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On Her 40th Birthday, Looking Back At How Beyoncé Became Beyoncé

Happy birthday, Beyoncé, to all who celebrate.

Posted on September 4, 2021, at 8:31 a.m. ET

The pop singer, actor, and — who are we kidding, she needs no introduction — megastar Beyoncé Knowles turns 40 today, Sept. 4. While she and her family have largely retreated from the spotlight in the last decade, that has only made us love her more. We don't want to say too much about the photos below, suffice it to say that the outfits made us emotional. Long live Beyoncé, and happy birthday!

Fred Duval / FilmMagic

Beyoncé performing with Destiny's Child in 1998

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Destiny's Child arriving at London's Royal Albert Hall, for the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards in 1999

Kirby Lee / WireImage

Destiny's Child at the 42nd Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Feb. 23, 2000, in Los Angeles. From left: Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, Beyoncé, and Michelle Williams.

Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Michelle Williams, Farrah Franklin, Kelly Rowland, and Beyoncé Knowles at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 2000

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Destiny's Child before their concert at Summer Jam 2000

James Devaney / WireImage

Destiny's Child at Disney World in December 2000

Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Beyoncé in October 2000

Kmazur / WireImage

Destiny's Child at the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards in 2000

Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Jay-Z and Destiny's Child in October 2000

David Surowiecki / Getty Images

Beyoncé, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland (far right) wait backstage before closing out the show for the Second Annual "What's Next?" Teen People Online Webcast in 2000.

Kurt Krieger - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

Beyoncé Knowles in an undated photo

Ebet Roberts / Redferns

Destiny's Child performing at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania on July 24, 2001

Dave Hogan / Getty Images

Beyoncé performs at the launch party for the new Destiny's Child album Survivor on March 11, 2001, in London.

Jeffrey Mayer / WireImage

Beyoncé on Jan. 4, 2002

Kmazur / WireImage

Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles during "Spankin' New Music Week" on MTV's TRL on Nov. 21, 2002

Christina Radish / Redferns

Beyoncé and her father in July 2002

Kmazur / WireImage

Beyoncé sings the National Anthem to kick off Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Beyoncé arrives on horseback to perform for her hometown crowd at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, on March 18, 2004, in Texas.

Brian Zak / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Beyoncé arriving at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the New York Public Library in 2004

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Destiny's Child performs at the 2005 NBA All-Star Game at the Pepsi Center on Feb. 20, 2005, in Denver.

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Beyoncé and her sister, Solange Knowles, pose in February 2005.

Michael Caulfield Archive / WireImage for PMK/HBH

Beyoncé performs at Camp Pendleton in San Diego in 2005.

Jason Merritt / FilmMagic

Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé, and Michelle Williams get a star on the Walk of Fame as Destiny's Child in March 2006.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Beyoncé performs on Sept. 21, 2006, in London.

Gie Knaeps / Getty Images

Beyoncé performing in Belgium in May 2007

Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Beyoncé, Daniel Julez Smith Jr., and Jay-Z attend the 52nd Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Jan. 31, 2010, in Los Angeles.

Afp / AFP via Getty Images

Beyoncé performs the National Anthem to conclude the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21, 2013.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Beyoncé at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Larry Busacca / WireImage

Beyoncé performs at the Barclays Center on Dec. 19, 2013, in New York.

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Beyonce at the 56th Grammy Awards on Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for DirecTV

Beyoncé on Feb. 1, 2014, in New York

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Beyoncé and daughter Blue Ivy Carter onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 24, 2014.

Andrew H. Walker

Beyoncé attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Met Gala on May 4, 2015, in New York.

Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images

Beyoncé arrives for the Met Gala on May 2, 2016.

Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Carter at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 28, 2016

Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images

Beyoncé performs while she is pregnant with twins during the 59th Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, 2017.

Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

Beyoncé poses with her Grammy trophies on Feb. 12, 2017.

(c)kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Roc Nation

Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend a Roc Nation brunch on Jan. 25, 2020.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion during the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.