In a new interview with The Sunday TimesShakira is opening up about the impact her marriage to Gerard Pique had on her professional life as a singer, saying that choosing to love him and be his partner came with “a lot of sacrifice”.


“For a long time I put my career on hold to be next to Gerard, so he could play football,” she said during the interview.

They met in 2010 on the set of the music video for her hit Waka Waka, and within three years they had their first child, their son Milan. Two years later, they had Sasha. They maintained a home base in Spain since he played for Barcelona. And despite Shakira’s coaching on The Voice and the release of a 2017 album, El Dorado, her priority shifted from her career to childrearing when she met him.


In sharing her story, which she’s done a lot of since her 2022 split from Gerard, Shakira is joining the chorus of famous women who have been speaking up about how their careers were hit when they prioritized love, marriage and family over their work, whether their sacrifices were intentional or not. But there is a common theme here, and it’s that despite the professional setbacks, a lot of the women who speak out about life and their career after a split actually seem to be faring better afterwards. 

Perhaps that’s not the case for someone like Lily Allen, who I wrote about last week here. During a podcast appearance, she spoke, half-jokingly, about how her kids “ruined” her chance at pop stardom. It’s a sentiment that others have shared before, at least to some degree. Cardi B once reflected on her belief that had she not chosen a marriage and family life with Offset while she was at the height of her career, things would’ve looked very different for her. And there are swaths of other women who, in one way or another, express feeling like they made a huge sacrifice, most often when it came to their career, in the name of love. 


There are so many reasons women, famous or not, might struggle to balance their careers and family life. But I think one of the main reasons celebrity women struggle so much is because a lot of showbiz is about women expressing and leveraging their sexuality, be it in music or acting. And it’s my personal belief that for yearsmost people have simply not been ready to receive women being sex symbols in their work so fresh off of marriage and especially motherhood because their new lives as wives and moms seem to contradict the lifestyle they portray through their art, or simply, their being. But perhaps that’s starting to change.

After Cardi B’s most recent split from Offset, she gave us all a warning near the end of 2023 that this year was going to be a different one for her on all fronts. She promised us change and that’s exactly the energy she’s brought – and we’re only three months into 2024. 

It’s not that she hasn’t been successful since marrying Offset in 2017. But I think what she was speaking to was the momentum she lost by having to slow down, which marriage and motherhood certainly forces you to do, especially the latter. So the fact that just three days ago, she released her new song, “Enough”, and in just 72 hours, it’s racked up nearly 4.5 million views and counting, indicates that she’s trying to get some of that momentum back. Sure, the song is catchy and I can see why it’s a hit. But the video is arguably the most sexual one she’s ever put out, which is saying a lot for two reasons – the first, WAP exists. That video was a revolution. And the second reason is because there ain’t a damn thing in the video other than her!



I was nervous to read through the comments, afraid she would be getting some hate or flack for just how provocative it is. I always worry the anti-sexy-mom trolls will find their way to these things and do what they do best which is remind everyone that once you have a child, you should be in the home doing #tradwife things like shining shoes and baking pies from scratch. But instead, the resounding verdict seems to be a f-ck yes. But would it be received the same way if her kids were any younger? If she wasn’t in the midst of a separation from Offset? I highly doubt it.

The success of Cardi B’s latest video, and the mostly warm reception to it makes me think that perhaps the key to succeeding after a baby break is embracing your sexuality, even if it runs the risk of triggering the anti-sexy-mom trolls. The other thing to consider is that those trolls are also being drowned out by women, a lot of whom are supporting women like Cardi B in her quest for resurgence. 

On the topic of the #tradwife, I’d even say that that’s a conversation that’s playing a small role in turning the tides about how society views moms and wives. Recently, this video blew up on TikTok after more and more women started sharing their experience being “traditional wives”. Creators who found themselves married with kids at young ages and often dropped out of school or didn’t attend at all have been reflecting on the price they’re now paying for not prioritizing their education, trusting their husbands to take care of them forever, and not leaving despite the proverbial writing being on the wall. 

This isn’t to say you go from being a tradwife to stripping it down in a music video, but with the phenomenon of women sharing not as positive experiences with marriage, women are cheering louder and becoming less judgemental about what other women do to ensure there is food on the table for themselves and their kids, because what is the alternative?


In my exploration of the post-divorce lives of women like EmRata, Kristin Cavallari and Tia Mowry, I’ve found that what really gives women their post-split glow is the recentering of themselves in their own lives. That still stands even in the cases where there wasn’t a legal marriage. Looking at how women like Julia Fox, Amber Rose and Keke Palmer have all fared after their high profile splits from Kanye West and Darius Jackson, respectively, can reveal a lot – mostly about the importance of decentering men and centering yourself instead.

That division that we see of one sector being in full support of something so brave, so sexy as Cardi’s new hit, compared to the uptights like Keke’s ex Darius and the millions of people who share his beliefs that motherhood requires a full shift in identity, comes down to a few things – but the main thing is an understanding, or at the very least, an appreciation for matrescence, even if they don’t know what it is or that it even exists.

Matrescence is something I’ve written about so many times before, because it’s just such a fascinating revolution that exists for moms who really step into their power after having children. While parts of the outside world might expect us not to embrace our new (and not always improved) mom bods and all the havoc pregnancy may have wreaked on them, we sit with the magnitude and the magic of motherhood and inevitably feel empowered.


So what determines the difference between someone like Lily Allen, who, in her own words says that her career was essentially halted due to her choosing to fulfill her parenting duties, versus someone like Cardi B, who seems to be reaching new levels of success after having two kids, a marriage and a separation under her belt? I think part of it had to do with Lily’s choice to decenter her career in favour of being at home with her kids. A choice she could make perhaps because she was born to a famous actor and a famous film producer (nepotism strikes again). But Cardi B grew up entirely differently. She had very humble beginnings and as recently as last year made a video expressing her outrage at inflation. She knows the hustle, because for most of her life, she had to. There is a fire under her ass partially sparked by rage at Offset and his nasty cheating ways, partially sparked by the momentum she lost to marriage and kids, and partially sparked by the determination for her and her kids to not go hungry.

Can we call this a new trend? Women wholly embracing their post-natal, post-split, post-divorce sexuality and glow, like Shakira and Cardi B, and all the other women I’ve mentioned and written about as they are already enjoying what is bound to be their greatest eras yet.  All of these women are at the heights of their careers, whether in the podcast, author or music spaces.

It makes absolute sense that Lily might forego the struggle of trying to re-enter a music scene she wasn’t wildly successful in anyway to be more present with her kids. It makes absolute sense that small-minded people who don’t understand the depth or the concept of matrescence might push back on seeing Shakira and Cardi B get back to being the sexy starlets we’ve always known and loved. But it makes even more sense that these women might feel empowered enough to do just that. Because they’ve done something bigger, they’ve done something better – it’s called motherhood.