"The first call was to my family," explained Mathew Knowles on ABC's Good Morning America this morning. The record executive, producer and businessman was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. But instead of worrying about his own symptoms, he wanted to take care first of the people the closest to him.
The father-of-four received surgery in the last week of July, spending a few weeks in aftercare. Mathew's wife, Gena Avery was there for him throughout, offering her enduring support.
As they say, there is a strong woman behind every successful man. In the Knowles family, this is Gena. The former fashion model met Mathew in the early 2010s, soon after he got divorced from his wife of 30 years, Tina Knowles.
Gena and Mathew met after his cheating scandal with ex-wife Tina Knowles.
The Knowles' struggled quite a lot during the noughts. In 2008, Mathew began to pursue an affair with Alexsandra Wright, who gave birth to his son, Nixon, in 2009. This led Tina to file for divorce.
Gena was the one to pick up the pieces.
According to some rumors, Nixon never met Beyoncé.
The 9-year old was raised by Alexsandra, whose short-lived relationship with Mathew didn't exactly end on the best terms. As the Daily Mirror reported in 2014, the former Scrubs actress was forced to raise Nixon in a trailer park because Mathew failed to pay child support payments on time.
So, who is Gena Charmaine Avery?
Born on January 1, 1964, Gena entered the Knowles family at the very best time.
She supported Mathew during his fallout with his own daughter, Beyoncé. The 30-year-old wanted to launch her own production company, Parkwood Entertainment – without her dad.
Although Mathew was the one to kickstart her career, Bey eventually fired her dad. Mathew wasted no time to sulk, concentrating his efforts on managing the career of former Destiny's Child members instead.
Under Gena's guidance, Mathew's business endeavors slowly began to blossom again. His first-ever book titled The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals got published in 2015. His second title, Racism: From the Eyes of a Child came out in 2017, shortly followed by The Emancipation of the Slaves Through Music in 2018.
He also joined the advisory board of Tunedly, an online recording studio in the same year as well as made efforts to rebuild his relationship with Beyoncé.
Who noticed the first signs of Mathew's breast cancer?
Gena, of course. According to Mathew's retelling of the event, it was his wife who first warned him about an alarming blood spot that kept on reappearing on his shirts and sheets.
As a former diagnostic imaging seller, Mathew had an acute idea of what could be behind the suspicious spots. He booked a doctor's appointment immediately.
The surgery was successful, and after a few weeks spent in aftercare, he is now back in good shape.