'They Were My Balm': Tina Knowles Says Beyoncé and Solange Got Her Through the Difficulty of Divorce

Tina Knowles with daughters Solange and Beyoncé at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tina Knowles with daughters Solange and Beyoncé at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage (Getty Images)

When Mathew and Tina Knowles divorced in 2011, it was more than just a high-profile breakup. It was the dissolution of a family dynasty; one which birthed not only two beautiful and talented daughters but one of the most successful girl groups of all time, Destiny’s Child (which released their last album in 2006), of which Mathew was the group’s manager (and later, Beyoncé’s) and “Ms. Tina” the stylist and costume designer. Their separation and eventual divorce would coincide with Beyoncé taking control of her own career in the formation of Parkwood Entertainment in 2010.


It would prove a game-changing power career move for Beyoncé. But in a recent episode of OWN’s virtual Girlfriends Check In series, her mother revealed that Bey and superstar sister Solange had strength to spare as they became their mother’s support system through the end of her decades-long marriage.

“When I went through my divorce, I was devastated after 33 years of marriage—not because I wanted to stay in a marriage, but just because I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I failed at this.’ They were my balm,” she told famous friends and fellow mothers of daughters Lynn Whitfield, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Beverly Johnson (h/t Harper’s Bazaar). “They let me feel sorry for myself for a short period of time, and then they were like, ‘Mama, you’re a bad girl.’ I won’t use the word that they gave me but … they were like, ‘You’ve got so much going, you shouldn’t be feeling like life is over for you,’ that ‘God has something for you.’”

Ms. Tina might not say it, but we will: She’s a bad bitch (just like her daughters, one of whom recently rhymed that she “got this from Tina”). And yes, there was more in store; she’s now Tina Knowles-Lawson since remarrying actor Richard Lawson in 2013, becoming stepmother to Queen Sugar actress Bianca Lawson.

“Aren’t we all so blessed to have our daughters?” she asked, as the other women enthusiastically agreed. “Having girls—having my three girls—has been the biggest blessing in my whole entire life. They are always there for me and the roles—isn’t it interesting how the roles change? I’ve been the mama, but now sometimes they’re my mom,” said Knowles-Lawson. “It’s just funny how the roles change, and they became my mom and I became the child. That’s the great thing about having women. I’m still their mother, and I still want to be able to check them when I need to, but they check me too. So it’s a good thing.”

Nevertheless, Knowles-Lawson is still a quintessential mama, and she also wants to make sure we all vote. Following an open letter she helped pen in June (also signed by Beyonce and Solange) Knowles-Lawson updated her friends on a recent call with Senator Chuck Schumer to discuss the passage of the HEROES Act and protect the Black and Brown vote this election cycle. “I’m optimistic,” she said, pointing out the significant obstacle posed to absentee voting by the threat of not only COVID-19 but our current administration. “Voting is how we change things, so I’m just praying that this bill will be passed.”

Join the discussion! The Root is hosting its first-ever, virtual Root Institute, presented by Target, featuring several of the leading minds in our community talking about politics, culture, health, community building and social impact. Subscribe for updates today!

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Going through a divorce at any age is a difficult thing. After 33 years it would be devastating, require soul searching, and it would be hard for any woman.  Doing all of that in the public eye must have been a miserable experience.  Good for Miss Tina for moving on and finding love again.