Colombian singer Shakira and FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué are breaking up after 11 years together, they said in a joint statement Saturday.
“We regret to confirm that we are separating. For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect their privacy,” they said in the statement. “Thank you for your understanding.”
Shakira, 45, and Piqué, 35, first met shortly before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The soccer player appeared in Shakira’s music video for “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” which was the tournament’s official song that year.
They went public with their relationship in 2011. The pair has two children, Sasha, 7, and Milan, 10.
While promoting her new competition series, NBC’s Dancing With Myself, Shakira touted her children’s artistic abilities and spoke about how they helped her come up with the concept for her latest music video, “Te Felicito.“
Sasha imagined his mother dancing alongside a robot, and Milan came up with the idea of integrating green flames, Shakira said.
In recent days, rumors of the demise of the couple’s long-term relationship had gripped Spanish media, fueled by reports that Piqué had left the family’s home in Barcelona and was living by himself in the city.
The couple’s breakup also comes as Shakira faces a trial over alleged tax fraud after a Spanish court dismissed her appeal on May 26.
Prosecutors claim she failed to pay up to $15.54 million in taxes on income she earned between 2012 and 2014.
Shakira’s legal team said in a statement that it would continue to defend her case.
“Shakira’s conduct on tax matters has always been impeccable in all the countries [where] she had to pay taxes and she has trusted and followed faithfully the recommendations of the best specialists and advisers,” the statement said.
Also on Saturday, Shakira shut down rumors after she was “seen in an ambulance in Barcelona recently.“
In a statement posted to Twitter, the singer said she got in an ambulance on the weekend of May 28 to accompany her father to the hospital after he had “a bad fall.”
He is still recovering at the hospital, she said.
“Please do send all your best wishes his way and thank you all as always for all of your love & support,” she added.
Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.
The Associated Press