Known for keeping her personal life private, Beyoncé opened up to ESSENCE readers in the July 2011 cover story about her nine-month break from performing.
"I had talked about taking a vacation before, but always ended up in the studio after two weeks, so no one believed me. This time, though, I was serious. I was going to give myself a year to do the things I never get to do. Simple things like play with my nephew, pick him up from school, visit museums, go to concerts, see some Broadway shows, learn to cook a meal and spend time with my husband," Beyoncé wrote.
The 16-time Grammy winner closes her story by describing how inspired and rejuvenated she felt during her time off. "I was grateful for the time I gave myself to breathe," she writes. "My personal retreat gave me strength and a creative reawakening. I returned refreshed, renewed and empowered to reevaluate my life and do things that will make a difference."
Although Beyoncé seemed most excited to begin recording her latest album, 4, she kept one small detail to herself — her plans for a family. Just seven months after the release of the July issue, Beyoncé's first child Blue Ivy was born.
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