Colombian singer Shakira and Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué announced on Saturday that they are separating after nearly 12 years together. The couple, who have two children, made the announcement in a joint statement published by the news agency EFE.
“We regret to confirm that we are separating. For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we request respect for our privacy. Thank you for your understanding,” the statement reads. Just 26 words to say goodbye to more than a decade of love.
Shakira, 45, and Gerard Piqué, 35, met in the summer of 2010 before the soccer World Cup in South Africa. She was performing at the event, while Piqué was one of the stars that led Spain to win the coveted title and become world champion. Shortly before traveling to South Africa, Piqué met Shakira in Madrid. “I told her that we would meet in the final. She was going to sing the anthem at the closing ceremony and I assumed that we would play that game. We lost the first game [against Switzerland in the first round], but we won the final,” he explained in a 2020 interview with Catalan newspaper L’Esportiu.
The couple took a few months to make their relationship official. Shakira announced the news on Twitter in March 2011, posting: “Let me introduce you to you my sun” with a photo of the two together. Piqué said that certain details such as the fact that their birthdays are exactly a decade apart (Shakira was born on February 2, 1977; Piqué, on February 2, 1987) made them feel that they were “destined to meet.” Shakira soon moved to Barcelona with the soccer player, and two years after they started dating, in September 2012, they announced they were expecting a child. Their first child, a boy named Milan, was born in January 2013.
Shakira confirmed she was pregnant again in August 2014, and on January 29, 2015, Sasha, her second child, was born in Barcelona. In an interview with EL PAÍS, shortly before the birth, she explained how much she enjoyed the experience of being pregnant. “I enjoy it naturally, although I also experience the same anxiety as any mother, but I am very happy to expand the family and I am very curious to see how Milan will interact with his brother,” she said in early 2015.
Years later, in 2017, the Colombian singer said she considered giving up performing after becoming a mother, but Piqué convinced her not to. “I decided that once Sasha was a little more independent, I would go back to the studio. I didn’t take into account the conflict between my two hearts [music and family] and the fears that come with all of that. I got stage fright. I was confused, I was tempted to retire and drop everything,” she told the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. “Gerard helped me move forward. He told me loud and clear that he would never allow me to retire from music. ‘You will retire when you have nothing left to say. And now go out there and do what you know how to do.’ He was right, I was just scared, terrified.”
Over the years, there have been many rumors about a possible wedding, but Shakira and Piqué have not tied the knot, arguing they do not need to get married. In 2019, the Colombian singer explained that they have an unconventional relationship.
The last image of the couple together dates from October 2021, more than eight months ago. Although last February 14, Shakira shared an image of the two on her Instagram account for Valentine’s Day.
Over the years, their fortunes have multiplied thanks to their business ventures. For example, in January 2021, the Barranquilla singer sold the rights to her 145 songs in an operation described by the industry as worth millions, while the soccer player has diversified his investments through his company, Kosmos Global Holding, and has become the main promoter of the Davis Cup tennis tournament, in addition to owning 90% of the Andorra Football Club.
Their careers have not been without controversy. At the end of May, the Barcelona High Court rejected the appeal filed by the singer and confirmed the court inquiry that had concluded that there were indications that she had defrauded the tax authorities of €14.5 million. There may still be a deal with the Prosecutor’s Office, but for the moment Shakira has not managed to get the case shelved and may have to go to trial. She faces six counts of tax crimes that could lead to a prison sentence.