Beyoncé has opened up about the "pain and loss" of suffering miscarriages, saying they prompted her to "search for deeper meaning" from her life.

The singer and actress said that success "looks different to me now", and that she no longer focuses on topping the charts or winning awards.

In an interview with Elle magazine, she said: "I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn't know I needed. Success looks different to me now.

"I learned that all pain and loss is in fact a gift. Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else."

She added: "Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper. I died and was reborn in my relationship, and the quest for self became even stronger. It's difficult for me to go backwards.

"Being 'number one' was no longer my priority. My true win is creating art and a legacy that will live far beyond me. That's fulfilling."

The 38-year-old music icon, who shares daughter Blue Ivy, seven, and two-year-old twins Rumi and Sir with her husband, the rapper Jay-Z, said that having children and getting older has given her a different perspective on how she views herself.

Jay-Z, Beyoncé and their daughter Blue Ivy

"If someone told me 15 years ago that my body would go through so many changes and fluctuations, and that I would feel more womanly and secure with my curves, I would not have believed them," she said.

"But children and maturity have taught me to value myself beyond my physical appearance and really understand that I am more than enough no matter what stage I'm at in life.

"Giving zero f**** is the most liberating place to be. Also knowing true beauty is something you cannot see. I wish more people focused on discovering the beauty within themselves rather than critiquing other folks' grills."

The singer also revealed what stresses her out in life, saying: "I think the most stressful thing for me is balancing work and life.

"Making sure I am present for my kids - dropping Blue off at school, taking Rumi and Sir to their activities, making time for date nights with my husband and being home in time to have dinner with my family - all while running a company can be challenging.

"Juggling all of those roles can be stressful, but I think that's life for any working mom."

Beyoncé's full interview can be read in the January issue of Elle UK.