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Tina Knowles opened up about how she grappled with self-esteem for years until she began putting herself first!

One would never know it to look at her daughters Beyoncé or Solange, two incredibly confident women, but Tina wasn’t always as self-assured as she appears to be. During her speech at the Women & Money Leadership Luncheon in Houston last week, she shared that a big motivation for her to begin her own business came from the fact that she recognized very early on in her marriage that she needed to build something for herself.

Soon after she and now-ex-husband Mathew Knowles tied the knot, she stopped working to take care of her ailing parents. Her dad suffered a heart attack the day before her wedding, and days later her mother was also in intensive care. Mathew stepped up and let her know that he could financially hold things down while she took care of her folks. “I treasure [that] to this day because within six months my mom had passed away,” she admitted. “Then I was pregnant!”

Things didn’t stay good in her marriage for long after that. Understanding the gravity of her situation, Tina realized then that she would need something to fall back in case things fell apart. “For four years I didn’t work, I just kept my daughter,” she recalled. “Then things just got really rocky and my marriage got very tumultuous, and I was having all these problems. I was like, ‘What have I done?'”

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Even with another baby on the way, Tina wasted no time executing her business plan. “After I got pregnant [with Solange], my marriage just got really bad and I knew I had to do something,” she said. “So I got very focused on going to school. And by the time I had the baby, I already had a clientele. I built a salon at my house and I’d do hair there.”

Tina stayed in the marriage for decades after this point, helping Mathew build up Beyoncé’s career. When their marriage finally ended after 33 years, Tina felt a little lost and that made her feel bad about herself. “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 over again, and the other part is that I just lost myself,” she shared. “I was so busy working and going and taking care of everybody else that I just forgot about Tina.”

At 58 years old, Tina felt that her daughters were more than capable of looking after themselves. This meant that she could finally begin focusing on herself! “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,’” Tina told the audience. “And before I knew it, I started liking me again! I started being important, not everybody else.”

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Although Tina was a little hurt when Mathew got remarried, she said she’d never want to get back with him. Given his recent run of paternity drama, we don’t blame her! Besides over the moon about her new man, actor Richard Lawson, who she’s known almost as long as she’d been married.

Richard was friends with both Mathew and Tina back in the day. When he found out that she was ready for love again, he put his name in the running right around the time Mathew got hitched. Tina didn’t take Richard seriously at first, but a few outings changed her mind.

“We went to lunch and he said, ‘I want to support you during this time,’ because Mathew — he’s friends with Mathew, too—just got married yesterday. So he came to Houston, I went to LA afterwards,” Tina explained. “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.”

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