Shakira says she's in her "darkest hour" following her split from her partner, Gerard Pique.

The 45-year-old Columbian singer broke her silence on her separation from Pique, 35, in the October issue of Elle.

Shakira and Pique, a Spanish soccer star, split in June after 12 years together. The pair have two children together, sons Milan, 9, and Sasha, 7.

In the interview, Shakira said she's kept quiet about the split in part to protect her kids.

"I've remained quiet and just tried to process it all," the star said. "And so 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."

"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?" she added.

Shakira, whose father is also recovering from health issues, said her situation sometimes feels like "a bad dream."

"But no, it's real. And what's also real is the disappointment to see something as sacred and special as I thought was the relationship I had with my kids' father and see that turned into something vulgarized and cheapened by the media. And all of this while my dad has been in the ICU and I've been fighting on different fronts," the singer said.

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"Like I said, this is probably the darkest hour of my life," she added. "But then I think about all those women around the world who are going through hardship, who are going through a situation as bad as mine or as difficult as mine or worse."

Amid her struggles, Shakira said she has found solace and strength in music and is working on a new album. The album will be her first since El Dorado, released in 2017.