Shakira says she put career 'on hold' so ex-partner Gerard Pique could play football

Shakira has said she put her "career on hold" for a long time to be with her former partner Gerard Pique while he played football. 

The Colombian popstar and former professional Spanish footballer were together for 11 years before announcing their separation in June 2022 and have two children.

Shakira, 47, is due to release her first album in seven years - Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, which translates to Women No Longer Cry.

Reflecting on the time that has passed since she released 2017's El Dorado, she told The Times: "For a long time I put my career on hold, to be next to Gerard, so he could play football.

"There was a lot of sacrifice for love."

The upcoming album represents "the transformation of pain into creativity, frustration into productivity, anger into passion, vulnerability into resilience", she said.

She added: "There were so many pieces of my life that crumbled in front of my eyes and I had to rebuild myself in a way, picking up the bones from the floor and putting them all together. And the glue that kept it all together was music."

The album includes her hit single Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53, which has been referred to as a "diss track" aimed at the 37-year-old former Barcelona footballer.

Another track on the album titled Ultima (Last) also hears her sing, "Surely with time you'll regret it / And some day you'll want to come back to my door", according to The Times.

Asked if this was also in relation to Pique, she replied: "Voldemort, that one that shouldn't be mentioned? It's hopefully the last song that I will write about this, and to him."

She added: "I felt that there was still something there, stuck in my throat, and I needed to get it out.

"I played it to the marketing head at Sony and he started crying. I'd never seen a man cry in my studio before."

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Over the last couple of years, the singer has also been fighting a tax dispute case in Spain, accused of failing to pay €14.5m (about £12.7m) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

In November, she reached a deal with authorities on the morning the trial was due to begin and agreed to pay a fine of more than £6m.

Shakira said her lawyers had been "confident" the court would have ruled in her favour following a trial, but she decided to resolve the matter beforehand "with the best interest of my kids at heart, who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal wellbeing in this fight".