Shakira set for Miami move as singer leaves Barcelona with two sons

After living in Spain for over a decade, the Colombian pop star is to set up home in the United States with Milan, 10, and Sasha, eight. The move comes as part of her custody agreement with former partner Gerard Piqué

Shakira with her children at JFK Airport, in New York City
Shakira, with her two children, Sasha and Milan, at JFK airport in New York on March 9, 2023.MEGa (GC Images / getty)

Ten months and more than one global hit after separating from retired FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, Shakira is leaving Spain. In a social-media post on Sunday, the Colombian singer confirmed that she and the former couple’s two children are leaving Barcelona to set up home in a new destination overseas – a move she had previously revealed was in her plans. Although the singer is yet to announce where her new base will be, EL PAÍS has confirmed that she is headed for Miami, Florida. After initially leaving Spanish soil for an Easter vacation, Shakira will then fly to the United States to begin a new life with sons Milan, 10, and Sasha, eight.

In a message to her more than 85 million followers on Instagram, Shakira said farewell to Spain, which became her home early in her more than decade-long relationship with Piqué. She established the country as her official place of residence in 2015. “I moved to Barcelona to give my kids stability,” she wrote. “That same stability is what we’re now looking for on the other side of the world alongside family, friends and the sea. Today, we’re beginning a new chapter in search of happiness.” In a clear jibe at Piqué, Shakira added: “Thank you to everyone who surfed so many waves alongside me in Barcelona, a city where I learned that friendship definitely lasts longer than love.”

Within less than 12 hours of being published, Shakira’s post had amassed almost three million likes and around 60,000 replies. Many of the comments came from Spanish followers saying goodbye to the artist, while many others were welcome messages posted by Florida-based personalities, including actors, presenters and athletes.

While it was already known that Shakira was to leave Spain, it had not been clear when she would depart. Indeed, the indications had been that the three-time Grammy Award winner would remain in the country until after Easter. Her plans chiefly depended on her children, who will have to change schools. In November, lawyers for Shakira and Piqué confirmed that the singer was to be given custody of Milan and Sasha, adding that their parents’ “only objective is to provide [their children] with as much security and protection as possible.” Piqué agreed to Shakira’s request to shield their sons from the media glare by removing them from Spain. As lawyers on both sides told EL PAÍS, Shakira and Piqué were focused on what was in their children’s best interests, and were at pains to avoid a high-profile custody battle.

This newspaper has confirmed that Shakira has informed Piqué of her departure from Spain. On Thursday, doctors at the Teknon Medical Center in Barcelona, where Shakira’s father, William Mebarak, is awaiting an operation, told her that his surgery cannot go ahead just yet. This persuaded Shakira to make the move from Spain now; given her concerns over her father’s health, she didn’t want to leave if it wasn’t a good time for him. She then wrote to the heads of her children’s schools in Barcelona and Miami, to ask whether it was a good idea to transfer them with just three months to go in the academic year. Both replied that this wouldn’t be a problem, adding that the Easter break was likely to make their adaptation smoother. Having been given the green light by her son’s schools, and received confirmation that her father’s operation will have to wait, she made the decision to depart Spain.

Shakira, 46, and Piqué, 36, were together for over 12 years. The pair first met shortly before the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, before their paths crossed again at the global soccer tournament. In March 2011, they confirmed their relationship when Shakira tweeted a photo of herself alongside Piqué, with the message: “Let me introduce you to my sweetheart.” It wasn’t long before the Colombian joined Piqué in Barcelona, where she gave birth to Milan in January 2013. Sasha was then born in January 2015.

On 4 June 2022, in a short statement, Shakira and Piqué announced the end of their relationship. “We regret to confirm that we are separating,” the communiqué read. “For the well-being of our children, who are our chief priority, we ask that our privacy be respected. Thank you for your understanding.” Despite the neatness of that announcement, things began to get messier as further details emerged. Piqué was now with a 23-year-old woman, Clara Chía, who worked for his production company, Kosmos. He was soon seen with her in public in Barcelona. In an interview with the magazine Elle, Shakira then spoke of being in “one of the toughest and darkest periods” of her life, and declared that her career had suffered because of her relationship with Piqué. In October, she released the song Monotonía (Monotony) with the Puerto Rican singer Ozuna — a track that included jabs at Piqué, such as “you forgot what we once were” and “you left me out of narcissism.” In the song’s official video, Shakira appears with a hole in her chest and her heart in her hands.

However, it was in January, when she recorded her Music Sessions #53 track with Argentinian artist Bizarrap, that Shakira really took aim at Piqué. With lyrics that featured a host of attacks on the Spaniard and his new girlfriend – for example, she sang: “I was out of your league, that’s why you’re with a woman just like you” — the song didn’t even need a title to become a huge success. Now, having exchanged recriminations and made deals with Piqué, Shakira has moved on to the next phase of her post-break-up life: putting land — and sea — between her and her former partner.

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