Beyoncé showed us why she’s a pop culture icon and renowned performer during her HBO documentary Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream, which aired last night. But the 31-year-old megastar also displayed a more compassionate, relatable side.
During the 90-minute film, which she executive produced, the singer/actress/businesswoman/mother let down her guard and enlightened us with her words of wisdom, even sharing her most private moments with her husband Jay-Z and 13-month-old daughter Blue Ivy, who made several appearances.
From her miscarriage to the reason she fired her father Mathew Knowles as her manager, here are 10 things we learned about Queen Bey.
1. Firing her father wasn’t easy, but she had to do it.
“I needed boundaries and I think my dad needed boundaries. I needed a break. I needed my dad,” she said, while admitting, “It was hard. I had to sacrifice my relationship with my dad. It was a stressful, sad, difficult time, but I had to let go.”
2. She confides in her computer.
She uses the camera as her diary, recording her most intimate thoughts. “Thank God for my computer. Sometimes when there’s no one to talk to, I talk out loud so I can get all of my thoughts out and try to figure out the issues that I’m having and I’m trying to find the answers.”
3. Her 2011 Billboard Music Awards performance had to be epic.
She was pregnant at the time and had just let go of her father as her manager. “It was me putting my stamp on my independence,” said Bey.
4. She fights for her fellow women.
“Nobody knew I was pregnant during [the Billboard] performance and I’m cool with that. I’m not interested in a free ride, but it absolutely proved to me that women have to work much harder to make it in this world. It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities as men do, or money for that matter. Because let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show.”
5. She’s learning to be a shrewd businesswoman.
“My father taught me so much about being a businesswoman and I’m understanding him a lot now and I think I realize that business and being polite, it doesn’t match. You can be fair, but me being polite was not me being fair to myself. Now I’m learning how political things are and a lot of the crazy things he did was necessary.”
6. Jay-Z has taught her a lot about herself.
“He’s taught me so much about being an artist—not a musician, but an artist. And fighting for what I believe, and having my standards. I’m like most women, very generous and I’ll compromise, and he doesn’t compromise his art. I used to be afraid of people thinking I was difficult or too critical and I don’t really care about that anymore, as long as it’s for the right reason and I learned that from him.”
Their careers weren’t the only reason they fell in love. “We connected because we both perform and we both have similar lifestyles. But we connected on a spiritual level and he just so happened to be a musician.”
Blue Ivy’s birth made her realize how much she was in love. “This baby has made me love him more than I ever thought I could love another human being,” she said. “It’s every woman’s dream to feel this way about someone.”
The film included personal footage of them singing Coldplay’s “Yellow” together and Bey toasting her husband on his birthday.
7. She has contemplated retirement.
“Sometimes I think, should I just retire? All I need is not me because I can’t do it by myself.”
8. She was disgusted by the surrogacy rumors.
“…To think that I would be that vain. I respect mothers and women so much and to be able to experience bringing a child into this world, if you’re lucky and fortunate enough to experience that, I would never ever take that for granted. … There’s certain things that you don’t play around with. And a child, you don’t play around with that.”
9. She suffered a miscarriage prior to Blue Ivy’s birth.
A heartbroken Bey consoled herself by writing a song. “I went into the studio and wrote the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life, and it was actually the first song I wrote for my album. And it was the best form of therapy for me because it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.”
She played some of the song, which includes the lyrics: “You took the life right out of me/ I’m longing for your heartbeat.”
10. Motherhood has changed her outlook on life.
“My baby was born out of a conflict in my life and that struggle had to be settled,” she explained. “There’s something so relieving about life taking over you like that. You’re playing a part in a much bigger show and that’s what life is. It’s the greatest show on earth.”
Watch the full documentary below.