Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll blessed the world with her presence on Feb. 2, 1977, in the coastal town of Barranquilla, Colombia (fun fact: Sofia Vergara was also born there). The singer is the only child of William Mebarak Chadid, a Lebanese man, and Nidia Ripoll Torrado, a Colombian woman. Shakira might be the only child of her parents, but she has a whopping eight older half-siblings (yes, you read that right) from her father’s previous marriage, so it’s no surprise that she jokes about having 10 kids in her song “Me Enamoré.”
The 40-year-old was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools her whole life. Growing up, she spent most of her time in Barranquilla before she started spreading her wings and traveling to perform and promote her music pretty early on in her teen years. She actually got her first record deal when she was just 13 years old! Barranquilla is so proud of everything she has accomplished since then that the city built a 16-foot statue of her in 2006 and displayed it in the city for everyone to see.
“Barranquilla is the big breast that fed and nurtured me as a human being, a woman, and an artist,” Shakira said in an interview with Access Hollywood the same year. “Returning is a chance to be with all the people from whom I learned and to pay homage to my roots.”
Although she travels to Colombia a lot, especially because of the work she does with her foundation, Pies Descalzos, she calls Barcelona, Spain, home right now. It’s where her longtime partner and father of her children, Gerard Piqué, plays soccer for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team and where her kids go to school.