Beyonce began 2013 making headlines, and ended the year the same way. And she didn’t slow down all year.
In January, Beyonce found herself in the hot seat for her lip-synching performance of the national anthem at President Obama‘s second-term inauguration. Days later, at a press conference promoting her imminent Super Bowl halftime performance, she admitted she’d sung along to a pre-recorded track at the inauguration. Her acclaimed Super Bowl halftime show performance was so electrifying that she was accused of causing the stadium’s power outage that followed shortly after, which delayed the game for 34 minutes.
That same month, the diva also released her autobiographical documentary, Life Is but a Dream, which premiered on HBO. In the film, Bey candidly spoke about sharing intimate parts of her life. “It’s time for people to really get to know me and to see a different side,” she says. “And I’m really curious and scared, and every night I’m like, ‘Now it’s too late. It’s coming out, but I’m happy with it.”
After getting her hair caught in a fan during a summer concert, Bey caused a media stir after she cut her hair very short and posted a photo of her new blonde pixie cut on her Instagram page.
Beyonce made heads turn again when she appeared on the Forbes annual list of the highest-paid women in the industry, claiming the number-four spot, behind Madonna, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, with $53 million. Forbes estimates that on her Mrs. Carter World Tour, the singer earns two million bucks in every city she plays. Bey also earned income from her House of Dereon clothing line, her fragrance collection, and lucrative endorsement deals with Pepsi and H&M. And her husband did pretty well, too: earlier in the year, Bey and Jay Z topped the Forbes list of highest-earning celebrity couples. The famous pair, who have been married since 2008, have raked in an estimated $95 million in combined earnings between June 2012 and June 2013.
However, the biggest highlight of the year didn’t occur until December, when Beyonce decided to release her fifth studio without any promotion — indeed, no one outside of her immediate circle even knew the album was in the works. The self-titled disc debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, selling 828,773 copies worldwide, making her the first woman to debut at number one with her first five solo studio albums, which include 2003’s Dangerously in Love, 2006’s B’Day, 2008’s I Am… Sasha Fierce, and 2011’s 4.
The stealthy release of Beyonce sparked a tremendous conversation on social media, especially pertaining to the raunchy lyrics. Fans were introduced to the singer’s new alter-ego “Yonce,” who can be heard in some of the album’s racier tracks, namely a song called “Partition,” where she recalls getting frisky with her husband in the back of the limousine. “Driver roll up the partition please/I don’t need you seeing ‘Yonce on her knees,” she sings. “He Monica Lewinsky‘d all over my gown.” For nearly two weeks after the release, Beyonce was seemingly the topic of every blogger trying to determine if her new song content aligns with her feminist and female empowerment message present on her previous albums.
Beyonce also marked the biggest sales week for a woman this year, and the year’s fourth-biggest sales week overall. Ahead of the album are Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience, with 968,000 copies; Eminem‘s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which bowed with 792,000 albums sold; and Drake‘s Nothing Was the Same, which moved 658,000 units.
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