Shakira Sued By Ex-Boyfriend for $100 Million

Colombian hitmaker is slapped with a lawsuit filed by her former flame, who claims he's entitled to a massive slice of her music earnings for helping manage her career

By Josh Grossberg Dec 03, 2012 4:05 PMTags
ShakiraFrederic Nebinger/WireImage

If you ask him, Shakira didn't have an Oral Fixation so much as she had an oral agreement.

Antonio de la Rúa, the pop superstar's former boyfriend, is suing Shakira for a whopping $100 million accusing her of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty for failing to pay her his previously agreed-upon cut for his contributions to her career during the time they were together.

The suit, filed Nov. 20 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York and obtained by E! News, claims the businessman and Shakira, full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, formed a "business partnership" whose "sole aim…was to market, expand, and profit from the 'Shakira brand.'"

One of the key accomplishments of that partnership included helping the Latin American songstress cross over from her Spanish fan base to become a global sensation. And it's not as if de la Rúa, who trained as a lawyer, was inexperienced in such ventures, having managed his father's successful campaign to become president of Argentina.

Per the suit, the couple met in 2000, and after he had advised her in the years since, by the end of 2004 Shakira had asked her then-beau to take over control of the business operations behind the "Shakira brand," including various charitable causes.

That included holding various board positions and acting as the president of various companies while he alleged the two agreed that de la Rúa "would be entitled to a percentage of the profits of the Partnership in exchange for the contribution of his business and marketing knowledge, skills, and expertise."

While the entrepreneur says he did not draw a salary from the companies he supervised, he subsequently received a share of the profits from sweat equity in their partnership, which was agreed upon verbally.

Despite the two jointly choosing to call it quits in 2010, court papers note that Shakira asked de la Rúa to stay on running her business, even pointing to the Jan. 10, 2011, statement on her website in which she wrote, "We continue to be partners in our business and professional lives." 

However, after a "crisis" occurred with Shakira's promoter Live Nation, a crisis which de la Rúa says he resolved after several months, only two weeks later the "Hips Don't Lie" singer decided to "terminate" their business arrangement in October 2011.

"From that day, Mebarak has adopted a strategy of trying to rewrite history, which includes denying the existence of a parternship, belittling de la Rúa's contributions to the Partnership, and mischaracterizing past events," reads the suit. "Perhaps having moved on in her personal life, Mebarak felt that remaining business partners with de la Rúa created difficulties in her new relationship. Whether that is true or not, Mebarak is not entitled to ignore the fact that, as a business partner, de la Rúa has a financial interest in the Partnership that exists entirely separate and apart from their former romantic relationship."

Shakira has since hooked up with soccer star Gerard Piqué with whom she's expecting her first child.

De la Rúa's suit seeks compensation valued at no less than 10 percent of the annual net profits of their partnership, plus an increased percentage based upon the success of the business. All told, Shakira's ex claims he's owed at least $100 million for the breach of their joint venture.

A lawyer for Shakira could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: Shakira filed an affidavit back in October (in response to a request filed by De La Rúa to put a hold on some of her South American assets pending the outcome of this lawsuit) stating that De la Rúa was one of "numerous advisors" who worked with her and they "never signed any agreement dealing with his rendering services." He was never her artistic or business manager, she said. In 2005, when they were still engaged, they signed prenuptial agreements "whereby we reciprocally waived any rights to our respective assets, and our past, present and future income," Shakira stated in court documents obtained by E! News.

When they broke up and called themselves a "business couple/partners," the real meaning—that their personal relationship was over but she would continue to work with him in the same vein—was lost in the Spanish-to-English translation, Shakira claims.

"She has made a statement that she cannot support" and "has set a high bar for trial," De La Rúa's attorney, William Reid, tells E! News, maintaining that there was an oral agreement between his client and Shakira.

"In the end this is going to be a battle of credibility, our story vs. their story."

What Shakira has stated in the affidavit is "untrue," Reid says. "The truth is that Antonio was the business guy."

"We welcome the chance to litigate," Reid he added."We are confident there is able support for our story and that her statement will be proven wrong." 

—Reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum