Did he or didn’t he cheat? It’s a question that surrounded Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s relationship for years, until she released 2016’s Lemonade and addressed the struggles of marriage pretty colorfully. “Becky with the Good Hair," a hit lyric off the album, quickly became synonymous with "the other woman" thanks to her music.
Since then, Jay-Z has addressed their problems on 4:44, and in a November 2017 interview with The New York Times, in which he talked about using their music as a form of therapy.
“The best place in the, you know, hurricane is like in the middle of it,” Jay-Z said then, adding, “We were sitting in the eye of that hurricane. And it was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations. You know. [I was] really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another's craft. I think she's amazing.”
Now, he’s opened up about the drama once more as a guest on David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. While they discussed Trump’s presidency and his mother’s story of coming out as a lesbian, Letterman got him to talk about infidelity by addressing his own, and how it changed his family forever.
“At the time, the pain that I caused myself was the fear that I had blown up my family,” Letterman told Jay-Z, according to The Daily Beast. “I never talked to a person who had been in that situation. And I’m wondering if this rings a bell with you.”
Jay-Z knew exactly what he was talking about. “For a lot of us, especially where I grew up and men in general, we don’t have emotional cues from when we were young. Our emotional cue is ‘Be a man. Don’t cry,'” he told Letterman, moving on to reference his song “Song Cry” in which he talks about that very topic. “It was my way of saying I want to cry, I want to be open, I want to have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together.”
“Much like you, I have a beautiful wife who was understanding and who knew I’m not the worst of what I’ve done,” he continued, alluding to the fact that Beyoncé was open to making the marriage work. “We did the hard work of going to therapy,” he said. “We love each other, so we really put in the work for years."
So what’s their relationship like now? “I like to believe we’re in a better place today,” he said. ““But we’re still working and communicating and growing. And I’m proud of the father and the husband that I am today because of all the work that was done.”
Watch a preview of the interview here:
And catch My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix now.