"This is really hard to talk about personally...especially because I’m still going through it, 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," Shakira said in an interview with Elle.
While the details behind their split were "too private" to share because things were "so raw and new," she did allude to how she had to change her life drastically to support Gerard and their family.
"I can only say that I put everything I had into this relationship and my family," Shakira shared.
She explained that prior to the couple's children starting school, she had lived a "really nomadic life" as an artist, often "traveling non-stop, going to different places around the world, touring, doing shows, promotion, building schools in Colombia, and recording in different countries around the world."
Shakira says things changed at the end of 2014 when their now-nine-year-old son, Milan, started school, and she knew she had to plant roots for her family.
"I knew that my constant travel and nomadic existence had to be put on the back burner and my career had to be put in second gear," she said. "I knew that when he started school I had to settle down, plant roots in Barcelona, and be there for him and for Gerard and then later on for [my younger son] Sasha as well."
Unfortunately, that meant making a decision between the family moving to Los Angeles for Shakira's career or staying in Barcelona for Gerard's soccer career.
"One of the two had to make that effort and that sacrifice. And I did it. I put my career in second gear and I came to Spain, to support him so he could play football and win titles," Shakira told the outlet.
She continued, "It was a sacrifice of love. Thanks to that, my kids were able to have a present mom, and I have this amazing bond with them that is unbreakable and that sustains us. You know, that is it. That’s all I can say."
Now, months after their split, Shakira says the paparazzi is still camped out in front of her house 24/7 while she's trying to process everything.
And because the paparazzi won't leave her family alone, she's been unable to leave the house with her kids to even take a walk or get ice cream with them.
"There’s not a place where I can hide from them with my kids, except for my own house," she explained. "So it’s hard. And I’ve tried to conceal the situation in front of my kids. I try to do it and to protect them, because that’s my number one mission in life."
While she's done her best, she says they still "hear things in school from their friends" and "come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online" — especially considering how the split has been covered by the media in Spain.
"Honestly, the depiction in the local press here in Spain has been so hard to watch. And invasive for my kids. They don’t deserve to feel observed or watched every second, photographed at school drop-off, or followed by paparazzi," she said.
Shakira added, "They deserve a normal life. It’s just a total circus, and everyone is speculating about all of these aspects of our, and more importantly, our children’s, lives, and a lot of it isn’t even true."
At the end of the day, Shakira says it is her and Gerard's job to take care of their children, "regardless of how things ended" between them or how they "feel about each other as ex-partners."
"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," she concluded. "And I hope and would appreciate if we were given the space to do that privately."