With 10 Grammys and a few movie roles under her belt, Beyoncé says she feels blessed. "I'm very fortunate, and I have more than I ever thought I would," she says. "But I feel like I've worked very hard for everything that I have."
Although her life looks glamorous on the outside, Beyoncé says the road to success wasn't always easy. "I had to sacrifice a lot growing up, and I didn't do a lot of things that most teenage girls did ... going to the prom, going to the games," she says. "Now I look back and I wouldn't change anything. I believe young people are supposed to work [hard] while you're young. When you're in school, you're supposed to focus on school. And now I'm able to relax when I want to relax."
With such a hectic lifestyle, Beyoncé says she's doing everything she can to live in the moment and appreciate life. "I actually saw an interview we did and I could hear how exhausted I was and I, at the time, was kind of going through the motions and I almost couldn't remember what I was doing. And I said, 'This is kind of ridiculous. I have to slow down,'" she says. "I try to now, [as] I'm getting older, to appreciate the moments. So I am present a lot more than I used to be."
Despite her busy schedule, Beyoncé found time to marry hip-hop artist and former Def Jam Records CEO Sean Carter—also known as Jay-Z. "It was very private, and I can say outside it was paparazzi and it was madness, and inside it was really beautiful," she says.
Although she wants to keep the details private, Beyoncé says it isn't easy. "I had to really learn how to have boundaries and how to have balance. It's something that I never have really talked about, and I still feel like it was difficult—and it still is—because I'm so excited about it," she says. "But it's important that I keep things that are pure and real in perspective and I keep it separate from my performance life."
What Beyonceé will say is that it feels great to be married—but it's also important to make a commitment to yourself before walking down the aisle. "Make sure you have your own life before you're someone else's wife," she says.
Now that Beyoncé's married, Oprah asks the question that's on many people's minds—is she pregnant?
"No," Beyoncé says. "Everybody wants me to be pregnant. They've been saying it for years and years. I guess it's just a part of being a celebrity."
Someday, though, Beyoncé says she'd like to become a mother. "I want a family, but there's a time for it, and I'm not ready yet," she says. "Maybe in a couple years."
The woman sitting next to Oprah is Beyoncé—but the force you see strutting her stuff in the music videos is actually her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. "She doesn't do interviews," Beyoncé says. "She only performs."
Beyoncé says she crafted her stage persona to help her overcome challenges and give the best performances she can. "It's kind of like doing a movie. When you put on the wig and put on the clothes, you walk different," she says. "It's no different from anyone else. I feel like we all kind of have that thing that takes over."
Sasha Fierce usually appears right before Beyoncé is about to take the stage. "Usually when I hear the chords, when I put on my stilettos. Like the moment right before when you're nervous," she says. "Then Sasha Fierce appears, and my posture and the way I speak and everything is different."
Even though her new album is named for her other self, Beyoncé says she still wanted to share a piece of her true self on the record. "People, I think, are a little more familiar with my stage persona," she says. "I wanted to reveal more of who I am. And songs like 'Boy' and 'Halo' [are] more personal and more intimate and vulnerable."
When she's not playing Sasha Fierce, you can catch Beyoncé on the big screen. After her showstopping performance in Dreamgirls, Beyoncé took on another big role—Etta James in the upcoming film Cadillac Records.
At first, Beyoncé says she wasn't sure she could handle the role. Etta James not only had a big voice—she also struggled with addiction. "I was afraid because I have one scene in the movie where I almost overdose on heroin and every other word out of my mouth is profanity," she says. "I was afraid that I wasn't ready for a part so dramatic. And my mother said, 'What's wrong with you? You're absolutely ready.'"
With her family's support, the help of an acting coach and a lot of research, Beyoncé dove into the role headfirst. "I studied Etta James, but I did not want to mimic her. I wanted to do my own interpretation," she says. "I visited the Phoenix House [a drug and alcohol treatment facility]. I met a lot of people, and they answered a lot of questions because I wanted to understand the need for the addiction."
Beyoncé says Etta James is the most fulfilling role she's ever played and she loved working with Cadillac Records director Darnell Martin. "I completely trusted her and she trusted me, and [co-star] Adrien Brody was incredible," she says. "I'm only in the end of the movie, but it's an ensemble cast and it's a story that needs to be told."
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