Secrets the Knowles family is trying to hide

Before Beyoncé Knowles released her visual album, Lemonade, in 2016, many fans and critics speculated that it was going to be a musical way to serve her husband, rapper and mogul Jay-Z, with divorce papers. When the Grammy-winning record landed, it was painfully obvious that the longtime couple had been through the ringer, but the specifics remained intentionally murky. For her part, the singer-songwriter said while accepting the award for best urban contemporary album (via the Independent), "We all experience pain and loss, and often we become inaudible. My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable."

In her work, Beyoncé presented herself as a woman scorned who was using her personal struggles as source material, emerging stronger on the other side. However, Lemonade raised more questions than it answered — not just about Jay-Z, but the entire Knowles family. The album may have opened our eyes and ears, but Beyoncé and her less famous kin are still keeping some secrets close to the vest.

Mathew Knowles reportedly pushed Beyoncé into show business

Beyoncé loves her work, but those close to her have hinted that her career is largely due to her father's dreams for fame and fortune — not her own.

LaTavia Roberson, one of the founding members of Destiny's Child, told the Mirror that Mathew Knowles' strict training and rehearsal regimen for the girls — when they were as young as 11 — may have hurt them. "It was ­rehearse, rehearse, ­rehearse ... he was like a drill sergeant," Roberson claimed. "... There was a three-and-a-half mile track and we would sing while we jogged around it. Then we would go to the house and ­rehearse. That's what our days consisted of, seven days a week. Looking back, working that hard did cost us our childhood."

Meanwhile, Beyoncé's cousin, Angela Beyince, told Out magazine: "As a child ... I'd go to watch Beyoncé perform, and she was probably 5 years old — beauty pageants, whatever Houston had, she was there performing with a mic in her hand ... and then she'd go back and play. She never reveled in it." Angela added, "I do believe that if she could sing under a secret identity and still affect people and touch their lives that she'd rather not be famous. That, if she had her choice, she'd rather take off her shoes and do cartwheels in the park. That's really who she'd like to be."

Did Mathew Knowles put Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland in harm's way?

Mathew Knowles has been accused of pushing Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland into showbiz with Destiny's Child, but he may have also inadvertently made the then-underage girls targets of harassment in the process. During a December 2019 interview with Vlad TV, Mathew admitted that Bey and Rowland once shared a tour bus with Jagged Edge: "Now, remember the girls are minors ... They're 16 years old, the guys are 21 [and] 22 years old. I have a fiduciary duty with minors, by the law, there's a certain way I have to manage that. I got a call from Kelly and Beyoncé ... saying that they were constantly being harassed by two of the members of Jagged Edge ... I couldn't have that, and I literally had to put the guys off the bus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana." 

While Mathew didn't elaborate on how he dealt with the issue further, he later said in an Instagram video, "I feel the need to clarify that I did not say the girls were sexually harassed while on tour with Jagged Edge. What I said was ... they were harassed." Mathew added, "The term 'sexual harassment' may imply to some to mean physical sexual advances. I certainly would not the throw members of Jagged Edge under the bus in a world that we live in today, using 'sexual' in part of any dialogue. I made damn sure that I was careful not to do that."

Beyoncé and dad Mathew Knowles are estranged

In 2011, Beyoncé fired her father, who had served as her manager since her youth and the Destiny's Child days. While many saw it as a power move for Bey to wrest control of her career, others believed it was a deliberate act to separate herself from her dad after he cheated on her mother, Tina Knowles. It was also widely speculated that Beyoncé had axed Mathew after an audit revealed he'd pilfered money from her (he denied such claims). Meanwhile, there were rumors that relations were so strained that Mathew didn't even have a relationship with his grandchildren.

Addressing the more personal allegations, Mathew admitted he was surprised by the content of Lemonade, including "Daddy Lessons," a song that seems to reference him. However, he revealed that he didn't know how literal his daughter was being on the album. "Well, I can only speculate like everyone else," he told WatchLOUD (via People). "And I think the genius in this body of work that Beyoncé has done is she has us all speculating and she has us all letting our minds expand on her words and the expansion of them." 

All in all, Mathew added that he doesn't care if people think he and Bey aren't close. "I choose to let the press say whatever they want and let people say whatever they want," he said. "It's nobody's business how much I see my daughter or my grandkids, that's something personal that I care not to share."

