Shakira declared she was "ripped apart" by love in a year of "seismic change".
The 46-year-old pop star gave a moving speech about love and music as she accepted Billboard’s Woman of the Year award at the inaugural Latin Women in Music gala at the Watsco Center in Miami, Florida on Saturday night (06.05.23) - insisting she poured her heartache over her split from former footballer Gerard Pique into her songs.
During the event - which aired on TV on Sunday night (07.05.23) - Shakira told the audience: "This has been a year of seismic change in my life where I’ve felt more than ever and very personally what it is to be a women. And what it means.
"It’s been a year where I’ve realised we women are stronger than we think, braver than we believed, more independent than we were taught to be.
"Because what woman hasn’t at some time in her life forgotten herself because she’s seeking the attention and love of someone else?
"It happened to me, more than once. But there comes a time in the life of every woman where she no longer depends on someone else to love and accept herself just as she is.
"A time when the search for someone else is replaced by the search for oneself. A time when the desire to be perfect is replaced by the desire to be authentic, and where finding someone who is faithful is less important than being faithful to ourselves."
She went on to say: "It’s true that when I felt most lost, music put me in the road back to myself.
"But the most important lessons I learned from other women, and for them I wrote what I wrote and I sang what I sang. Because only a woman can love until she’s ripped apart; can speak with the most brutal honesty; can sing with anger; dance in ecstasy and be brought to tears with emotion. Only a woman can do that."
Shakira dedicated the award to her mother and to the pals who have supported her during the last year, adding: "This recognition is for you [mum], and also for my friends who have supported me and who hold me up when my legs give out. And for all those single moms who defend and protect their children like lionesses.
Fellow singer Maluma presented Shakira with the award and he applauded the star for pouring her emotions into her music during a tough time.
He said: "I’ve seen firsthand that Shakira writes her songs from the heart and her experiences, and this year she was able to turn adversity into art, emotions and pain into music, and made history with her lyrics, creating a hit that today is a universal feminine anthem: Women don’t cry, women cash in!"
Shakira split from Pique - the father of her two children Milan and Sasha - last summer after 11 years together. The confirmed the news ina joint statement which read: "We regret to confirm that we are parting ways. For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect their privacy. Thank you for your understanding."
Shakira later confirmed they had hammered out a custody deal which allowed her to relocate to Miami after spending years living in Spain.