Tina Knowles opened up during her keynote speech at the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation’s 8th annual Women & Money Leadership luncheon last week.
The usually private Tina gave testimony about her struggles growing up poor and her journey to become the powerful businesswoman we know today — a testimony that included her divorce from Mathew Knowles after 33-years of marriage and her new relationship with Richard Lawson.
She began with her childhood, sharing that she and her four other siblings attended Catholic school despite her parents being poor.
“I became a warrior at 5. I refused to let them take my spirit. I decided I would never let anyone decide who I was.”
Once she got older, Tina moved to Califorina and began work as a makeup artist and that’s when she met (and later married) Mathew. Shortly after, her parents fell ill and she put her dreams aside to take care of them. It was around that time she became pregnant with Beyoncé and she and Mathew began facing challenges in their marriage.
They managed to make it work for a long while, and as you know they divorced a few years ago. It was then Tina says she started battling with self-esteem issues.
“I was very sad. 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,’” she told the audience. “Well, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, what you’ve done, what you you have. You’re a person, you’re a human being. And when something strikes you like that, it takes breath out of you. And my fight came back. After a while, 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.’”
One day, she decided that she needed to take the time to work on herself…
“So I would tell my kids, ‘You know what, you can call me and I’ll be there if it’s something important, but otherwise, I’m taking care of Tina. This is my selfish moment,’” she said. “And before I knew it, I started liking me again! I started being important, not everybody else.”
…and that despite everything that happened between them, she still consideres Mathew her ‘family’.
“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,” she said.
And as far as her new romance with Richard Lawson is concerned, Tina says she’s happy.
“It’s been now a year and five months and I’m in a committed relationship with that handsome man. And I’m in my happiest I been in a long, long time,” Knowles gushed.
Watch Tina’s inspiring testimony below.