Inside Shakira's Fierce New Chapter After Her Breakup With Gerard Piqué

Shakira wore her heart on the outside as she processed her split from Gerard Piqué and bounced back on top, weighed down by nothing except armfuls of awards.

By Natalie Finn Feb 02, 2024 12:00 PMTags
Watch: Shakira Brings Her Sons as Her Dates to Premios Juventud

There's conscious uncoupling. And then there's what Shakira and Gerard Piqué did.

"You left me the in-laws as my neighbors / Media outlets at my door and in debt," she sang in the unassumingly titled "BZRP Music Session #53," her smash-hit, Latin Grammy-winning collab with Argentine DJ Bizarrap that dropped in January 2023. "You thought you hurt me, but you made me stronger / Women don't cry anymore, they cash in."

And one more (translated-from Spanish-to-English) salvo for the road: "I wish you good luck with my supposed replacement / I don't even know what happened to you/ You are so strange that I can't even distinguish you / I'm worth two of 22 / You traded a Ferrari for a Twingo / You traded a Rolex for a Casio."

(To which Casio replied that the brand was a very durable choice for all your timekeeping and calculator needs, thank you very much.)

But her fans sensed a shot had been fired—seemingly at Piqué and his girlfriend Clara Chia Marti, whom he promptly went Instagram-official with two weeks after the song came out. 

And Shakira, who's enjoyed a platinum-selling career belting out rollicking songs about love, lust and heartbreak, didn't quibble with that assumption.

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"I've had a very rough year after my separation, and writing this song has been so important to me," the Colombian artist, who turns 47 on Feb. 2, said on The Tonight Show last March. "It's been a healthy way to channel my emotions."

So there you go: She may not have been directly calling Marti a Twingo (which, BTW, is a little hatchback made by Renault), but she was definitely feeling some kind of way when she penned those lyrics.

And, really, the barbed breakup track was months in the making, Shakira and Piqué having confirmed in June 2022 that their 11-year relationship had come to an end. She has since moved to Miami with their sons Milan, 11, and Sasha, 9, after years of living primarily in Spain while Piqué, now retired, was a star center-back for FC Barcelona.

Xavi Torrent/Getty Images

Shakira explained in an April 2 Instagram post that she relocated to be near her family and thanked the people of Barcelona for being so welcoming while she was there. She also pointedly noted that the friendships she'd formed in the capital city had ultimately lasted longer than the love.

"Thank you to everyone who cheered me up, dried my tears, inspired me and made me grow," she wrote, translated from the original Spanish.

Meanwhile, despite her repeated denials of wrongdoing Shakira cut a deal with the Spanish government in her tax fraud case in December, agreeing to pay a roughly $7.6 million fine. She also received a three-year suspended jail sentence.

"While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor," she said in a statement, "I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight." (Regarding a separate investigation into alleged tax evasion that was opened in September, a source with knowledge of the situation told E! News that Shakira "defends having always acted in accordance with the law and under the advice of the best tax experts" and expected a favorable resolution.)

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Shakira & Gerard Piqué's Family Album

Talking to Elle in her first interview addressing her breakup in 2022, Shakira explained why her situation was particularly complicated.

"It's hard to talk about it, especially because I'm still going through it," she said, "and because I'm in the public eye and because our separation is not like a regular separation. And so it's been tough not only for me, but also for my kids. Incredibly difficult."

Paparazzi wouldn't leave them alone, she continued, and she tried to shield Milan and Sasha as much as she could. 

"But then," she added, "they hear things in school from their friends or they come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online, and it just affects them, you know?...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."

Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images

Throughout, at least she had her music, Shakira comparing songwriting to "going to the shrink, only cheaper."

"I think it's the best medicine," she explained, "and along with the love of my family and my kids that sustains me, music and writing music is definitely one of those tools—one of the few tools I have for survival in extreme conditions."

And once those feelings were out there...boy, were they out there.

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"I feel like a cat with more than nine lives," Shakira told Billboard in September 2023. "Whenever I think I can't get any better, I suddenly get a second wind. I've gone through several stages: denial, anger, pain, frustration, anger again, pain again. Now I'm in a survival stage. Like, just get your head above water. And it's a reflection stage. And a stage of working very hard and when I have time with my children, really spend it with them."

