CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Over the weekend, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton shared a birthday message for a girl who changed his life five years ago.

Meet Shakira, whom Newton considers his stepdaughter.

Newton and long-time girlfriend Kia Proctor have two children, a 1-year-old son named Chosen Sebastian and a newborn daughter whose name hasn’t been revealed.

But his Instagram message posted on Shakira’s birthday Friday reveals that the 2015 NFL MVP was a father figure long before they were born. Shakira is Proctor’s daughter from a previous relationship.

Newton has his own unique style of typing messages, so here is the simplified version:

“Happy Birthday to the real girl who changed my life ever since we first met five years ago. You have challenged me in ways you will never know, because in retrospect you were my first child. This message isn’t to brag or to even complain about my situation, but this is just real talk. Being labeled a stepdad is hard on the parent just as much as it is for the child to accept it. It is hard work for both parties and I respect any stepparent that takes full responsibility of a God sent child. I remember the first day you called me daddy and I was scared as hell. But when I thought about it, I was honored for you to think of me as not only a male figure in your life but also as a father figure you could learn from as well. Your mom and I are not married, but no one can tell you that I’m not your father and they damn sure can’t tell me that you’re not my daughter. I love you, or better yet, Daddy loves you Kirry. Happy Birthday Shakira aka Kirry aka B1 Gsissy (as ChoCho calls her).”

Whatever you think of Newton on the field, there is no denying he takes great pride in being a father.