2022 was a double whammy for Shakira, as she faced a public split with her partner of over a decade, Gerard Piqué, as well as a looming tax fraud case that could see her locked up for eight years. She finally addressed it all in a new ELLE profile.

The Colombian singer is gearing up to release her first album in almost five years, but recent life changes nonetheless make the singer feel like she is in her "darkest hour." The global superstar is embroiled in a tabloid frenzy as details of her ongoing custody arrangement with Piqué is still being discussed as the threat of her imprisonment hangs over her head.

"I’ve remained quiet and just tried to process it all," Shakira admits, also acknowledging that she has never publicly discussed her breakup until now. ". . .It’s been tough not only for me, but also for my kids. Incredibly difficult. I have paparazzi camping outside, in front of my house, 24/7. And there’s not a place where I can hide from them with my kids, except for my own house."

She further goes on to dismiss the tabloids speculating on the wellbeing of her children, saying: "Regardless of how things ended or how Gerard and I feel about each other as ex-partners, he is the father of my children. We have a job to do for these two incredible boys, and I have faith that we will figure out what is best for their future, their own dreams in life, and what is a fair solution for everyone involved. And I hope and would appreciate if we were given the space to do that privately."

The singer also finally addresses the tax fraud case properly, dismissing them as false. Following the release of the Paradise Papers in 2017, which named her among others for having offshore investments. In her case, it named her as the sole shareholder of a Malta-based company that was used to transfer over $30 million in music rights. When an investigation was launched into her finances, Spanish authorities found she did not pay taxes in Spain from 2012-2014. A Spanish judged deemed the case eligible to go to trial for tax fraud in 2021. If found guilty, she could face up to eight years in prison.

Prosecutors claim that Shakira became a Spanish resident for tax purposes, to which she replied in the interview: "First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them."

However, she feels confident that the law will be in her favor. "I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor," she explained.

Despite the hardships, Shakira has found friendship in some special people, including Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am. "He regularly checks in with me, and one day he even sent me a beautiful prayer, praying for my kids and for me to find peace, she says. She also names Chris Martin, Juan Luis Guerra and Alejandro Sanz as other close friends who helped her in this rough time.

Whatever the outcome is, Shakira seems to be keeping her head above water and we will anxiously await for the album!

Below, listen to "Te Felicito," Shakira's latest song featuring Rauw Alejandro.

Photo courtesy of Loic Venance/Getty

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