006, debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, and produced the hits "Deja Vu", "Irreplaceable", and "Beautiful Liar". Her third solo album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, was released in November 2008, and included the hits "If I Were a Boy", "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", and "Halo". Knowles has attained five Hot 100 number one singles, becoming one of the two female artists with the most number ones attained within the 2000-2009 decade. She is the female artist with the most cumulative weeks at number one (37 weeks) this decade, and has also attained the most top five hits and the most top tens on the Hot 100 this decade with twelve.
The success of her solo albums has established Knowles as one of the most marketable artists in the music industry, and she has expanded her career to acting and product endorsement. She began her acting career in 2001, appearing in the musical film Carmen: A Hip Hopera. In 2006, she starred in the lead role in the film adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls, for which she earned two Golden Globe nominations. Knowles launched her family's fashion line, House of Deréon, in 2004, and has been engaged to endorse such brands as Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and L'Oréal. In 2009, Forbes listed Knowles fourth on its list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the world, third on its list of the top-grossing musicians, and number one on the list of top Best-Paid Celebs Under 30 with over $87 million dollars in earnings between 2008 and 2009.
During the turmoil of Destiny's Child in 2000, Knowles had admitted in December 2006 that she had experienced depression from an accumulation of struggles: the publicized split of LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, being publicly attacked by the media, critics and blogs for causing the split-up, and a longstanding boyfriend (that she had dated from age 12 to 19 years) leaving her.
The depression was so severe it had lasted for a couple of years, while she had kept herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat anything. Knowles stated that she struggled to speak about her depression because Destiny's Child had just won their first Grammy Award and she feared no one would take her seriously. All of these events had made her question herself and who her friends were, describing the situation she said, "Now that I was famous, I was afraid I'd never find somebody again to love me for me. I was afraid of making new friends." She remembers her mother, Tina Knowles, for finally saying to help her out of her depression, "Why do you think a person wouldn't love you? Don't you know how smart and sweet and beautiful you are?"
Since 2002, Knowles has been in a relationship with rapper Jay-Z, with whom she has collaborated several times. Rumors began to circulate about their relationship after Knowles was featured on "'03 Bonnie and Clyde". In spite of persistent rumors about their relationship, they remained discreet about it. In 2005, rumors began to spread about the marriage of the couple. Knowles closed the speculation stating that she and Jay-Z were not even engaged. When asked again about the subject in September 2007, Jay-Z replied, "One day soon—let's leave it at that." Laura Schreffler, senior writer for OK! magazine, said, "They are intensely private people".
On April 4, 2008, Knowles and Jay-Z were married in New York City. It became a matter of public record on April 22, 2008, but Knowles did not publicly debut her wedding ring until the Fashion Rocks concert on September 5, 2008 in New York City. Knowles finally revealed their marriage through an opening montage video at the listening party for I Am... Sasha Fierce in Manhattan's Sony Club.
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