Jay-Z and Beyoncé are one of the most powerful couples in Hollywood, with a combined net worth of nearly $2 billion.
Their relationship has been the fodder of some of their most famous works, most notably Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” and Queen Bey has been outspoken about Jay-Z’s influence on her career.
But for some fans, their relationship just isn’t quite right. Namely, because at first, Beyoncé was barely out of her teens, while Jay-Z was in his 30s.
And a video of a younger Beyoncé gushing about Jay-Z at the awards ceremony has reignited a conversation about whether the rapper made it up in the early 2000s.
The 12-year age gap between Beyoncé and Jay-Z struck some fans as inappropriate.
The couple met in 2000 when Beyoncé was 19 and Jay-Z was 31 and they started dating in 2001.
Fans have been debating the issue for years, but a recent clip of Beyoncé at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards brought it back to the fore.
The clip, taken from Beyoncé’s speech receiving the first annual Millennium Award acceptance ceremony after her performance of “Run the World (Girls),” shows the singer gawking at her husband.
“I like some Jay-Z,” she said impassioned as he looked up at the rapper from the crowd.
Of course, their relationship would hit the rocks about five years later when Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé with an unnamed woman.
The issue became the basis for Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album “Lemonade”, in which she identifies the woman as only “Becky with Good Hair”.
Given the ways things turned out, the clip struck many fans as a “red flag” for their relationship, especially since Jay-Z barely reacted to the tribute.
“They went to leave this earth before we knew the truth about their relationship,” one TikTok user quipped.
But the clip also reminded others of the uncomfortable history of their relationship.
Fans have accused Jay-Z of grooming Beyoncé while she was still in her teens.
“Beyonce is set up and this guy is creepy,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
Beyoncé said they met when she was 18 and started dating when she was 19. But fans have dug up photos that they said show they met as early as 1997, when Beyoncé was just 16.
and Beyoncé later He told Oprah Winfrey She and Jay were “friends for a year and a half” before they began dating, which led to further speculation that the relationship began while Beyoncé was still an underage.
Regardless, while the 19-year-old dating a 32-year-old man isn’t technically minor — and it didn’t raise any eyebrows in 2003 — the Beyoncé and Jay-Z pairing would certainly be controversial today.
But even Beyoncé’s own comments about the relationship have struck some as the inappropriate dynamic.
In her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream, Beyoncé toasts Jay-Z on his 37th birthday because she “taught me how to be a woman,” a common occurrence some found uncomfortable.
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Jay-Z has a history of dating younger women, some of whom were rumored to be underage at the time.
Most notably, it’s rumored to be Jay-Z I dated Rihanna During a secret break of he and Beyoncé’s relationship in 2005.
Born in 1988, Rihanna was only 17 years old at the time.
She has long been rumored to be dating Jay-Z Rapper Foxy Brown in the ’90s while the two were collaborating on music in the ’90s.
Their first collaboration, “Ain’t No N-gga” featuring sexual lyrics between Jay-Z and Brown, was released in 1996 but is believed to have been recorded in 1994, when Brown was 15 or 16 years old.
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Whether or not Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s relationship had ill-fated beginnings, the two seem to be going strong — and fans are thinking they’re having another baby.
Since getting married in 2008, the two have raised three children together, 11-year-old Blue Ivy and five-year-old twins Sir and Rumi.
And after Beyoncé’s controversial recent performance in Dubai, some think Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s family may be expanding.
Fans have speculated that Beyoncé is secretly pregnant with her and Jay-Z’s fourth child after they discovered what they believed to be a baby bump during her concert.
It looks like “03 Bonnie & Clyde” probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
John Sondholm is a news and entertainment writer covering popular culture, social justice, and human interest topics.