The actress, singer and global superstar recently graced the cover of Rolling Stone,where she discussed her humble beginnings growing up in the Bronx as well as her tumultuous relationship with fame, Hollywood and the never-ending criticism that comes with it.
It was announced last year that Lopez and actor Ben Affleck were an item again after they had previously been engaged in the early 2000s — before ending their wedding plans in 2004.
But that was nearly 20 years ago. Now the superstar says they are in a much better head space.
“It was brutal,” she said of the criticism they endured at that time. “It’s one of those things that you bury very deeply so you can move on and get about your business.”
Lopez was at the height of her career when she began dating Affleck. A year before, she had both the No. 1 movie (The Wedding Planner) and the No. 1 album (On the 6) chart at the same time — the first time a single performer had ever had such a milestone.
Her next film, Maid in Manhattan, reached number one the next year. But instead of celebrating her achievements — a groundbreaking moment not just for Latinas, but for Latinx representation on screen in general — the media demeaned her with headlines like “Ben Affleck sleeps with the help,” Rolling Stone points out.
Looking back, Lopez says that kind of coverage placed immense pressure on the relationship.
“It’s funny because Ben and I were together, and we were so in love,” she continued. “It was one of the happiest times of my life. But also, there was this other thing happening where we were being criticized, and it really destroyed our relationship from the inside out, because we were just too young to understand at that time what were really the most important things in life.”
“We feel like what we found again is so much more important,” she said of their relationship now, nearly 20 years later. “How we protect that and how we live our lives — what to share, what not to share — is the balance that we have now, the benefit of experience and the wisdom that we gained over the years.”
Therapy also helps. It’s provided her with tools that helps her understand the ingredients of good relationships.
“You start realizing there are no rules,” she explained. “There’s only what you feel is right for you. Because that’s the person you’ve got to live with at the end of the day. Any time I’ve gone against my gut and my instinct, I’ve ended in misery.”
“It’s not really even your first love that teaches you what love is,” she added. “It’s your mother and your father, what you were taught as a child that life is and love is, through how your parents are with you. Those are the things that you have to go back and work on and examine, when you are having relationships and repeating patterns and going, ‘Oh, what is this happening for?’”
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