Shakira confirms split with football star Gerard Piqué after 11 years

Colombian pop star Shakira and her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué,

are splitting up, the pair said in a statement released Saturday.

“We regret to confirm that we are separating,”

the two said in a statement released by Shakira’s public relations firm.

“For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect our privacy.

Shakira, 45, met the Barcelona defender while she was promoting her 2010 World

Cup anthem, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” The couple have two children, Sasha and Milan.

In recent days, rumours of the demise of the couple’s 11-year relationship had

gripped Spanish media, fueled by media reports that Piqué, 35, had left the family’s home in Barcelona and was living by himself in the city.