Beyoncé and Solange reportedly aren't involved in their half-siblings' lives

Beyoncé and younger sister Solange aren't just estranged from Mathew Knowles, they also reportedly have no involvement with his other children — they didn't even attend his wedding to real estate agent and former model Gena Charmaine Avery (pictured, left) in 2013. Mathew told TMZ of the no-shows to his nuptials, which took place in the girls' hometown of Houston, Texas, "Unfortunately, Beyoncé and Solange had previous engagements which made it impossible for them to attend." (Weddings generally aren't last minute, so the sisters' joint absence seems somewhat telling, no?)

However, Avery is not the mother of either of Mathew's post-Tina Knowles children. Son Nixon was reportedly forced to move into a trailer park with his mom, actress Alexsandra Wright, after a judge drastically reduced Mathew's child support payments in 2014, according to the Daily Mail. We don't hear much about Nixon, who is a love child conceived while Mathew was still married to Tina; in 2014, the Mirror reported that Beyoncé had never met her little brother. Meanwhile, in October 2014, a woman named Taqoya Branscomb told Inside Edition (via the Daily Mail) that Mathew was the father of her daughter, Koi, who was then 4 years old. TMZ reported that Mathew took a court-ordered paternity test which determined that he was, in fact, Koi's father.

Does Tina Knowles-Lawson have Scientology ties?

Not unlike her ex-husband, Tina Knowles has also moved on. However, according to documents obtained by Radar Online, her husband, Richard Lawson, took Scientology courses decades before the two tied the knot. In 1990, he reportedly took the "HQS Course," known as the "Hubbard-Qualifying Scientologist" course, which is considered a broad introduction to the religion. In 1997, Richard is on record as having studied under the controversial church's "Personal Values and Integrity Course," which teaches "how to maintain honesty and personal integrity ... how to feel good about yourself and your life." 

Sources claimed that Beyoncé had serious concerns about Tina and Richard's relationship before they got married because of his ties to Scientology. "Beyoncé is arguing with her mom because Tina is dating Richard, who is a practicing Scientologist," a source told The Fix (via Radar Online). "Beyoncé is dead-set against the religion and is worried that her mom is getting sucked in." 

So far, her fears were abated — Tina and Richard tied the knot in 2015 ... and this time, Bey and Solange showed up.

The Knowles family isn't in the Rihanna Navy

There have been rumors for years that Beyoncé's camp doesn't exactly love her husband's one-time mentee, Rihanna. The Barbadian beauty was rumored to be the subject of Bey's 2006 hit "Ring the Alarm." Page Six reported that Jay-Z and Solange's infamous elevator fight at the Met Gala in 2014 partially stemmed from Hov's closeness to RiRi. Prior to that incident, in 2009, Beyoncé's own cousin, Marlon Beyince, slammed the Good Girl Gone Bad singer on Twitter, claiming that her singing voice sounds "like a cat hurt in the alley."

However, there may be more to this story. In an unauthorized 2015 biography, Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story, publicist Jonathan Hay, who was working for "Pon de Replay" songwriter Vada Nobles, said he was desperate to get some press for Rihanna. Hay claims that he asked Jay-Z for a quote about Rihanna to secure anMTV News story, but Jay-Z didn't provide one because, at the time, RiRi was "so far down his totem pole." Hay began planting stories in the press about Jay-Z and Rihanna allegedly hooking up. He recalled that at first no one from the label paid attention, but when Jay-Z realized Hay was behind it, Hov wasn't happy.

"Jay called me and said, 'Dude! She's a minor!' It was true — Rihanna was only 17, that hadn't even occurred to me," Hay confessed. He admitted there was "absolutely not" any truth to the rumors and that it was "all a stunt."

The Solange vs Jay-Z elevator brawl

Beyoncé stood idly by while her sister attacked her husband in an elevator at the 2014 Met Gala in New York. After video footage leaked, everyone wondered what the heck Hova did to inspire the ire of Bey's baby sister. Every major media outlet was hot on the case, but the trio put up a unified front and remained tight-lipped, issuing a simple statement to CNN:

"...Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. 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. The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false. At the end of the day, families have problems and we're no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We've put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same."

