Happy Birthday, Beyoncé! 40 of the Superstar’s Most Iconic Moments

Happy Birthday, Beyoncé! 40 of the Superstar’s Most Iconic Moments
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When it comes to pop stars, few people are as universally loved—or as universally admired—as Beyoncé. Sure, the Mileys and Rihannas of the world are constantly riling people up with a seemingly endless stream of controversy, but Queen Bey often manages to steer clear of controversy—unless there’s a billion dollars on an elevator, to use her math.

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True, this hasn’t been the easiest year for Beyonce—who’s battled divorce rumors and that nasty elevator incident—but she’s still got plenty to celebrate. She’s got a summer tour (with her husband!) set to gross $100 million, she earned a lifetime achievement award from MTV, and she’s got her own HBO special coming this September. Not too shabby for 33!

Today, we’re taking took a look back at the singer’s most iconic moments through her career and personal life. From her secret wedding to husband Jay Z to when she very publicly announced her pregnancy, Bey’s life is a veritable livestream of amazing occurrences.

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Click through the gallery to see 32 moments when Beyoncé proved she run the world!

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When she totally stole the show away from Michelle and Kelly during the now-iconic video for "Survivor."

When she made corn rows and crimps look good in the "Say My Name" video.

When she met Jay Z at 18, started dating him at 19, and then didn't marry him for another 10+ years.

When she coined the term "Bootylicious," which was later officially added to the dictionary.

When she made her official solo debut in the "Crazy In Love" video, thus claiming ownership of the "white tank top and blue Daisy Dukes" look forever.

When she landed the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2007.

When she dressed up like Jay Z for the "Upgrade U" music video.

When she secretly married Jay Z in Manhattan in 2008, and didn't even release photos of her wedding dress until years later, when she showed clips of it in a montage reel for one of her tours.

When after getting married she released "Single Ladies," which has become its own dance and has one of the most-watched music videos ever on YouTube.


When she created her alter ego and released a two-disc album that was one half "Beyoncé" and one half "Sasha Fierce."

When, after a year-long break from being in the spotlight, she made her big comeback performance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards. No one knew that during this performance, she was actually pregnant with her first child, which she later miscarried.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ABC

When she chose to very publicly announce her pregnancy, by walking the red carpet at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards while cradling her baby bump in her hands.


When she then performed at the Awards, and after the conclusion of her song "Love On Top," Bey dropped the mic on the stage, opened her sequin blazer, and rubbed her belly for the whole world to see.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When her daughter Blue Ivy Carter was born on January 7, 2012, and Beyoncé chose to share photos of the newborn via a Tumblr created in her honor.

When, just four months after giving birth, she wore a completely sheer Givenchy gown to the Met Gala.

Photo: Julian Mackler/BFAnyc/Sipa USA/Julian Mackler/BFAnyc/Sipa USA

When she then met those critics' accusations by organizing a press conference, at which she belted the song live and finished with, "Any questions?"

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

When, only a year after giving birth, she covered GQ in a cutoff football jersey tee and a skimpy Dolce & Gabbana thong.

When she brought Destiny's Child back together for her Super Bowl Halftime Show, and both Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams knocked it out of the park.

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

When she performed so hard at the 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show that the power went off in the stadium for nearly a full hour after her show. In response to the blackout, Jay Z tweeted, "Lights out. Any questions?"

Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When she posed for H&M's summer swimsuit collection, and used the opportunity to debut snippets from her new song, "Standing on the Sun."

When she wore Givenchy Couture again to the Met Gala, repeating the same entrance as she had the year prior: she walked the red carpet dead last.

Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

When she had her own self-written, self-directed, self-produced HBO documentary... about herself. She also took the opportunity to show the world how Blue Ivy had grown since we first saw her.

When she announced her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour by dressing up as Marie Antoinette.

When she was spotted shopping at a Target store in her native Houston, Texas.

This cover.

When she biked to her most recent concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center from her home in Tribeca.

When she took her weave out and posted a few pictures of her pixie to Instagram, thereby sending the entire Internet into a frenzy.

When, just a few days later, she hit the stage with a long wedge bob and sent the Internet into yet another frenzy.

When she made a tank top, denim cutoffs, and a hipster headband her official Summer 2013 uniform.

When she and husband Jay Z skipped the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards but made a point to attend the after-parties, because they can do whatever they want.

Photo: WireImage/WireImage

When she went base jumping in Isabel Marant sneaker wedges. Because, of course.

When she surprised the world by dropping an album that she'd produced entirely in secret—complete with music videos—and created a literal overnight sensation. The album broke iTunes records as the fastest-selling album ever.

When she made the cover of TIME's Most Influential People issue. Who needs pants when you're the boss?

When she and Jay-Z did this number at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When she proclaimed gender equality "a myth" and made being a feminist cool.

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

When she and Jay-Z teamed up to do the "On the Run" summer tour together, uniting two of music's biggest acts and grossing $100 million.

When she accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from MTV—and proved why she's the biggest star working today by owning the stage in an epic, 16-minute performance.

Photo: Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV

... and capped it all off with this charming family moment with Jay-Z and Blue Ivy.

Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images

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