Shakira Details 'Darkest Hours' of Her Life Amid Separation, Tax Evasion Lawsuit

Shakira is having a difficult year. The Columbian-born singer is going through a divorce, custody battle, and fighting charges of tax evasion all at once. In her first interview, breaking her silence about it all, she is laying it all out. The "Hips Don't Lie" singer spoke with Elle Magazine since announcing her split from Spanish football player Gerard Piqué in June. Since then, the former couple have been embroiled in court trying to determine custody of their two sons Milan, 9, and Sasha, 7 – while Piqué simultaneously moves on with another woman. Shakira is also going to war with the Spanish government over accusations that she evaded paying taxes for several years, which she fiercely denies. 

On her split from her longtime love, Shakira hints that her marriage ending was not her decision, especially as tabloid fodder runs reports about Piqué's new relationship. "It's hard to talk about it, 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," she admitted. But more than anything, having to try and navigate her children through it all is more emotionally taxing.

"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 explained. "You know, we can't take a walk in the park like a regular family or go have an ice cream or do any activity without paparazzi following us. 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. But then they hear things in school from their friends or they come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online, and it just affects them, you know?"

But there are still some battles left to go against, and she's not running from it. Spanish prosecutors claim she failed to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014. But Shakira says it's a misunderstanding, and she refuses to give in.

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"I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations," she said firmly. "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. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one."