Keys appears on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, where she discusses her breakdown as a result of always saying "yes" and working nonstop to her subsequent breakthrough that led to her latest album As I Am. "This CD was so severely personal, it changed my voice," she says. "There's so much more that I needed to say...I'm at the point now like, F--- it. Who gives a s---? I don't really care what you think about me...I'm not gonna sacrifice my spirit for nobody.''
Keys opens the 2008 Grammy Awards singing along with Frank Sinatra, who is shown on a screen above the stage, on his 1955 hit "Learnin' the Blues." Before the night is over, Keys wins two Grammys for Best Female R&B performance and Best R&B song for her hit, "No One," which she later performs with John Mayer.
The film adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees opens in third place, earning $11.1 million. Costarring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson, the film centers on three sisters, a young girl, and her caretaker that band together in 1964 South Carolina. "She's a passionate, emotional person, but she's definitely been hurt and it's a hard time," Keys says of her character, Boatwright sister June.
Keys makes headlines when hip hop producer Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean – while in the process of divorcing his wife Mashonda – reveals that he and Keys are an item. "What we have is so precious," he tells New York's Daily News. In July, the couple attends a preview event of Whitney Houston's comeback album – where Houston sings "Million Dollar Bill," a song the duo produced together.
After collaborating with Jay-Z on the New York City anthem "Empire State of Mind," Keys releases her latest album, The Element of Freedom, which tops the R&B albums chart. "The sound of it is very different," she tells MTV. "It almost feels like you're flying."
In a Grecian-inspired Vera Wang dress, an expectant Keys exchanges vows with Swizz Beatz in front of family and friends on the Mediterranean Sea. "Everything was just wow. It was a blessing," Beatz tells Access Hollywood of their nuptials. "It was positive energy, and we're still in those moments."
The newlyweds welcome their first child, son Egypt Daoud Dean. "Alicia is definitely one of those great parents-to-be," Swizz Beatz – who has three children from a previous relationship – told PEOPLE in May. "She's super ready. Super glowing. Super happy."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Valerie Macon/Getty; Twentieth Century FOX; Liquid Entertainment; amazon.com; Stephanie Pistel; Johns PkI/Splash News Online