Shakira has counted on music to get her through the “most difficult” time of her life: her separation from her partner of 11 years, Gerard Piqué. Appearing on the cover of Elle Magazine, Shakira opened up about her split — following “a total circus” of tabloid gossip — from Barcelona F.C. player Piqué, and the legal troubles she underwent surrounding alleged tax fraud in Spain.
The singer discussed going through the separation publicly and the toll it has taken on her and her children with Piqué, Milan and Sasha.
“I’ve remained quiet and just tried to process it all. It’s hard to talk about it, especially because I’m still going through it, and because I’m in the public eye and because our separation is not like a regular separation,” she said. “And so it’s been tough not only for me, but also for my kids. Incredibly difficult. I have paparazzi camping outside, in front of my house, 24/7. And there’s not a place where I can hide from them with my kids, except for my own house.”
She added, “I’ve tried to conceal the situation in front of my kids. I try to do it and to protect them, because that’s my number one mission in life. But then they hear things in school from their friends or they come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online, and it just affects them, you know?”
Shakira said making music has been her saving grace throughout the public separation.
“I feel like in this moment of my life, which is probably one of the most difficult, darkest hours of my life, music has brought light,” Shakira told the outlet. (About the lyrics for her song “Te Felicito” with Rauw Alejandro, Shakira said, “Everything I go through is reflected in the lyrics I write… when the glove fits, it fits.”)
Shakira said she sometimes tries to imagine that this moment is just a “bad dream” but that she realizes how real it is when she sees how the tabloid headlines have “vulgarized” their separation.
“This is probably the darkest hour of my life. But then I think about all those women around the world who are going through hardship, who are going through a situation as bad as mine or as difficult as mine or worse,” she said. “For those women like me who believe in values like family who had the dream, the big dream of having a family forever, to see that dream broken or shredded into pieces is probably one of the most painful things that you can ever go through.”
“But I think that women, we are resilient. You know, we have this resiliency that is just innate in all of us. And we are meant to nurture and to take care of those who depend on us. So you ask me how I manage this. And I just manage, I guess, reminding myself that I need to become an example for my kids, that I need to be what they want, what I want them to become,” she added.
She explained that she “had to settle down” her career when she had kids to to allow their children to have a somewhat stable life. “One of the two of us had to make a sacrifice, right?” she said.
“I put my career in second gear and I came to Spain, to support him so he could play football and win titles. And it was a sacrifice of love,” she said. “Thanks to that, my kids were able to have a present mom, and I have this amazing bond with them that is unbreakable and that sustains us. You know, that is it. That’s all I can say.”
She also spoke about the tax fraud accusations made by the Spanish government. Instead of settling, Shakira fought the accusations and in the interview with Elle, called them false, saying she’s “paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit.” She said she’s fighting back on “a matter of principle.”
As for music, Shakira shared that she has a “full album’s worth of music” in English and Spanish, which features different sounds and genres. (She called making music “like going to the shrink, but cheaper.”)
“I’m really, really thrilled about not only the body of work that I have right now to share with the people who are waiting for it, but also how gratifying the whole process has been for me. How therapeutic as well. I thought I was done with my album,” she said. “But every time I get in the studio to do, like, one line or something, or to mix a song that’s almost ready to come out, then I end up with new music because I feel creative right now, and I feel that is an incredible outlet for me to make sense of things.”
Shakira is also surrounding herself with good friends. “Chris Martin is always checking in and telling me that he’s there for me, anything I need,” she said. She also named friends like Juan Luis Guerra and Alejandro Sanz.
“I am not lonely. Sometimes a woman can be enough. I can be enough at this point for myself and for my family, for my kids,” she says. “My whole life I’ve been in relationships and I thought that that was the ideal state for a person. To be a part of a couple. Right now, it’s just me and the kids and my family and those friends who check in on me periodically.”
She added, “I feel like it’s plenty. For now. Let’s wait for that hole in my chest to close and then see what happens.”