Shakira has opened up about split from Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué for the first time.
The Colombian popstar and Spanish soccer player, who share two sons, announced in June that they had parted ways after 12 years together.
Addressing the separation for the first time in a cover interview with ELLE magazine, Shakira described 2022 as "one of the most difficult, darkest hours of my life" due to the split, her tax fraud case in Spain, and her father's health problems.
"It's been tough, not only for me, but also for my kids. Incredibly difficult," she shared. "I try to conceal the situation from them as much as I can. It's really upsetting for two kids who are trying to process their parents' separation. And sometimes, I just feel like this is all a bad dream and that I'm going to wake up at some point. But no, it's real. And what's also real is the disappointment to see something as sacred and as special as I thought was the relationship I had with my kids' father and see that turned into something vulgarised and cheapened by the media."
The 45-year-old went on to admit that breaking up a family unit is "probably one of the most painful things that you can ever go through" and insisted a lot of the speculation surrounding their split isn't true.
When asked about rumours of a custody battle, she replied, "Regardless of how things ended or how Gerard and I feel about each other as ex-partners, he is the father of my children. We have a job to do for these two incredible boys, and I have faith that we will figure out what is best for their future, their own dreams in life, and what is a fair solution for everyone involved."
The Hips Don't Lie star was also asked if the end of her relationship came as a surprise, and she stated that those details were "too private to share" while "everything is so raw and new". However, she went on to insist that she "put everything I had into this relationship and my family" and sacrificed her career and nomadic lifestyle to raise a family with the sports star in Spain.
"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. 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 said.
Shakira is also gearing up to go on trial on allegations of tax fraud, which she denies. During this difficult time, her father, who came to Barcelona to support her during the separation, suffered a bad fall and needed brain surgery. A week later, he fell again and "broke many bones in his face".