Jay-Z has strongly implied that he was unfaithful to his wife, fellow superstar Beyoncé, in an emotional new interview.
The usually tight-lipped rapper recently opened up to the New York Times’ Dean Baquet about some of his personal struggles – including those in his marriage. He said many of these issues stemmed from his experiences growing up in a poor neighbourhood in New York, which taught him to shut down when confronted with difficult emotions.
“You have to survive. So you go into survival mode, and when you go into survival mode what happens? You shut down all emotions,” he said. “So even with women, you gonna shut down emotionally, so you can’t connect.”
He added: “In my case, like it’s, it’s deep. And then all the things happen from there: infidelity…”
The 47-year-old trailed off, and never confirmed that he was referring to his relationship with Beyoncé. But he spoke openly about their marital discord later, when discussing the pair’s most recent albums. Both albums touched on themes of infidelity and marital strife, and set rumour mills abuzz.
Jay-Z described the time period as “uncomfortable,” and hinted that he and Beyoncé may have even considered divorcing.
“You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is like 50 per cent or something, because most people can’t see themselves,” he said. “The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.”
Rumours of a divorce swirled last year, after Beyoncé released Lemonade. Lyrics such as, “He better call Becky with the good hair”, lead fans to speculate about who “Becky” was, and if Jay-Z had been unfaithful with her.
The rapper appeared to confirm the rumours on his latest album, 4:44, with the lyrics: “Yeah, I’ll f*** up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone, Becky.”
But Jay-Z maintains that the couple stayed strong through the difficult time period.
“[I was] really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released,” he said of his wife. “And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another’s craft.”
He added: “I think she’s amazing.”
Lemonade was nominated for two Grammy awards in 2016, including Album of the Year. Jay-Z’s latest album has been nominated for eight awards at this year’s show, which will be broadcast on 28 January.