Yes, all families have problems, but Solange was going for the jugular. Word is she didn't like how cozy her brother-in-law was getting with his ex-business partner's ex-wife — still with us? That would be Damon Dash's ex, Rachel Roy, who many think is the "Becky with the good hair" referenced in a track called "Sorry" on Beyoncé's Lemonade.

Cheating may run in the Knowles family

In her epic visual album, Lemonade, Beyoncé hinted that cheating husbands may be a family curse going back generations. In one interlude, Beyoncé says, "The past and the future merge to meet us here. What luck. What a f**king curse." Later, she reveals, "My grandma said nothing real can be threatened. True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption. And my torture became my remedy." 

In yet another spoken word segment on the album, Beyoncé shares her grandmother's lemonade recipe, then says, "Grandmother. The alchemist. You spun gold out of this hard life. Conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. Discovered the antidote in your own kitchen. Broke the curse with your own two hands. You past these instructions down to your daughter, who then passed them down to her daughter." Beyoncé also hints at her own father's infidelities in "Daddy Lessons," singing, "Daddy warned me about men like you, he said, 'Baby girl, he's playing you ... When trouble comes in town, men like me come around.'"

All of this is in addition to Jay-Z reportedly cheating on Bey, which he confirms — and for which he apologizes profusely — in his 4:44 album.

Beyoncé almost divorced Jay-Z

Beyoncé and Jay-Z almost split after she reportedly busted him cheating on her — so says one of Bey's cousins, who spilled the beans to the press.

Shanica Knowles told Heat magazine (via BET) in 2016: "[Beyoncé has] admitted that she still may end up divorcing him. It's up to Jay to continue fighting for her and prove that he's determined to do whatever it takes to keep his wife." Shanica added, "This has been a long process and I've heard they've had to deal with silent separations and splits over the past few years ... this is now make or break for them, but Bey's determined to do everything she can to make it work."

In the summer of 2017, Jay-Z confirmed that he almost lost his wife. In the rapper's "Footnotes of 4:44" video, he claims he had to beg Bey not to leave him after he partied way too hard and way too often.

Is Beyoncé and Jay-Z's marriage a business arrangement?

After the 2014 Met Gala elevator fight, reports alleged that Jay-Z and Beyoncé's marriage was strictly business. A source told Page Six that while they started genuinely in love, it was branding that supposedly kept them together. "Business is always part of the equation," the insider claimed. "They know they're the king and queen of hip-hop — and really, all of music. Neither wants to lose that." 

Sources further alleged that Bey genuinely loved Jay, but that their union was a "come up" for her as a solo artist — and that Jay-Z was very controlling. "They are business people first, entertainers second," an insider sniffed. "Husband and wife comes somewhere down the line." Indeed, The Carters went on tour together and dropped EVERYTHING IS LOVE as a team.

That August, Akon spoke out about Jay-Z and Beyoncé's union. "Their relationship has been more of a business to the outside world than an actual relationship," the "Locked Up" singer told TMZ. "Now to them it may be a relationship, but it was presented to the world and it feels more corporate." However, Akon wasn't shading the Carters. Explaining that it's almost impossible for stars of their caliber to have a private life without outside speculation — which is often incorrect and isn't anyone's business — he believed their alleged trials and tribulations would inspire even better music. 

Based on Beyoncé's Lemonade alone, Akon was absolutely right.

Who bit Beyoncé?

In January 2018, Tiffany Haddish sent online stan sleuths crazy when she recalled a story to Vulture about Beyoncé getting bitten by an unnamed star at a private party, further elaborating on the incident in a GQ feature months later. The Internet was quick to finger actress Sanaa Lathan as the culprit, and the Beyhive swarmed, despite Lathan's denials and Queen Bey herself remaining mum on the entire situation. 

Haddish admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that Lathan's family was devastated. "I'm super good friends with her stepmom and her dad, and they were mad at me," the comedian said. "They were like, 'Why would you do this to the family? You know, black actresses, you guys have to stick together, it's so hard for you guys to get work as it is, why would you try to ruin her career?'" Haddish went on to insist, "But I didn't try to ruin her career. I never said her name! I was just trying to say how Beyoncé kept me from goin' to jail that night. I coulda just shut my whole career down."

The Knowles clan never spoke out about the incident, but Tina Knowles-Lawson showed quiet support for Lathan in February 2019, when they posed for a photo together at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon.