They plan to start a family, but does Jay-Z already have a son?

Beyoncé’s star is shining brightly right now and she attributes much of her showbiz success to her long-term partner and husband, rap star Jay-Z, 39.

Such is their deep love for each other that Beyoncé, 27, recently revealed that they plan to start a family before she turns 30. But behind the apparent happiness lies a secret that Beyoncé carries with her: the claim that Jay-Z has already experienced fatherhood without her.

Now can reveal that the fiercely private rapper – who’s worth an estimated $400 million – reportedly has a secret 7-year-old son who he’s amazingly managed to hide from the limelight all this time. The boy apparently bears a striking resemblance to his father and is the result of Jay-Z’s romance with Trinidadian model Shenelle Scott which ended in 2001, before he met Beyoncé.

Jay-Z has gone to great lengths to distance himself from the claims, despite reports that he’s privately admitted paternity. Beyoncé, whom he married in April 2008, is now apparently accepting of the boy and is even said to have gone on holiday with her stepson in the South of France.

Although Jay-Z’s spokesman denied that there was any truth in ‘these ridiculous rumours’, the rebuttal falls short of a denial that the rap star is the boy’s father. Despite approaching Jay-Z’s representatives repeatedly last week, they refused to comment.

Sources say that Shenelle and her son live a quiet life in Trinidad at a $2.5 million home that Jay-Z bought for them after paternity tests revealed a positive match. It’s also thought that Shenelle, 28, brings her son to see Jay-Z in New York, where he’s based, whenever she flies there for modelling assignments.

This isn’t the first time Jay-Z has tried to keep his personal life out of the public eye. Even though he and Beyoncé have been together since September 2002, they kept the relationship under wraps for many months – and it wasn’t until six months after they married last year that they officially confirmed they were man and wife.

See the full story about Beyoncé in new look Now magazine dated 22 June 2009 – out now!