40 Countries' Top Musicians: A Gallery
Colombia: Shakira

Already a hit in Latin music, Shakira introduced herself to a global audience with her first English-language album, 2001's "Laundry Service." The Colombian songstress stands as the woman with the most top 10 hits on the Latin Pop Songs tally with 27 -- including five from 2010's "Sale El Sol."

Shakira's rise from Latin American star to global superstar, as told in the lawsuit filed by Antonio de la Rúa, her former boyfriend, was one of full of hard work, bold artistic moves, savvy management and love.

"The combination of de la Rúa's business and marketing talents with Defendant's artistic talents, beauty and sex appeal succeeded in propelling the value of the partnership far beyond anything either had previously achieved or believed possible," reads a section of the suit, one of many passages that strike a wistful note.

Now, de la Rúa is seeking to "recover his share of past and future partnership profits," says the suit, filed Nov. 20 by William Reid of Reid, Collins & Tsai in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

The complaint follows a brief writ of summons filed by Shakira in late October seeking damages from de la Rúa for misappropriation of funds.

His suit, in turn, provides a rare look at the intricacies of Shakira's career and seeks to "recover damages" of at least $100 million for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The monies, states the suit, are owed to de la Rua as part of his standing arrangement with the star, although there is no written agreement between the two.

"She was extremely successful as a recording artist long before Antonio ever became her business manager," says attorney William Reid. "But the financial success she enjoyed with Antonio was unparalleled."

The purpose of the suit, however, is less striking than the story it tells, beginning in 2000 when Shakira first met de la Rúa in Argentina and detailing many events in her history that are peripherally known but not to this degree of detail. They include the decision to record "Hips Don't Lie" in order to save a flagging album, negotiations with Live Nation and the recording of World Cup anthem "Waka Waka."

De la Rúa and Shakira's romance became a business partnership in 2004, says the suit, after Shakira lost "millions" in her first world tour and de la Rúa "agreed" to become her "business partner" and head her business enterprises. No written agreement governed their partnership.

"De la Rúa spent more than six years building the 'Shakira brand into one the most valuable pop-star brands in the entertainment industry," claims the suit. "The profits earned by the partnership in 2011 and 2012, and millions of dollars that it will earn in the future, were generated by the deals he conceptualized, originated, negotiated and executed."

The relationship between de la Rúa and Shakira appeared to be so solid that, when the romance ended in 2010, according to the suit, Shakira posted the news on her website, noting that "We continue to be partners in our business and professional lives."

But less than a year later, in October 11, Shakira instructed an attorney to "terminate de la Rúa, as if he were a mere employee," according to the suit.

At press time, Shakira's camp had no comment in regards to the suit.

As for Shakira, she is currently expecting her first child with soccer star Gerard Piqué and will be a coach for the upcoming season of The Voice next spring.

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