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While talking as a keynote speaker at the International Women & Money Leadership luncheon in Houston, Tina Knowles opened up for the first time about her life, deciding to end her marriage to Mathew Knowles and finding love again at the age of 60. One big theme in her speech was her refusal to let people and things take away her spirit and her resilience. “I had to fight for myself.” Here are the details we thought you should know:

Starting Her Own Business As Her Marriage Started Falling Apart:

For four years I didn’t work, I just kept my daughter. And then things got really rocky and my marriage got very tumultuous. I was having all these problems and I was like, “What have I done? I’ve been out of the job market for four years.” Self-esteem low. “What do I do now?” In the process of that time I had started beauty school and I had maybe three months to last with that.

After I got pregnant, my marriage just got really bad and I knew I had to do something. So I got very focused about going to school. By the time I had the baby, I already had a clientele. I built a little salon at my house and I’d do hair and I built up my clientele. Eight weeks after I had my baby, I took her to her paternal grandmother and I said, “Listen, you gotta keep her cause I gotta open up a business,” because I would never be in this position again. I would never be totally dependent on someone. I would never give up myself. I opened my business and it was such a success story…it was a labor of love. That adversity of me having this bad marriage caused me to go and do something about my situation. I can get complacent and start taking care of everybody but myself.

How She Ruined Destiny’s Child’s First Record Deal:

You know the story of Destiny’s Child. The first deal that they had, I was the first person to open my big mouth to the people that signed them. The guy told me, “Well, this is going to change their lives and you should stop being so square. You should stop being so protective and get with it.” They were actually exposing the girls to things that I just didn’t feel were appropriate for them to be so young.

Well, he wound up telling me to get out of his office, take the kids home and don’t bring them back. So I’m devastated because I have to go and tell these kids I messed up their deal. So I wound up doing that and again, God just showed up. In three months they got a way bigger and better deal. That has been the nature of my life. Even me starting my clothing line, there had to be turmoil. There had to be something that caused me to have to change so that I could get up and do what I had to do.

Ending Her Marriage At The Age Of 58:

One day my world just exploded and I knew that I had to get a divorce. And at 58 years old, that’s a very hard difficult thing. It does something to your whole self-esteem and psyche, because I had been married for 33 years. I knew that I didn’t have a choice but to do that. It was a very hard time. I was very sad. The amazing thing is, when you look at someone else, you look at them and say, “They’re attractive. They have a lot of good stuff going on for them. They have no right to have low self-esteem. They have no right to feel sorry for themselves.” Well, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, what you’ve done, what you look like, or what you have. You’re a person, you’re a human being. And when something strikes you like that, it takes the breath out of you.But my fight came back. I let myself feel sorry for myself for a minute and then I said, “you know, I’m so blessed to have all the opportunities that I have. And I don’t have the right to feel sorry.”

How Divorce Made Her Focus On Herself:

It gave me the courage to take some time off. I started reading my art books. I love art but I had never had the time. I started traveling. I would travel with my daughter, but not to work! I would say, “No I’m not working.” I had my girlfriend who made me laugh. I would send for her and she would come and come on the road because she’s as crazy as I don’t know what — in a good way!

And we would go to museums, we would go to lunch and we would just laugh. And I just really had forgotten how to live. I had just lost all of myself so I realize now that part of the low self-esteem was, yes, being 58 and having to start all over again, and the other part is that I just lost myself. That I was so busy working and going and taking care of everybody else that I just forgot about Tina. So I would tell my kids, “You know what, you can call me and I’ll be there if it’s really something important, but otherwise, I’m taking care of Tina. This is my selfish moment.” And before I knew it, I started liking me again.

Being Scared To Date Again While Mathew Gets Married For A Second Time:

The whole thing about dating was the scariest thing in the world! I would tell my friends, “Where am I gonna find somebody at 59 years old? Where do you meet men? Where do you get them? They’re all gone.” It was really funny so I just focused on myself.

I hear that my ex-husband is getting married. Now this is my family. My ex-husband is my family. I don’t want to get back into that at all, that’s not what I want. But it still hurts a little bit, right? It’s still a blow to your ego. So I call my crazy friend Monica to take care of me the week of the wedding.

Now, in the meantime, one of my best friends, Vernell, is getting married, and guess who the wedding planner is? [points to herself]. So I’m having to do photoshoots, I’m having to smile, I went to get her dress, I did a video, all of these things, which was really tough for me I have to tell you, because it’s a week after my ex’s wedding. I’m going through all of this, so I call my friend Monica and she comes to LA and she says, “Oh Tina, you gotta get out. Let’s go out and see some men!” I was like, “I don’t know where to find em!” So she gets on the phone and she calls up an old friend of ours.

Getting To Know An Old Friend Better–Richard Lawson:

I been knowing him for 33 years. His sister was one of my best friends and she died of breast cancer 20 years ago. Some of you might remember that I had this handsome guy who was on “Dynasty” at the time and he was an actor and he was on “All My Children” at the time. I brought him down and the women went crazy over him. He hosted my show. He’s an old friend, like family.

So Monica called him up and we went by his acting school and he took us out to eat afterwards and my friend says, “Okay Richard! Do you know any men?” And he’s like, “Well, what’s she looking for?” So I say, “You know, I want somebody with integrity, that believes in God, that likes to dance, likes to have fun and appreciates art.” And he’s like, “Oh! Well, what about me?” And we both say, “Hell no!” So he says, “Okay, well, I’ll see who I can think of.”

So the next night he took us out dancing and we just had a good time. He said “Well, can we get away from Monica?” cause Monica just takes over the conversation. So we went to lunch and he said, I want to support you during this time because Mathew — he’s friends with Mathew, too — he just got married yesterday. But look at the timing here. Before that time I was not ready. I did not have closure. But talk about God being right on time. We had this great lunch and he said, “I want to support you during this time. I’m going to come to Houston.” So he came to Houston, I went to LA afterwards, and it’s been now a year and five months.  I’m in a committed relationship with that handsome man! And I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time.

Love it! Tina is happier than she’s been in a long time, and she looks amazing too. Check out her speech below and get inspired.

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