After a wildly productive period in which she heard her name called eight times at Univision's Premios Juventud awards (a perfect nine was impossible because she was nominated twice in one category), she was honored at the Billboard's Latin Women in Music gala, and set 14 Guinness World Records on the strength of "BZRP Music Session #53," Shakira became the first-ever South American recipient of the Video Vanguard Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in September.

And now there's a 21-foot-tall bronze statue of Shakira mid-dance in perpetuity along the waterfront of her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. The plaque below the artwork by Yino Márquez reads: "A heart that composes, hips that don't lie, an unmatched talent, a voice that moves the masses and bare feet that march for the good of children and humanity."

The honor came 22 years after she burst onto the English-language scene with 2001's Laundry Service, featuring her infectious ode to making it work no matter what, "Whenever, Wherever."

Which still sounds good—and very romantic—in theory.

But in practice, Shakira and Piqué's partnership—she told 60 Minutes in 2020 that marriage "scares the s--t" out of her and she preferred the title of girlfriend or lover to wife—turned untenable at some point. And at least as far as the little bit that she's hinted at is concerned, Piqué is the one whose behavior got him red-carded.

Aldara Zarraoa/Getty Images

"Everything happened at once," she told People en Español in June. "My home was falling apart. I was finding out through the press that I had been betrayed while my dad was in the ICU."  

Her father and "best friend," William Mebarak Chadid, she explained, had come to visit her while she was "consumed with sadness" over the breakup and he was injured in a fall. Happily, the 92-year-old, who also beat COVID and dealt with various other health issues, recovered.

"My dad is the biggest example of resilience, and my mother has been by his side day and night," Shakira said. "They have both been a reflection of that dream that didn't come true for me. But I hope they are role models for my kids of love, of patience in relationships, of absolute devotion and zest for life."

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Pierre Suu/Getty Images

Her zest was deservedly on display this past summer, shooting a video for her track "Copa Vacía" with Manuel Turizo, making the scene at Paris Fashion Week, sitting courtside at the NBA Finals and then stepping out for dinner with Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler.

In November, with Milan and Sasha cheering from the audience, Shakira's career Latin Grammy haul reached 14 as she won Song of the Year and Best Pop Song for "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53" and Best Urban Fusion/Performance for "TQG" with Karol G—who wrote the track in the wake of the implosion of her relationship with rapper Anuel AA. Getting a read on Shakira's state of mind from her end-of-love song "Monotonía," the reggaeton star reached out about a possible duet.

"Listening to that story and where she was at, the song 'TQG' made a lot of sense," Karol G told Rolling Stone. "I sent it to her and she loved it." Short for "Te Quedó Grande," the title basically translates to "I'm too good for you."

Niccolo Guasti/Getty Images

Shakira has said that she used to buy into the old trope that a woman wasn't complete without a man in her life.

"I also had that dream to have a family where the kids had their mom and dad under the same roof," she told Mexico's Canal Estrellas last February. "Not all of those dreams come true, but life has a way of compensating you in one way or another."

Accepting her Latin Woman of the Year honor in May, Shakira touched on her own "year of seismic change." 

Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty Images

She explained, "I've realized we women are stronger than we think, braver than we believed, more independent than we were taught to be."

"Because," Shakira added, "what woman hasn't at some time in her life forgotten herself because she's seeking the attention and love of someone else? It happened to me, more than once."

Ultimately, she said, "There comes a time in the life of every woman where she no longer depends on someone else to love and accept herself just as she is. A time when the search for someone else is replaced by the search for oneself. A time when the desire to be perfect is replaced by the desire to be authentic, and where finding someone who is faithful is less important than being faithful to ourselves."

While you dream about your next trip abroad, check out every star who made the scene in Spain for the 2023 Latin Grammys:

Shakira

Karol G

Rosalía

Maria Ruiz and Rauw Alejandro

Sebastián Yatra

Antonio Banderas and Nicole Kimpel

Maluma and Susana Gomez

Peso Pluma and Nicki Nicole

Luis Fonsi

Adriel Favela and Estibaliz Badiola

Rosanna Zanetti

Omar Montes

Ozuna

Evaluna Montaner and Camilo

María Pombo

Felipe Tichauer and Erico Moreira

Cami

Clarissa Molina

Feid

Camilú

Danna Paola

Johann Vera

Kimberly Reyes

(Originally published Sept. 10, 2023, at 7 a.m. PT)

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